DOWNIEVILLE (CBS SF) — John Thomas Conway has been formally charged with the slaying of Danville Dr. Ari Greshman, who was ambushed while on a Sierra hiking trip with his son over the July 4th holiday weekend, and among other counts with also burglarzing a nearby gold mine.
Sierra County District Attorney Sandra Groven released a statement Monday announcing the charges that include murder, attempted murder, burglarizing a gold mine, unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Also included were special allegations of murder from a motor vehicle and intentional discharge of a firearm with injury.
The deadly incident unfolded on July 3rd, when Gershman took his middle son, Jack, up to the Sierra backroads outside Downieville. The pair stopped at a fork in the road to look at a map, when the gunman came up behind them.
“They turned around to ask him directions and the guy literally pulls out a gun and starts shooting at the Jeep, so Ari put it in drive and gunned it out of there, and was hit, and grabbed his chest, and he managed to stop the Jeep, put it in park, Jack got out and ran, and Ari died right outside of the Jeep,” said Gershman’s cousin Marlo Meyers-Barer.
Jack told his mom he ran through the woods for over an hour trying to get away from the gunman and until he could get cell phone service.
“Jack is sending texts to Paige saying, ‘I need you to fight cancer,’ ‘I need you to be OK,’ ‘I love you,’ ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it out of here,’” said Meyers-Barer.
Jack was lost in the woods for a day-and-a-half and was eventually rescued on July 4th after sheriff’s deputies were able to track his cell phone signal.
According to sheriff’s deputies, Conway tried to run over officers at high-speed on a utility terrain vehicle and fled towards Downieville. The UTV collided with another officer. After an exchange of gunfire and deployment of a K-9 dog, Conway, who lives in Oroville, was taken into custody and transported to a hospital.
According to court records, Conway was also charged with assault on two fish and wildlife wardens and burglarizing the Telegraph Mine on July 3 and 4.
Groven said the investigation continues to be ongoing. A motive for the violent spree has not be released.