Deputies recovering after shooting
Ryan Summerlin June 6, 2007
SHINGLE SPRINGS — It began with a delusion and ended in death.
A gun fight ensued around a sleepy country lane in Shingle Springs on Tuesday as members of El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team surrounded a wooded area trying to anticipate the clandestine movements of gunman Edward “Eddie” Mies. When the shooting was finished, a father and son were dead, and three sheriff’s deputies and a police dog were injured.
After several hours of surgery on Tuesday afternoon to remove bullets lodged in their bodies, Sheriff’s Deputies Jon Yaws, Greg Murphy and Melissa Meekma were resting quietly at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
On Wednesday, Yaws and Murphy had undergone a second round of surgery, while Meekma was scheduled to have surgery later in the day, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Kevin House said.
“It’s fairly routine under the circumstances; now that the immediate danger is past, the doctors just want to make sure they got everything out and cleaned everything up,” House said.
El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves added that Yaws might undergo a third surgery on Friday, but would not elaborate what that operation would be for.
Yaws was hit three times when Eddie Mies fired on him from a hidden location in the woods, authorities said. He sustained injuries to his pectoral muscle, left hip and left leg. Yaws has spent the last 18 years with the sheriff’s department, with 13 of those years as a K-9 handler. His partner is Donder, the dog that sustained two bullet wounds to the hip.
Deputy Greg Murphy, a 16-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was shot in the leg. Deputy Melissa Meekma, who was hit in the chest, has been on the force for five years. All three deputies as well as Donder, who was not wearing his K-9 vest at the time of the shooting, are expected to fully recover, House said.
The deputies wore their bullet-proof vests at the time of the shooting. The officers were in fair condition on Wednesday, a Sutter Roseville representative said.
The nightmarish events began to unfold shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, when an unidentified caller dialed 911 saying that 72-year-old Arthur Mies had been shot by his son, Eddie, and was lying face-down on the driveway of their home on Tammy Lane in Shingle Springs. What precipitated the shooting was unknown.
When deputies Meekma and Murphy arrived, they found Arthur Mies bleeding profusely. Having no idea who the shooter was, or where, the deputies called for immediate backup and emergency crews to treat Mies. The deputies began administering CPR and called for paramedics, then cordoned off the area to begin searching for the suspect.
“They started the manhunt, and at some point shortly thereafter he showed himself from behind some brush and trees and began firing,” House said.
He said officers returned fire while a California Highway Patrol helicopter overhead helped pinpoint the gunman’s location. After they believed the man had been hit by gunfire, sheriff’s deputies sent a dog to check on him and found him dead.
House said an autopsy would determine whether the man died from officers’ gunfire or a self-inflicted wound.
Arthur Mies died of gunshot wounds suffered before deputies arrived.
Eddie Mies, Arthur’s 35-year-old son, had a long history of problems with law enforcement, both in El Dorado County as well as out of state. He was known to be suffering from bipolar disorder with schizophrenic tendencies. In his delusional state over the past several days or weeks, he had created a labyrinth of tunnels and foxholes about 40 yards north of the residence on the east end of Tammy Lane.
Officers searching the area after the gunman had died found clothing, food, additional weapons and a cache of ammunition inside the maze. In the house, they found several more weapons as well as 15 pounds of marijuana.
From all appearances, Lt. House said, Mies had been preparing for an ambush for some time, and with his father on the ground bleeding, the bait was set.
Based on the gunman’s immediate behavior along with his mental and criminal history, “it’s safe to say he would have caused a lot more carnage with officers and civilians if he hadn’t been stopped when he was,” Sheriff Jeff Neves said.
The three deputies all worked sparingly at the South Lake Tahoe office, either for patrol or overtime purposes, said sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell.
Lovell said the mood at the Tahoe substation was “somber” and “concerned.”
“In this particular event we’re just very thankful that the officers are recovering and we wish them well,” Lovell said, adding, “It could happen here just as easy.”
— Tribune staff writer William Ferchland and the Associated Press contributed to this report.