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Crowningshield in Custody


by Lieutenant Shannon Barney

On 02/04/2018 around 9:10 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a shooting in the 6000 block of North Highway 1 in Little River, CA. The reporting party, Victim Daniel Alonso reported that he and his friend, Victim Autumn Smith (AKA Johnson), were traveling southbound on North Highway 1 from Fort Bragg.  As they passed the area of Caspar they observed Suspect Andrew Crowningshield in his vehicle. According to Alonso, Crowningshield followed their vehicle as they drove south.  Crowningshield and Smith had a previous relationship together and they share a child in common, a three year old boy. Their relationship had ended over a year prior to this incident and they shared custody of the child.

In the 6000 Block of North Highway 1 Smith pulled to the side of the road to talk to Crowningshield about their child and when she could pick up the child. She approached Crowningshield's vehicle and for reasons unknown at this time, Crowningshield fired numerous rounds at Smith, who fell to the ground. According to Alonso, he believed Crowningshield also fired numerous rounds at him while he was seated in the other vehicle. Alonso used Smith's vehicle to drive to a nearby business to report the shooting to the Sheriff's Office. Crowningshield fled the area in a large 4 wheel drive Ford pickup.

Initially MCSO Deputies were concerned the 3 year old boy might have been taken by Crowningshield but it was later learned to not be the case. Deputies later found the child safe, with relatives, and learned he was not at the scene nor was he involved in the incident in any way.

Responding Deputies and members of the Albion Litter River Fire Department arrived on scene and found Smith deceased at the scene. MCSO Detectives were called to conduct the investigation while Deputies, Officers from the California Highway Patrol (patrol and helicopter), Officers from the Ukiah Police Department, and Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife combed the area looking for the suspect. Several reports came in the suspect may have been seen on the Comptche-Ukiah Road but Deputies were unable to locate him. Additional reports came in the suspect vehicle might have been seen on the Eel River Road leading to Lake Pillsbury. A be on the lookout (BOLO) was issued to all allied agencies to stop and arrest the suspect.

On 2/5/2018 just before 7:00 AM the suspect vehicle was spotted in Glenn County in the Town of Elk Creek. Responding Glenn County Deputies observed Crowningshield near the vehicle and placed him into custody without incident. Crowningshield will be transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on an open charge of homicide and an open charge of attempted homicide. This is a no bail status.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all allied agencies who assisted and all citizens who called in information about possible sightings.

Crime/Incident: 187 PC [Homicide]; 664/187 PC [Attempted Homicide]

Location: 6000 Block of North Highway 1, Little River CA

Date of Incident: 02/04/2018

Time: 9:10 AM

Victim(s): Autumn Smith (AKA Autumn Johnson), 22 years of age, Fort Bragg CA; Daniel Alonso, 35 years of age, Fort Bragg CA

Suspect(s): Andrew Crowningshield, 27 years of age, Little River CA

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Autumn & child, 2015

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UPDATE (Feb. 5, 7:32am): "Andrew Crowningshield was taken into custody around 7am this morning in the town of Elk Creek in Glenn County by Glenn County Sheriff's Office. The vehicle was also located and Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives are en route to Glenn County as they continue their investigation." (Mendocino Sheriff's Office)

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Wanted Homicide Suspect: Andrew Crowningshield

If you have any information on his whereabouts, contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center (707) 463-4086. Report but DO NOT APPROACH HIM! He is considered armed and dangerous and may be armed with a handgun.

The Mendocino Sheriff Office said, "We are looking for Andrew Crowningshield in connection with a homicide. He was seen fleeing the area of Little River on Highway 1 this morning. Andrew is a white male adult, 27 years old, thought to be driving a light blue or white over teal Ford F-350 long bed quad cab diesel pickup with California plate #70658N1. It has running lights on cab, a spotlight on the rear bumper and 4"-6" lift kit."

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

Sheriff’s Lieutenant Shannon Barney told the Press Democrat that they suspect Crowningshield shot and killed his former girlfriend, Autumn Smith, 22, of Fort Bragg. Ms. Smith also goes by the name Autumn Johnson. According to the PD, Smith and Crowningshield have a pre-school age son who was not present during the shooting which was said to have occurred about 9:10am Sunday morning. The shooting occurred when Smith and Crowningshield, traveling in separate vehicles, pulled into a turnout on Highway 1 south of Little River. After they got out of their vehicles, Crowningshield is suspected of shooting Smith with a hangun after some kind of dispute, after which Crowningshield got in his pickup and left in an unknown direction. Crowningshield is from the Coast and reportedly knows the area well enough to elude authorities better than your average suspect, coming from a long-time Mendocino coast family. Crowningshield has also served as a firefighter.


