In the early afternoon of Thursday, February 25, 2016, Mono County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Adobe Ranch Road, south of Highway 120 East, to investigate a report of a squatter in a vacant cabin.
The suspect, later identified as William Ward, broke into the property and illegally took up residence.
A deputy spotted Mr. Ward driving an older sport utility vehicle toward him on a narrow dirt road. As the truck approached, the deputy blocked the road with his patrol vehicle and turned on his light bar.
Mr. Ward accelerated his truck and rammed the patrol vehicle. Fortunately, the deputy was able to get out of his truck prior to the impact. Mr. Ward reversed his truck and retreated toward the cabin.
Two deputies and a sergeant gave chase, eventually returning to the cabin.
Mr. Ward took refuge in the cabin, and the pursuing deputies took positions of cover and ordered him to surrender.
A request was made for additional resources, and law enforcement officers from throughout Mono and Inyo Counties, along with support from medics and CalTrans, immediately deployed to the scene.
Meanwhile, Mono County Dispatch researched Mr. Ward’s criminal history. Mr. Ward had felony convictions for weapons-related offenses and had been incarcerated in state prison twice for those offenses.
As the afternoon grew into evening, Mr. Ward exited the cabin, armed with a rifle, and fired in the direction of law enforcement, shouting that they would have to kill him.
Mr. Ward barricaded himself in the cabin, and it was clear he had no intention of ending the stand-off peacefully. A coordinated plan was put into place to
diminish Mr. Ward’s capabilities, while allowing responding personnel to safely take him into custody.
Tear gas was deployed into the cabin, and team entered the cabin. Although Mr. Ward was still armed and fought being arrested, the team successfully disarmed him and took him down without significant injury.
Medics were standing by and treated Mr. Ward for exposure to tear gas. No responding personnel suffered injury during this incident.
Many thanks to the responding personnel from the California Highway Patrol, Inyo
County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop Police Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Forest Service, California State Parks, California Department of Transportation, Mono County Paramedics, and, of course, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office.
Booking Charges for William Ward:
69 Penal Code: Felony – Resisting / Obstructing a Peace Officer
245 Penal Code: Felony – Assault with a Deadly Weapon
417.8 Penal Code: Felony – Exhibit a Firearm to Resist Arrest
459 Penal Code: Felony – Burglary
2800.2(a) Vehicle Code: Felony – Evading a Peace Officer