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Father Charged After Defending Family

March 24, 2010 permalink

California child protectors removed ten children from parents John Lee Hickey and Kimberly Hickey because of claims that father spanked them and mother failed to protect. Their sixteen-year-old daughter wrote that she had been raped while in foster care, an allegation that CPS determined to be unfounded. Children Jessie Baker, 14, and Michaela, 12, escaped and were living with their parents when police tried to search the home for weapons. Father John thought they were coming to take the two children again and held the police off for 26 hours with gunfire. Police flushed them out by twice attacking the father and children with pepper spray. Hickey could get up to 80 years in jail. The press story portrays the family negatively, describing the home as a dilapidated trailer.



Bangor gunman was enraged over claim of rape by daughter placed in foster care

John Lee Hickey
John Lee Hickey (right) was temporarily represented in Superior Court by attorney Dennis Hoptowit (left) at a hearing in February.
(Barbara Arrigoni/Staff Photo)

OROVILLE -- A Bangor man ordered Tuesday to stand trial for shooting at police during a 26-hour standoff at his home last month had been angry over the removal of his 10 children and claims by one that she was raped while in foster care.

"He believed the system had failed our children," said the wife of John Lee Hickey, 43.

When officers attempted to search his 202 Grimy Gulch Road trailer for weapons Feb. 9, Hickey barricaded himself inside and allegedly fired a shotgun and revolver at lawmen outside.

Only one round was returned by an officer during the incident.

Judge Kristen Lucena ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Hickey for trial on eight felony charges, including three counts of assaulting a peace officer with a firearm, child endangerment and resisting an executive officer.

Hickey could potentially face more than 80 years in prison.

Two of the suspect's children were inside the dilapidated rural trailer with their mother at the time of the armed standoff, having recently run away from separate foster homes.

Kimberly Hickey, 37, said outside of court that Butte County Children's Services had removed their children Jan. 22, 2009, allegedly for the father "spanking" them and for the mother "not protecting" them, she said.

Several months before the standoff, Mrs. Hickey said her 16-year-old daughter wrote home that she had been raped in the foster home where she was placed.

The mother said a county caseworker told them the allegation was investigated and determined to be unfounded.

However, a few months later she was told that foster parent had lost her license and the Hickeys' children were being relocated to several other foster homes.

When deputies from the Butte County Sheriff's Office attempted to serve a warrant to search Hickey's home around 1 p.m. Feb. 9 to determine if he was complying with a domestic violence court order not to possess firearms, he allegedly said he had a gun, "that he was going to shoot us and kill us all," sheriff's detective William Olive testified.

During the standoff that ensued, he quoted Hickey as cursing the officers and saying "he was upset about his children ... and that one of his daughters was raped."

Hickey's wife said her husband became enraged because he believed the officers were there to return the two children there to foster homes.

The investigating officer testified Tuesday that about 11:45 p.m. he heard several shots from both a pistol and a shotgun, and quoted SWAT team members as saying they were being fired a upon, though no one was hit.

Several members of the Chico police SWAT team arrived later to relieve the sheriff's officers.

Chico detective Matt Nowicki testified that about 2:30 the following morning, he saw muzzle flashes coming from the suspect's trailer and what appeared to be pellet strikes hitting nearby brush.

It was initially believed Chico police officer Dave Bailey was hit by one of the shotgun blasts. It was later determined that what struck his helmet was debris from his partner, Ben Love, firing back one shot at Hickey with his rifle, according to Nowicki.

During the armed siege, officers twice put pepper spray into the trailer.

Hickey's wife said she and the children placed wet towels over their faces to ease the effects of the chemical agent and sought refuge in a bedroom.

The following afternoon, the three escaped through a hole in the floor moments before a second round of pepper gas finally prompted Hickey to surrender.

When told one officer may have been shot, Hickey apologized, saying he never intended to hurt anyone.

Hickey's son, Jessie Baker, 14, who was inside the trailer with his sister, Michaela, 12, during the siege, quoted his father as saying he was only "trying to scare the cops."

Sheriff's deputy Mason Miller testified that during a search of the residence afterward, he found a 12-gauge shotgun in the hallway along with a vest containing 61 live shotgun rounds, and 21 shotgun wads just outside the windows on the south side of the trailer.

Under questioning by Hickey's lawyer, Eric Ortner, Miller acknowledged he did not locate any spent bullets.

Ortner conceded his client had fired a weapon, but argued there was insufficient evidence he was attempting to shoot the officers, or that his actions endangered his children.

Deputy district attorney Michael Candela countered that Hickey's verbal threats to kill the officers, coupled with the evidence the shots were fired in the officers' direction, were enough to support the three assault charges and enhancements.

Shooting guns inside the trailer clearly endangered his family, the prosecutor argued.

The judge ordered Hickey held on $730,000 bail pending arraignment in two weeks on all eight felony charges.

Hickey's mother, Edna Rubin, 67, is scheduled to stand trial in May on related charges alleging she rammed a vehicle through a gate onto her son's property, narrowly missing officers, and encouraged Hickey to shoot the officers.

Source: Chico Enterprise-Record