2001 Nevada County shootings
|2001 Nevada County shootings|
|Date||January 10, 2001 |
≈11:28 – 11:37 a.m. (PST)
|Mass shooting, shooting spree|
|Perpetrator||Scott Harlan Thorpe|
On January 10, 2001, a shooting spree took place in Nevada County, California, when 40-year-old Scott Harlan Thorpe opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol, killing three people and wounding two others in two separate shootings in the Nevada County area. The victims were 19-year-old Laura Wilcox, 68-year-old Pearlie Mae Feldman and 24-year-old Mike Markle. The shooting spree led to the implementation of Laura's Law, a California state law that allows for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment. The law was named after Laura Wilcox, one of the victims of the shooting spree. Michael Moore's 2002 documentary film Bowling for Columbine was dedicated to Wilcox's memory.
Just before 11:30 a.m. on January 10, 2001, 40-year-old Scott Harlan Thorpe walked into the Nevada County Department of Behavioral Health in Nevada City, California. Thorpe walked up to the first-floor reception counter armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Thorpe was a client of the outpatient mental health clinic and suffered with paranoia and agoraphobia. At the time, he was seeking treatment at the clinic for help with his illnesses and was undergoing monthly mental health counseling for his agoraphobia. Unhappy with the care he had been receiving, an enraged Thorpe fired through a glass panel with his gun and fatally shot temporary receptionist, 19-year-old Laura Wilcox. He then opened fire on others around him and shot two other people, one of whom was 68-year-old Pearlie Mae Feldman, a mental health caregiver. She was fatally wounded by Thorpe.
Thorpe then fled the scene in a blue van and drove for three miles towards Lyon's Restaurant in nearby Grass Valley. Less than ten minutes later Thorpe arrived at the restaurant and headed inside. He then fatally shot the manager, 24-year-old Mike Markle, who had begun work at the restaurant just days before. He also shot the restaurant cook a total of seven times and injured him badly. Thorpe then fled the scene.
After the shootings, Thorpe returned to his home in Smartsville where he lived alone. Thorpe made a phone call to his brother who was a Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy and confessed over the phone to him about what he had done. Thorpe's brother notified Nevada County authorities and helped them in apprehending his brother. Authorities arrested Thorpe at his home around 9 p.m. later that day, where he surrendered peacefully after a three-hour standoff. Thorpe carried out the shooting as he was unhappy with the care he was receiving at the clinic. He also said he carried out the shooting at the restaurant because he was convinced they had been poisoning him. Thorpe was found incompetent to stand trial and was declared not guilty by reason of insanity. He was initially sent to Atascadero State Hospital but was later transferred to California's Napa State Hospital for the mentally ill where he currently resides.
As a result of the shooting, Laura's Law was implemented. It is a California state law that allows for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment. To qualify for the program, the person must have a serious mental illness plus a recent history of psychiatric hospitalizations, jailings or acts, threats or attempts of serious violent behavior towards [self] or others.
- Sam Allen (2002). "This film was dedicated to the following individuals". Indiana University. Archived from the original on February 21, 2020. Retrieved 2017-01-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- "Accused Shooter a Loner, but Loved Animals". SF Gate. Nevada County, California. January 11, 2001.
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- "3 Slain in Sierra Foothills Rampage / Gunman surrenders after manhunt, standoff". SF Gate. Nevada County, California. January 11, 2001.
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- "Thorpe pleads guilty to murder". The Union. Nevada County, California. March 21, 2003.
- "Carry out 'Laura's Law'". SF Gate. Nevada County, California. March 21, 2006.