Detectives look into leads on Cottonwood arsonist, active search continues

Shasta County Sheriff's detectives speaking with homeowners in Cottonwood.

The Shasta County Sheriff's Office says every member of the Major Crimes Unit as well as the Arson Task Force is in Cottonwood, working to track down a serial arsonist, and they say they are making progress.

Sergeant Brian Jackson with the Shasta County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit told KRCR all members of his unit are working overtime alongside the Cottonwood Fire Protection District, Redding Fire Department, Redding Police Department, Anderson Fire Department, Anderson Police Department, Cal Fire, and other top investigators until they are able to solve the case.

"Even though we're in a small geographical area in Cottonwood, there's a lot of work to be done," Sgt. Jackson said.

Jackson said with the help of the community and investigators, they have multiple leads on the person or people setting fires throughout downtown Cottonwood.

He added detectives are reviewing each of these leads as well as looking into any theories the public has about this person or people setting the fires.

"A lot of the persons of interests, whether it be residents in the area or suspicious persons that are known to this area, over the last several months we've looked into those people already," said Jackson.

Many people in the Cottonwood area are asking why they have become a target for the series of fires that have terrorized their small community.

"I think they do it because they think we can't defend ourselves," an elderly Cottonwood resident said.

She said she fears her home could be targeted. "Why would someone do this? It's wrong. It's scary. I have a couple dogs that won't let anyone into my yard so it's your welcome to come pass that line because they'll take care of you."

"Cottonwood is an old-fashioned town with ranchers and cowboys and we know how to take care of ourselves," said Jim Randolph, who is part of the Cottonwood Neighborhood Watch.

Randolph said the community has had enough and other members of the watch group agree.

"It's bad enough as it is and the people responsible for this need to be addressed. The community is getting very tired of waiting, you know, so with some luck and community participation, we can find this individual and get him taken care of," Cottonwood resident, Richard Fraser said.

However, an email from the local fire department, sent to residents, asked for people to not take matters into their own hands, "No backwoods justice."

There will be a special meeting Friday at 6 p.m. at the Cottonwood Community Center to discuss the arson issue and public safety in the community.

Secret Witness of Shasta County has offered $10,000 to anyone who can provide law enforcement with information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the suspect(s).

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