On 05/17/2023, at approximately 3:52 PM, the Chico Police Department responded to an address on New Dawn Circle in Chico for a report of a disturbance involving two subjects. Officers arrived on scene and contacted one of the involved, who was later determined to be the victim. The victim told officers a subject, later identified as Silas McFall, 20 years old of Chico, had fled the scene in a vehicle. The victim then told officers McFall had confronted him at the residence over a social media post. During the confrontation, McFall produced a handgun and threatened to kill the victim and their mother. McFall also punched and kicked the victim several times, which resulted in minor injuries. As a result of the investigation, McFall was wanted for Burglary, Brandishing of a Firearm, Criminal Threats and Battery on a Dependent/Elder Adult.
On 05/20/2023 at approximately 9:22 PM, Chico Police Department dispatch received a call that McFall was in a vehicle near an apartment complex in the 1200 block of N. Cedar Street. Officers quickly responded to the area and attempted to locate him. Officers ultimately located a vehicle matching the description near the intersection of W. 7th Street and Ivy Street. Officers attempted to conduct a high-risk enforcement stop on the vehicle in the 700 block of Hazel Street. As the vehicle yielded, a subject matching McFall’s description fled from the passenger seat of the vehicle and into a nearby backyard. A perimeter was quickly established around the residence, and several officers arrived to assist.
Due to McFalls’ prior history of weapons possession, his wanted status in the prior incident, and that he had concealed himself in the backyard of a residence, an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), also known as a drone, was quickly deployed by a Chico Police Officer. This officer is trained and certified as a law enforcement drone pilot.
As the UAS began searching the neighborhood, officers were able to locate McFall attempting to conceal himself in the rear yard of a residence. As the UAS pilot was monitoring McFall, he attempted to flee from the backyard. However, he was apprehended by officers on the perimeter and taken into custody without further incident. A discarded firearm was located in the rear yard of a residence where McFall had attempted to conceal himself. McFall was arrested for the previously mentioned charges, as well as Resisting Arrest, Possession of a Loaded/Unregistered Firearm and Grand Theft. He was booked into Butte County Jail.
This incident highlights how technology has helped to de-escalate situations, improve officer and community safety, and decrease the amount of staff time spent on these types of incidents. Drone technology can be quickly deployed and provides real-time intelligence, which would otherwise be difficult to obtain through traditional means.
Location: 700 blk of Hazel Street
Suspect: Silas McFall, 20 years old, of Chico
Supervisor: Sgt. John Nickelson
Lieutenant: Lt. Jeff Durkin