Seriously injured after vicious attack, RPD SRO returns to work
REDDING — When Redding Police Officer and School Resource Officer Eva Smith responded to an April call at Shasta College to assist campus security in removing a violent subject from their campus she never could have imagined she would be seriously injured and left unable to immediately return to work.
However, after spending the last several months recovering from the injuries she received in the “vicious attack”, the dedicated and well-loved school resource officer was finally able to return to her position at Shasta High School; much to the delight of the students, teachers, and other school administrators and staff.
“To her surprise, Chief Moore, Shasta High staff and students, and her fellow SROs surprised her with a heartfelt ‘welcome back’ on the first day she returned!” Redding PD announced yesterday in a social media release.
LEADING THE SCNS HEADLINES:
Redding PD School Resource Officer Eva Smith recently returned to her position at Shasta High School, after a months-long recovery following a “vicious attack” by a violent parolee at Shasta College. RPD image
Smith’s injuries and months-long journey to recovery began April 22, when she and other officers were summoned to Shasta College to help campus security officers and administrators remove a violent parolee who had been ordered to stay off the campus grounds and property while he was being investigated for sexual misconduct at the school.
The man, David Wuco, 29, of Redding, who is on parole for assault with a deadly weapon and is classified as a “high-risk” offender, had previously served a five-year prison sentence for an assault with a deadly weapon case and was released on parole last November.
Although Wuco was initially cooperative with campus security officers and agreed to accompany school officials to their office, when officers arrived at the campus and made contact with Wuco and campus security personnel he became combative and refused to leave.
“Officers asked Wuco several times to leave the campus but he refused,” Redding Police Sgt. G. Meadows reported after last April’s violent encounter. “When officers attempted to physically remove him, he quickly jumped up from his chair, put up his fists, and took a fighting stance.”
During the ensuing melee, as officers tried to arrest the violent subject “he punched multiple officers in the facial area causing significant injuries to three officers,” according to Meadows. As the struggle continued, the officers put out a priority call requesting emergency assistance, at which time numerous additional officers raced to the college to help the injured officers as they continued trying to arrest the violent man.
Although officers eventually overpowered Wuco and he was taken into custody, three officers – including Smith – were seriously injured and hospitalized with various, but unspecified “significant” injuries, according to the Sgt.
Unbeknownst to Smith, students and faculty members, along with several of her co-workers and Chief of Police Roger Moore had planned a surprise celebration on her first day of returning to her position at Shasta High School. RPD image
Smith’s injuries and lengthy recovery ended last month when she was finally able to return to her duties as Shasta High School’s assigned school resource officer.
Unbeknownst to Smith, the school’s faculty and students, along with several of her co-workers, had planned a special celebration to welcome her back to her position. The celebration even included a cake, complete with a photo of Smith as the fictional superhero, “Wonder Woman.”
“Today, we’re here at Shasta High School to celebrate the return of one of our companions, our coworker, our friend, our family, Officer Smith,” RPD Officer Josiah Ferrin said in a short video announcing Smith’s return to work.
After summoning Smith to the school’s cafeteria, the surprised officer walked into a celebration in her honor.
“Oh my goodness,” Smith said as she entered the school’s cafeteria to the applause, cheers and hugs from her students, faculty members and fellow officers.
“I was absolutely floored honestly,” the surprised officer later said. “And I’m sure the look on my face … was very surprised,” Smith continued. “It was not what I was expecting. I had no idea what I was walking into.”
“Obviously it was a good ruse, and I honestly got overcome with emotion and I had to hold it together,” Smith continued.
“Just, my department and my school … that love they have for me is very genuine,” said Smith. “I felt it.”
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.