Sierra County shooting suspect, victim ID’d

The Union staff report
John Thomas Conway

The man shot and killed Friday in a remote area of Sierra County has been identified as a Danville physician by family members, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The shooter also has been identified by the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office in a press release as John Thomas Conway, 40, of Oroville.

According to a GoFundMe page, 45-year-old Ari Gershman, a pulmonary doctor, was off-roading in a new four-wheel drive Jeep with his son Jack when the gunman opened fire.

A press release from the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office states deputies responded to a call around 4 p.m. Friday reporting two people had been shot in the Poker Flat area north of Camptonville. Both victims were being transported out of the area by private vehicle. They subsequently were transported to the hospital by helicopter with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Sheriff’s Office then received a call of a third shooting victim in the same area. The caller, a juvenile, stated he fled the area after the shooting, and was lost. Deputies were able to make it to the third victim — Gershman — who was deceased at the scene, the release states.

Throughout the night , and into the following day, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office coordinated a massive law enforcement response to the area. Responding agencies included U.S. Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Grass Valley Police Department, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, and Yuba counties. Helicopters from the California Highway Patrol, Washoe County (Nevada), and Placer County Sheriff’s Office assisted throughout the incident.

The missing boy was found Saturday and was in good health, the release states.

Conway was subsequently spotted driving at high speed in a UTV. The suspect failed to stop and tried to run over several officers and then fled south towards Downieville, a release stated. A third officer tried to block Conway, leading to a collision, and he was taken into custody after an officer-involved shooting and deployment of a K-9, the release stated. After receiving medical treatment at the scene, he was transported to the hospital.

The Sierra County District Attorney anticipates announcing charges soon, according to the release.

The Union is a sister publication to the Sierra Sun.

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