SHERIFF'S PRESS RELEASE, Feb. 5, 2018
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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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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ANDREW CROWNINGSHIELD WANTED FOR MURDER OF EX-GIRLFRIEND
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.