REDDING: Man trying to shoot himself in head also shoots acquaintance-both survive
REDDING — A man who officials say tried to shoot himself in the head succeeded only in self-inflicting a grazing wound to his head; however, he managed to inadvertently shoot a female friend in her torso with the same bullet he intended to fire at himself.
According to officials the pair, who were identified as 25-year-old, Waylon John Rocha and 24-year-old, Bailey Whitaker, both of Redding, initially told officials they had been shot by two unknown subjects during a home invasion.
The shooting happened early Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, on Southgate Drive – northeast of S. Market Street and Clear Creek Road – in Redding’s Westwood area. Officials did not specify if the double shooting was the result of an attempted suicide or some other altercation between the couple.
Although both subjects survived the shooting, Rocha – a felon who was released from jail early on Post Release Community Supervision – was later arrested for a variety of charges, Redding Police Cpl. Sam Llamas explained after the shooting.
The investigation began about 2 a.m., when Redding police officers and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the residence after receiving a 911 call reporting two gunshot victims at the home.
When they arrived at the residence officers found Rocha and Whitaker both suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were rushed by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Redding to receive treatment for their injuries.
During a subsequent investigation, officers interviewed both subjects regarding the alleged home invasion and shooting.
“Rocha told officers two unknown suspects entered into the garage where shots were fired striking him and Whitaker,” said Llamas, who explained Rocha also told officers that after the shooting the two suspects fled the home on foot.
Officers canvassed the surrounding neighborhood but were unable to locate the suspects the pair had described and officials were not able to verify or confirm Rocha’s and Whitaker’s version of how they had both been shot.
As the investigation continued officers located video surveillance which showed no suspicious activity happen at or near the home where the shooting occurred.
Based on discrepancies in their stories, officers re-interviewed Rocha and Whitaker at the hospital and found more “inconsistencies” in their account of the incident and shooting, according to Llamas.
“Ultimately, Rocha confessed and told officers the gunshot wound to his head was self-inflicted,” said Llamas. According to Rocha, the round he fired accidentally struck Whitaker after grazing his own head.
With the new information obtained from Rocha, officers returned to the Southgate Drive residence, at which time they located and recovered the handgun and additional evidence that confirmed Rocha’s admissions. Officials did not specify the nature of the additional evidence they recovered.
After he was treated and medically cleared by hospital staff, officers arrested Rocha and he was booked in Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of negligently discharging a firearm resulting in great bodily injury, being a felon in possession of a handgun and ammunition, possession of a controlled substance and violation of probation. He remains in custody, held on $355,000 bail.
Whitaker was later released from the hospital after being treated for what officials described as a minor gunshot wound. Officials did not specify if she would be facing charges for lying to officers regarding how the shooting occurred.
Anyone with information about this incident or investigation is encouraged to contact Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 18-4087 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.