  1. james marmon February 4, 2018


    The scanner said (9:16 am) the Albion – Little River Fire Department and the MCDH ambulance were dispatched to the Heritage House Inn, 4200 North Highway 1, for the report of a “gunshot wound.” The units were told to “stage” near the scene until law enforcement arrived.
    The victim, from the sound of the scanner traffic, may be NEAR the Heritage House on the roadway, north of the resort in the southbound lane. There may also be a “lifted” white Ford F250 with a “teal stripe” involved. CalStar 4 has also been dispatched to the scene.
    At 9:24 am, dispatch said, “Clear to enter the scene per MCSO.”
    A first responder said (9:25 am) “Out with unresponsive subject with gunshot wounds.”
    Also, at 9:19 am, there was a report of a traffic collision, “motorcycle down” on Highway 1 near the Andiron Lodge in Little River, mile marker 46.
    “At 9:35 am, a first responder said, “Looks like the gunshot wounds and the motorcycle down are one and the same” incident.
    The second MCDH ambulance was canceled for the motorcycle accident.
    This appears to be an “11-44” (deceased) – MCDH ambulance #9140 was “released” from the scene @ 10:43 am.
    An updated BOLO (Be On the Lookout) said law enforcement is also looking for a black Lexus with a license plate starting with “5L” in addition to the white F250 pickup truck.
    The incident is being referred to as a “187” which is defined as: “Murder, CA Penal Code 187, is defined as ‘the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.’ Malice aforethought can be defined simply as, you meant to kill the victim. Malice pertains to when the killing was an intentional act.”
    Remember, this is being posted from scanner dispatches that can change frequently as the situation develops.
    The BOLO for the vehicles have been updated – they may be heading south on Highway 1 after the “murder” on Highway 1 in Little River. The pickup was described as an older model white 1980’s Ford F-250, with a stripe described as “teal” and “black” & “blue.” The other vehicle was described as a “newer” four-door black Lexus, possibly an Infinity, with a license plate starting with “5L.” The incident involved a handgun and the wanted subjects should be considered armed & dangerous.
    There was a report (9:59 am) the possible vehicle involved in the incident was seen headed eastbound on Highway 128 from Boonville 3-4 minutes ago. Two Fish & Wildlife units were scene headed “Code 3” (lights/sirens) on Highway 1 in front of MSP Headquarters @ 9:57 am.
    Also, the scanner said “the victim’s boyfriend’s car, the black four-door, is at the Heritage House. The lifted, 4-door, white 1990-1993 Ford F250 pickup with a teal stripe & 35-inch tires is the vehicle being sought – it may have a 3-year-old child in the vehicle. The address for the boyfriend’s car (we’re withholding the name & exact address) came back to an address on Boonville-Ukiah Road (Highway 253).
    Law enforcement is concentrating in that area.
    While MSP won’t release the name of the suspect in the handgun murder on Hwy 1 in Little River (his initials are “AC”), he name was found from a previous incident on the MCSO computer and he’s 34-years-old, birthdate 2/9/1983. Also, he may have a residence on Little River Airport Road.
    The murder suspect was reportedly seen (10:48 am) in a black VW Golf headed southbound on Highway 1. The vehicle was pulled over by a few units at mile marker 42.02 on Highway 1. The suspect’s name is well-known on the coast. Apparently, it was not the suspect – but an occupant of the vehicle had the same last name of the murder suspect.
    From the social media page of the murder suspect, he dined at the La Playa Mexican Restaurant in Fort Bragg Saturday night.
    In what may be related to this incident, a scanner report @ 11:46 am said a sheriff unit “was out with the child, Everything is Code 4 (ok).”
    The air asset is diverting @ 1:11 pm over to Lake County to assist in a pursuit.
    The air asset has returned and is searching the Low Gap & Orr Springs Road areas. Scanner chatter says the subject is very familiar with the area. They are checking the small roads leading off Orr Springs.

  2. Phoebe Wells February 8, 2018

    Apparently the victim was pregnant. I always wonder why men kill their ex,s or soon to be ex’s… it’s a Leading cause of death among women. It’s too bad that law inforcement, knowing that abusive men are more likely to kill their partners when they finally get the guts to get the hell out, don’t offer more protection. Poor Autumn and her unborn baby and her 3 year old little Boy!!! It breaks my heart. I’m sorry but it’s high time sexist and masogynistic men got a swift and painful smack down. They can’t run a country, they can’t be decent people, they can’t keep their dicks in their pants, and their infantile jelous rages are intolerable. Like little Baby whining babies. Why do we tolerate this? I’m so over it.

    • Helga February 8, 2018

      Well said, Phoebe. Sadly, and too familiar for so many of us.

  3. Tommy Quinn February 15, 2018

    In this case, you don’t know what you are talking about. The circumstances were very, very different. Doesn’t make it right by any means, but there is a hugely different narrative. You should be ashamed.

    • phoebe wells February 16, 2018

      “Ashamed”? for what exactly?

    • Tom Quinn March 10, 2018

      Different guy than me. Not my view of this at all. Heart goes out to the victim of that bully.

  4. Jim Updegraff February 16, 2018

    Do the deed, do the time.

  5. Brendan moore February 5, 2020

    Andrew Crowningshield was my Cellmate in California State Prison Corcoran. He is one of the best people I have ever met. What happened happened but Andrew Crowninshield is a good man and a great Fathet.

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