Armed Guerneville man shot, killed by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies

  • A mobile command post is set-up to begin the investigation in to a Sonoma County Sheriff's officer involved shooting in Guerneville, Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

A man armed with what authorities said was a high-powered rifle was fatally shot outside his home early Tuesday after he exited the house and opened fire on deputies, ending an hourlong standoff, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Wayne A. Courtright, 58, reportedly had threatened to kill his wife and was intoxicated, suicidal and armed with a rifle in the period leading up to the midnight shootout, his wife told law enforcement personnel, officials said.

Courtright, described by a former employer as extremely mild-mannered and conscientious, was also a bit of a loner, according to Albert Kass, who owns the Riverlane Resort where the shooting occurred.

Fatal Deputy-Involved Shooting In Guerneville


His is the second deputy-involved shooting death in four weeks, though the circumstances are distinctly different from those involved in the high-profile death of a 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy last month.

Sheriff's officials said the Guerneville incident unfolded when Courtright's wife, the manager of the Riverlane Resort at First and Church streets in downtown Guerneville, called a sheriff's dispatcher around 11 p.m. Monday to report that her husband had threatened her.

The woman, identified by the owner of the resort and others as Benita Courtright, was instructed to leave the house immediately, sheriff's officials said.

Within a minute, she and her 30-year-old daughter, who resides with them, had run to the River Substation run by the sheriff's office just across Church Street from the resort, officials said.

Sheriff's deputies in turn began surrounding the resort, which includes the main house occupied by the Courtrights and 12 cabin rentals, according to owner Albert Kass.

Within minutes, deputies heard gunshots fired inside the house, authorities said.

The department's SWAT team and a hostage negotiator were called. They swarmed the area before Courtright reportedly came out and began firing at deputies, who returned fire, fatally wounding him, the sheriff's office said.

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