Pot shots

Staff at a local collective say law enforcement could do more to find one man’s shooter

Robert and Edythe Galia say they know who made a threatening phone call after Thanksgiving, but law enforcement isn’t taking them seriously.

Robert and Edythe Galia say they know who made a threatening phone call after Thanksgiving, but law enforcement isn’t taking them seriously.

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Help solve these crimes: Anyone with information about the recent shootings discussed in this story should contact the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at 538-7321.

As Christmas weekend nears, the folks over at North Valley Holistic Health medical-marijuana collective are finding it hard to forget the events of the last holiday weekend in Chico. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of their employees, David Dorsey, was blasted in the side with a shotgun in his own driveway after returning home from work.

Two days later, Robert Galia, who runs NVHH, received a threatening phone call at his home. He says he’s positive he knows the man who made it, too, because, well, he identified himself.

“I picked up the phone, and he said, ‘This is Jonathan,’ and then he asked for Bob,” said Edythe Galia, Robert’s wife. “I recognized his voice. We both recognized his voice.”

The man on the phone said to Robert, “You know your little friend who got shot, well, you and the nigger are next if you don’t stop selling to my daughter.” (The manager at NVHH is black.)

The Galias, who live in Butte Creek Canyon, contacted the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and explained that they knew the man on the other end of the line. They described him, even picked him out of a photo lineup.

“They went and talked to him,” Robert said. “They asked him if he did it, and he said no. They said he volunteered his phone records, and there were no calls in or out at the time we received the threat.”

The fact that they just asked the guy if he did it doesn’t set well with the Galias. In their minds, the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t done enough to solve this crime, which was made even more serious when Cascade Wellness Center on Highway 99, another collective, was shot up the following week. About a dozen bullet holes can be seen on the front of the building, particularly in the windows, and a sign on the door says the collective is closed until further notice. A call to one of the operators was not returned by press time.

Thanksgiving weekend turned David Dorsey’s life upside down. He returned to his house on Morninghome Court that Saturday evening, noticing nothing out of the ordinary. He parked and sat in the cab of his truck for a second, putting his cell phone into his pocket, and then got out and headed to the front door. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds before he saw a shadow, instinctively shielded his body, and saw a flash of light. A single shotgun blast ripped through his right elbow and into the right side of his body.

“That’s it, the next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance,” Dorsey said via phone interview from his parents’ home in the Bay Area, where he’s been recuperating, doing physical therapy to mend nerve damage to his arm. He’s vowed never to step foot back in Chico.

Dorsey doesn’t believe that he was followed home that night, as the police have suggested. He said there just wasn’t enough time for someone to park, get out of a vehicle and sneak up on him—and do it so quietly. “They had to be waiting in the bushes,” he said, adding that perhaps this person followed him home a different night to know where he lived.

Dorsey never received any threats, he said—there was no indication as to why he was shot.

“If no one had called Bob, it could have been anyone from a crazy person to a cartel,” Dorsey said.

The 24-year-old came to Chico in 2006 for school and loved the area so much that he decided to try to make a living here. He’d been working at NVHH for about seven months. During that time he said he’d met plenty of characters, but no one who fit the bill as someone to be afraid of.

Even so, after the phone threat, Galia hired a security team to watch the parking lot outside the collective.

“Like 99 percent of the people who use cannabis, we are nonviolent,” Galia said. “But we’re not stupid. We’ve taken the necessary steps to protect ourselves.”

Unlike Cascade Wellness, however, they’re not going to be intimidated. They’re cautious but not scared, he said. That doesn’t change the fact that law enforcement doesn’t seem to have made this case a priority.

“I understand it’s our word against his,” Galia said, referring to Jonathan (he requested the last name not be used in print). He admitted, too, that some of the facts don’t add up. For instance, Jonathan’s daughter is 40-something years old and doesn’t live in Butte County. To Galia, that just means the motive was fabricated—it doesn’t change the fact that a man he’d called a friend had threatened to do him harm.

“If he was innocent, why wouldn’t he call us after the police came to him?” Edythe posed. They have heard nothing from Jonathan, which makes them wonder. They also wonder what’s going on at the Sheriff’s Office.

Det. Philip Wysocki explained that, while these two shootings are his top priorities at the moment, he couldn’t give out any information about the investigation because it is ongoing. He did confirm that no arrests had been made.

“I would hope law enforcement would keep us more in the loop,” Edythe said. Dorsey echoed her sentiments.

“They interviewed me a couple times in the hospital, but after that I almost had to call them two weeks later to find out what was going on,” Dorsey said.

“I’m working nonstop on them, they’re a very high priority,” Wysocki said of the shootings. “We’re working every lead we get and doing the best we can with them.”

The Galias aren’t surprised that no arrests have been made, however.

“I would imagine they’re enjoying this,” Robert said. “They’re enjoying this violence linked with collectives.”