In a bizarre and scary incident, a doctor and father of three was shot and killed Friday in the woods east of Oroville, near Downieville, in Sierra County over the holiday weekend while he was off-roading with his 15-year-old son. The son escaped the incident and survived, but he spent 30 hours in the woods on his own before being rescued.
The victim has been identified as 45-year-old Ari Gershman of Danville, as ABC 7 reports.
According to a GoFundMe page posted on behalf of the Gershman family, Gershman was off-roading "in his brand new 4 wheel drive Jeep with his son, Jack" at the time of the shooting by a "random gunman." "He died doing what he loved with his son in an area he had hoped to retire in one day," the page reads.
A report from The Union newspaper in Nevada County describes a separate shooting that injured two people that occurred before this one on Friday. In that incident, two people were shot and injured near Brandy City around 4 p.m. and treated at an area hospital.
Local authorities say that they later received a call from a juvenile, presumably the following day, who had been reported missing, who reported the location of a "third shooting victim."
A suspect was arrested not long after.
"Shortly after locating the juvenile, law enforcement officers encountered the shooting suspect driving a side-by-side off highway vehicle,” the release states. “Officers attempted to stop the suspect, but he fled south on Saddleback Road towards Downieville.”
The suspect was reportedly arrested about one mile north of Highway 49, and his identity has not been released. Plumas County Sheriff’s officers and the Quincy Area California Highway Patrol were involved in the search for both Jack Gershman and the suspect.
The crowdfunding effort for the Gershman family is for funeral costs and other expenses, and it reveals that Paige, now the single mother of three children, is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
Update: The Chronicle has some further details on the story via a family member's social media post. The gunman apparently "out of nowhere started shooting at the Jeep" after Gershman stopped to ask directions on a rural trail, and he allegedly had shot at a woman earlier after being confronted about rooting through someone's trash, taking off on the ATV from which he shot Gershman. "Ari stepped on the gas to get out of harms way, but one of the shots ripped through the seat and hit him. He was able to get the Jeep stopped so Jack was able to run into the forest to hide." The 15-year-old Jack had a harrowing time trying to reach family and 911, climbing a hill to get cell signal and only having 1 percent battery remaining, likely thinking the gunman was on his trail.