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Shovel Wielding Suspect Arrested for Hate Crime and Arson

PRESS RELEASE

July 30th, 2020                       4:00 P.M.

20R047306

On Wenesday, July 29th, 2020 at approximately 8:38 P.M., Redding Police Officers responded to calls of a male suspect holding an axe while standing in front of a residence in the 5000 block of Eastside Road in south Redding.  The suspect, later identified as 56 year old Robert Hardberger of Redding, was threatening the occupants of the residence and saying he wanted to kill the police.  Responding officers learned Hardberger was known to the occupants of the residence.

In an effort to de-escalate the situation, officers staged nearby the scene of the call but stayed out of sight and allowed the reporting party who was communicating with Hardberger to try and resolve the situation peacefully.  The reporting party had communicated Hardberger may leave on his own.

While officers were speaking with the reporting party, Hardberger obtained a shovel, broke out a window to the residence and began directing racial slurs towards a subject of African American descent inside the residence.  Hardberger threatened the lives of the individuals inside and started to light a fire near the residence.

Officers responded from nearby and quickly located Hardberger in the backyard.  Hardberger had managed to start a small fire near the residence and left a gas can in the path of the fire.  The fire was quickly extinguished but Hardberger was still present in the backyard and was now threatening not only to kill the occupants of the residence, but the officers on scene as well.

When officers located Hardberg, he was found to be wearing a helmet, kneepads, and overalls.  He was holding and swinging a shovel and challenging officers to confront him.  Redding Police Department K9 Chase was on scene and was used to try and de-escalate the situation, but was not released upon Hardberg because officers thought Hardberg would use the shovel to strike Chase.

As officers attempted to negotiate with Hardberg it became clear he was extremely intoxicated.  He was not listening to commands, was completely non-compliant, and would not communicate in any coherent fashion.

Hardberg was slowly closing the distance between himself and the officers on scene while swinging the shovel and refusing to comply with commands to drop the shovel.  When Hardberg got close enough to pose a threat, officers shot him one time with a less lethal bean bag round.  The bean bag round only agitated Hardberg who continued to advance on officers.  He was shot with two more bean bag rounds, which were effective, and Hardberg was taken into custody without further incident.

Hardberg was transported to Mercy Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained due to the bean bag rounds.  When he is released from the hospital he will be booked into the Shasta County Jail on charges of vandalism, criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon, arson, brandishing a weapon, resisting arrest, resisting arrest by force or violence, and a hate crime.

Hardberger was arrested in June of this year after officers responded to his residence because he brandished a bayonet at a victim and was playing what he described as “Nazi music”.

Hardberger was arrested in May of this year after he recklessly discharged a firearm multiple times.  Twenty firearms were seized from Hardberger during this arrest.

A picture of Robert Hardberger has been included with this release.

Robert Hardberger

Contact:         Sergeant Todd Cogle #301

                        Redding Police Department

                         530-225-4200

Reviewed:      Sheldon #322