Meet Shannan Moon, trail blazer |

Meet Shannan Moon, trail blazer

Photo Courtesy The UnionNevada County's first female lieutenant, Shannan Moon, is honored for historic assignment.
John Hart | The Union

NEVADA COUNTY ” On Jan. 10, 2001, Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shannan Moon was positioned at the old HEW building in Nevada City during one of the county’s darkest days.

A deranged man came to the county offices for a psychiatric appointment and instead opened fire on the workers. He proceeded to Glenbrook Basin, where he shot restaurant staffers he believed were poisoning his food. In the shooting spree, Scott Thorpe killed three people and injured two others.

It was perhaps the bloodiest day in Nevada County’s history. It was also a defining moment in Nevada County Sheriff Lt. Shannan Moon’s career.

“That was a case to remember,” said Moon, 40, who has worked for the department for 18 years and was in charge of law enforcement personnel at the old HEW building. She became the lead investigator on the case.

“It was so chaotic,” she said. “Just to have one of those incidents would have been a tax on the system ” but two? That was the toughest case by far.”

Now Moon, who grew up in Grass Valley and graduated from Nevada Union High, is taking on her toughest and most historic assignment. On Wednesday, Moon was sworn in as the first female lieutenant in Sheriff’s Office history ” and all of local law enforcement for that matter.

“It’s a tremendous honor, and I feel a huge responsibility. It’s an honor to know I’m representing the department on a command staff level,” said Moon, who has worked in the patrol, investigations and corrections departments during her career.

Moon is one of two supervisors on the patrol unit for the Sheriff’s Office.

She is in charge of supervising a crew of 35 deputies on patrol.

Moon said she’d like to finish her career here. Her one regret is never getting to interview Thorpe, who was found incompetent to stand trial for the shootings and is now serving time at Napa State Hospital.

“You never understand why someone could wreak that kind of havoc on so many families,” she said.

At a promotion ceremony Wednesday, Sheriff Keith Royal heartily endorsed Moon, whose father, Jim, once served as Nevada City’s police chief.

“Shannan is very talented and is so well liked and respected in our organization,” Royal said. “I feel a sense of accomplishment that she’s going to be very successful within the department.”

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