Shooting In The Anderson Valley

by Bruce Anderson, April 27, 2016

A young Philo man was forced to shoot a knife-wielding drunk Saturday night when the man attacked his mother and another woman in a home near Hendy Woods. Details are just now becoming known, but the shooting occurred about 8pm on property owned by the Gowan family and occupied by Cathy Gowan, 26, and just after the courageous young shooter had ensured the safety of the 8 young children in the home by directing his younger brother to hide the children away from the house.

The wounded man is identified as Lorenzo Gomez Rodriguez, 34.

Rodriguez's Truck

Rodriguez's Truck

The spectacular series of events culminating in the nearly fatal gunfire began about 5pm with a report of a drunk driver rolling his vehicle into a ditch near Reilly Heights Ranch. That driver apparently was Rodriguez, a determined, long-time resident of the Anderson Valley despite several deportations to his native Mexico.

Rodriguez, having abandoned his car at Nash Mill, made his way to the Gowan home where he passed three youths near the Greenwood Road Bridge. Rodriguez paused to engage in an amiable conversation with the three boys, among them Bobby Kuny, 18, a senior at Anderson Valley High School. The boys said later they were unaware that Rodriguez had been drinking, that he'd been entirely non-threatening at this earlier encounter.

Bobby Kuny, his mother Lisa Kuny, and Bobby's siblings share the two-story Gowan home with Cathy Gowan and her three children, the youngest an infant. Rodriguez also lives at the home with Ms. Gowan.

Rodriguez-Gomez

Rodriguez

Rodriguez is described by people who know him well as "a sweetheart when he isn't drinking or on drugs."

Once he reached the Gowan home, an amorous Rodriguez, perhaps eroticized by his automobile accident at Reilly Heights, climbed to the second floor of the house where Ms. Gowan lives and attempted to force himself on her. Rejected, the enraged Rodriguez began to shout vile insults at both Ms. Gowan and Ms. Kuny, who had rushed to aid Ms. Gowan in ejecting Rodriguez from her area of the home.

Refusing demands that he leave, Rodriguez soon attacked Ms. Kuny. During the ensuing struggle with Ms. Kuny, Ms. Kuny was able to knock Rodriguez down. Rodriguez then began to threaten Ms. Kuny's oldest son, Bobby, who had interposed himself between his mother and the rampaging Rodriguez. Bobby had already instructed his brother to get the 8 children in the home out of the house and hide them in the brush by the Navarro River.

Rodriguez stumbled into the kitchen where he armed himself with a 14-inch chef's knife and bellowed that he was going to kill Bobby. Bobby, meantime, had armed himself with an old 22 revolver that had belonged to his great-grandfather, retrieving the gun from its lock box in his bedroom.

Wielding the knife, Rodriguez headed for Bobby with a clear intent to stab the young man, and it was then that Bobby emptied his gun into Rodriguez, who, hit at least four times, stumbled toward the front door where he attempted to grab a pair of scissors, thought better of it, staggered to his second vehicle, a van, and drove off toward Philo.

Here's where the post-shooting Rodriguez itinerary becomes confused. In the sequence of events we have he next appeared on the Smith property just west of the Madrones, a high-end tourist complex near Indian Creek. (Rodriguez is related to descendants of Lester Smith and the Ruddock family.) Rodriguez was still behind the wheel of his van.

The police say that Rodriguez, finally beginning to fade from the several gun shots he'd absorbed, either was driven from the Smith property or continued to drive himself to Anderson Valley Way and Fitch Lane from where a 911 call located him and police soon found him "non-responsive."

A medical helicopter was unable to fly to Boonville so Rodriguez was transported to the Ukiah hospital by the Anderson Valley Ambulance, and from there to Santa Rosa where he remains as of Monday morning in improving condition. He is expected to fully recover.

Following the bloody whirlwind in his home, Bobby Kuny had calmly handed the unloaded .22 handgun to one of the officers when a CHP patrolman, Sheriff's deputy Craig Walker and Sheriff's Detective Luis Espinoza arrived at the Gowan home.

Bobby Kuny (L) with Grandad Danny Kuny

Bobby Kuny (L) with Grandad Danny Kuny

The popular young man was briefly detained and questioned. Deputies quickly determined he'd in fact behaved honorably in defense of his mother and Ms. Gowan, not to mention the numerous children he'd had to evacuate from the home as Rodriguez attempted to take out his self-induced rage on the two families.

Bobby Kuny has received threats from persons associated with Rodriguez; these persons have somehow convinced themselves that Rodriguez is the victim in this discouraging episode.

The Kuny family is temporarily staying with relatives out of the Anderson Valley.

The Kuny family's roots go deep in Mendocino County where they settled several generations ago in Comptche and Boonville. Patriarch Danny Kuny, a logger, is probably best known as the football coach at Anderson Valley High School, and is a popular figure in sports circles throughout Mendocino County.

The Sheriff's Department issued the following press release Monday morning:

On April 23,2016 at approximately 7:45 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were summoned to a reported disturbance in the 18500 block of Philo Greenwood Road in Philo, California. While Deputies were responding, an additional call was made reporting Lorenzo Gomez Rodriguez, 34, of Philo, had been shot. Sometime thereafter an additional 911 call was made from the 14100 block of Anderson Valley Way (Boonville) of a gunshot victim requesting medical assistance. Deputies arrived along with members of the California Highway Patrol. The person found suffering from gunshot wounds, was identified as Lorenzo Gomez Rodriguez. Rodriguez was subsequently treated by medical personnel and ultimately transported to an out of county hospital where he was last known to be in stable condition. Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to investigate the incident. It was determined Rodriguez was a suspect in a domestic violence incident with a 26 year-old female adult in the 18500 block of Philo Greenwood Road. When other persons present attempted to intervene, Rodriguez then armed himself with a knife and attempted to assault an 18 year-old adult male and a 42 year-old female adult. The 18 year-old male adult armed himself with a handgun and defended himself and the 42 year-old female adult by shooting Rodriguez multiple times. Rodriguez fled the scene and was subsequently transported by private vehicle to the 14100 block of Anderson Valley Way (Boonville). The investigation into this incident is still ongoing. Anybody with information that might assist Sheriff's Detectives is encouraged to call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 707-234-2100.

Victims:

  • Female Adult [26 years-old from Philo, CA]
  • Female Adult [42 years-old from Philo, CA]
  • Male Adult [18 years-old from Philo, CA]

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