Law enforcement takes down wanted man in Fortuna after three-hour standoff

Fortuna Police were able to take a wanted felon into custody Monday afternoon, officials said, after a three-hour stand-off. The Fortuna Police Department (FPD) said Melvin Matthews, 35, of Eureka surrendered to Humboldt County SWAT team officers after barricading himself inside a garage on the 1800 block of Penn Avenue for more than three hours.

A citizen’s tip led FPD officers to a vehicle that had been reported stolen on June 9. The same person is suspected of being the individual who evaded officers earlier that day by driving his vehicle the wrong way on Thelma Avenue, Ross Hill Road, Fortuna Boulevard and Main Street, according to FPD.

Officials said Matthews was wanted on felony warrants for evading law enforcement and making threats against a police officer, grand theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Three other people who had been apprehended at the scene were interviewed and released at the scene, officers said.

Officers from Eureka Police Department’s K-9 unit, Cal Fire Law Enforcement, Humboldt County Sheriff and the Humboldt County SWAT team arrived to assist FPD because of reports that the barricaded individual might be armed.

Fortuna officers said they notified neighborhood residents and advised them to either leave or shelter in place. Penn street was cordoned off at both ends, until the scene was confirmed to be secured, for the protection of the public.

The scene was safely secured by SWAT officers around 4:30 p.m.

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