It was within the above home where Byron Williams, according to his mother, Janice, railed against "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda
items." One of those left-wing items, it warrants mentioning, was health care reform. Williams is now in serious condition in Oakland's Highland Hospital suffering from six gunshot wounds he received after allegedly opening fire on a bevy of California Highway Patrol officers.
Record searches revealed previous addresses for Williams in rural Sheridan, Ore.; Clearfield, Utah; Seattle; Honolulu; and Phoenix. The sheriff's office in Oregon's Yamhill County, Ore. said Williams had no record there as did the Phoenix Police Department. He does not show up on Arizona Department of Corrections records and Davis County, Utah officials didn't know of him. The other agencies are either crunching the data or haven't yet returned our messages
Groveland, incidentally is a mountain town of just shy of 5,000 residents which has spawned several quirky news stories -- prior to this one about a heavily armed man apparently intent on inflicting harm upon "left-wingers."
The town, for what it's worth, is home to the oldest continually operating saloon in the state, the Iron Door Saloon. The general store owner, for one, made the papers because of his pet bear.
Original story, 7:30 a.m.: If a writer crafted a character like Byron
Williams -- the 45-year-old felon in serious condition after
exchanging gunfire with state troopers on I-580 in a scene right out of Robocop
-- he'd have been accused of creating a nightmarish cartoon.
Williams, the jaw-dropping elements just keep coming like so many
He was a twice-convicted felon driving on a suspended license with an arrest history including assault, property destruction, a DUI, hit and run, and theft. And, yes, he was allegedly driving drunk prior to yesterday's shootout -- which only occurred because Highway Patrol officers pulled him over en route to whatever grand plans he was intent on carrying out.
Williams was apparently prone to maniacal rants about about left-wing politicians taking away his rights and lived with his mother in backwoods Groveland in Tuolmne County. She had a locker full of guns, as she believed that armed resistance against our government was inevitable -- but Williams allegedly made off with the stash because he felt that time was now. (He purportedly skipped out on a dinner date with mom; they were going to make a salsa together). In addition to a large cache of weapons, Williams was clothed in body armor, which enabled him to absorb numerous shots and survive.
And then there's the shooting itself. Bedecked in the aforementioned armor, Williams took on a phalanx of 10 or more CHP officers, spraying bullets every which direction. The resultant destruction led to swaths of I-580 being closed all Sunday. To put it mildly -- this kind of stuff doesn't happen in Oakland every day. There's a term for this: "movie shit."
Finally, to cap off the surreal episode of the anti-government alleged domestic terrorist who stole mom's guns instead of keeping his dinner date with her, none of the cops who bravely took Williams down were even seriously injured. In the end, Williams' alleged attempt to mete out bloody justice against "left-wingers" was more of a farce than a tragedy. The dénouement of the shootout was a daylong closure of a major highway.
Williams will be remembered as the heavily armed guy who lived with his heavily armed mom; the guy who ruined everyone's Sunday plans, and was cursed by countless stranded motorists with special vigor.
Taylor Friedman contributed to this report
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