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PICTURED: Gunman who shot dead California doctor in Sierra Nevada

"Seth Cushman" (2020-07-20)


John Thomas Conway, 40, of Oroville, California, was identified by Sierra County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday

A gunman who fatally shot a California doctor in front of his 15-year-old son in Sierra Nevada, after opening fire on two other victims in a 'random act of violence' over the weekend, was identified by authorities on Wednesday.  

John Thomas Conway, 40, of Oroville, California, was arrested on Independence Day following an hours-long search through the forest that resulted in an officer-involved shooting, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office said. 

Officials from at least six different law enforcement agencies embarked on a massive manhunt for the suspect after two people, who were not named, were shot in the Poker Flat area, and another, Dr Ari Gershman, was killed in nearby Downieville, on Friday.  

Gershman, a doctor of internal medicine based in Danville, California, had been off-roading in his Jeep with his son Jack, 15, in Tahoe National Forest, when they stopped on a remote road to ask Conway for directions.

The gunman, who was driving an ATV, allegedly open fire 'out of nowhere', hitting Gershman, who immediately collapsed and died at the scene. 

Father-of-three Gershman (pictured with his wife and family) was traveling with his son, Jack in Tahoe National Park when he was shot.

The 15-year-old fled into the woods and was finally able to get through to rescuers with just 1% battery power on his phone before he spent more than 30 hours in a Sierra Nevada forest 

Conway allegedly shot and killed Dr Ari Gershman (pictured) 'an avid bicyclist, a vegetarian, an outdoorsman, an internal medicine doctor,' on a remote road in Sierra Nevada on Friday 

The teenage boy then fled into the forest to take shelter and was forced to survive alone 30 hours before he was rescued.

Authorities said they located Jack, who was able to call 911 after hiking to find cellphone reception, despite him traveling a 'considerable distance.'

'Even though the juvenile had fled the shooting and spent the night alone in the forest, he was in good physical condition and did not require medical attention,' officials said in a press release. 

'After giving him some food and water, officers transported him to the Sheriff's Office, where he was reunited with his mother.' 

Hours later, authorities located Conway after he failed to stop at a checkpoint on Saddleback Road and allegedly tried to run over two wildlife officers. 

A third officer, who was down the road, attempted to block his vehicle as he drove away, resulting in a collision. 

Officers then opened fire on the gunman and deployed a K-9, before taking Conway into custody, the sheriff's office said.  

Authorities said none of Conway's victims were known to him and the Sierra County District Attorney plans to announce charges on the suspect 'soon.'   

According to a family member, Jack called 911 before calling his mother, Paige around 5.30pm.

During the call, Jack told his mother: 'Dad's been shot and I think he's dead and I'm running away, uphill and I don't know where I am'

In addition to his son, Gershman is survived by two other children, Evan, 16, and Maci, 10, and by his wife, Paige (pictured together), who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, according to the GoFundMe page

Gershman and his son were attacked near Downieville, California - a remote area 80 miles northeast of Sacramento and 55 miles west of Reno, Nevada.  

Ari's cousin, Marlo Meyers-Barer, told the , that the man started shooting 'out of nowhere'.

'Ari stepped on the gas to get out of harms way, but one of the shots ripped through the seat and hit him.

He was able to get the Jeep stopped so Jack was able to run into the forest to hide,' Meyers-Barer said. Meyers-Barer said Gershman collapsed and died from the gunshot wound at the scene. Just before the shooting, Gershman's wife, Paige, who was diagnosed six weeks ago with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, had sent a text to her husband letting him know that she received promising test results. She had previously been tracking their progress on the trip using her phone. Because her husband is a doctor, Paige said she thought it was odd he didn't respond.  According to Meyes-Barer, Jack called 911 before calling his mother, around 5.30pm. During the call, Jack told his mother: 'Dad's been shot and I think he's dead and I'm running away, uphill and I don't know where I am.' While it's unclear exactly where Jack was found, this map depicts the whereabouts of Jack and his father before the shooting and where the gunman was arrested Jack then explained that it had taken him an hour to climb to find signal for his cell phone, which was only at 1 per cent battery power when he made the call.

Jack was found in good condition on July 4 in Tahoe National Forest (file image) Jack then explained that it had taken him an hour to climb to find signal for his cell phone, which was only at one per cent battery power when he made the call. Meyes-Barer and Paige drove four hours to Downieville, and on the way received messages Jack had tried to send earlier in the day.Meyers-Barer said: 'He said he was sorry and to tell his brother and sister he loved them.

And he loved his mom. It was gut-wrenching.'  RELATED ARTICLES



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When they arrived, deputies at a sheriff's office broke the news that Gershman had been found dead and Jack was still missing. Rescuers contacted network provider AT&T to help track pings on Jack's phone despite it being out of battery power.   Jack (pictured with siblings) fled and called police to say he was lost, according to the Sierra County Sheriff's OfficeIt took about five hours for authorities to extricate Jack from the forest and he was covered in bug bites because he was only wearing shorts and t-shirt. He told authorities that he was able to get water from a stream he came across while walking in the forest. There was no immediate word on a motive for the shooting of Gershman.Gershman 'was an avid bicyclist, a vegetarian, an outdoorsman, an internal medicine doctor, a devoted and loving father and fantastic friend that was willing to drop anything for his friends and family,' according to a