Medford man in hospital following shootout

A Medford man was shot several times by police Thursday after a 50-mile-long, high-speed chase and subsequent shootout along Interstate 5 near Castella, Calif.

The incident closed the freeway for nearly nine hours Thursday afternoon, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Albert Anthony Smith, 42, sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the face and upper torso and was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

Hospital officials would not release details of Smith's condition Friday, but Sgt. Brian Barner of the Redding Police Department said Smith was awake and that his wounds are not considered life-threatening. Smith's condition was listed as critical.

The chase began late Thursday morning when reports of a black GMC Safari van heading southbound in the I-5 northbound lanes near the Oregon border started coming in to Oregon State Police.

The information was passed on to CHP officers, who located the vehicle near Yreka, Calif. Officers pursued the vehicle for 50 miles. They made three attempts to deploy spike strips and were successful on the third attempt.

Smith's vehicle came to a stop near Castella, home of Castle Crags State Park. He had crashed through several fences and driven through the front yard of a home, Barner said.

Police say Smith emerged from the vehicle with an assault rifle and started shooting at six CHP patrol officers, Shasta County sheriff's deputies and cars nearby. The officers returned fire and hit Smith multiple times. No police officers were hurt during the shootout, but a CHP canine was hit in the lower leg. The dog was treated at a Mt. Shasta veterinary clinic and was listed in stable condition.

Barner said police did not know why Smith led officers on a high-speed chase or opened fire on them when he was stopped. The results of a toxicology report were not yet available.

Smith has some minor offenses on his record in Oregon, including offensive littering, but no felonies.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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