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Threats made at HEW

Eileen JoyceLaw enforcement officers search the car of Darryl Keith Clayton, arrested Thursday after he allegedly threatened county mental health workers in their offices, in the HEW building parking lot on Willow Valley Road.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A Nevada City-area man was arrested Thursday afternoon after he allegedly threatened Nevada County mental health workers in their Nevada City offices.

Darryl Keith Clayton, 36, whom mental health workers called “Keith,” was charged with criminal threats, battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $50,750.



Clayton was sprayed with pepper spray when, after fleeing the county office, he did not comply with sheriff’s deputies’ requests to stop.




Mental health workers called 911 shortly after 4 p.m. to report that a man was making threats to county employees in the lobby of the HEW offices on Willow Valley Road. Four units responded, Undersheriff John Trauner said.

The man was transported to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in a sheriff’s vehicle at 4:36 p.m. to be treated for the effects of pepper spray, Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Salivar said outside the offices.

Clayton was arrested at 4:21 p.m., according to booking officer Sgt. Tess Kingsbury.

County employees weren’t permitted to say whether or not Clayton is a mental health client.

Sheriff’s detectives found an unloaded Colt .357 handgun in the glove box of his vehicle in the parking lot, said Sgt. Ron Smith.

John Eby, a county mental health worker, replied that “we’re not talking” when asked about any threats to workers. An Eagle Vision security guard at the county offices would not allow anyone to approach employees.

Salivar said Clayton “possibly made threats to staff and possibly made threats to relatives,” but did not specify the nature of the threats. Trauner said Clayton made threats to kill county employees and some of his family.

Clayton’s wife, Sloan Clayton, who brought him to the mental health offices, said “no threats were made” at the county offices. She also threatened to sue The Union if it printed any mention of the incident, saying publication violated her husband’s patient confidentiality.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” Sloan Clayton said.

Robert Goodman, a county computer tech intern, said he was working on a computer in the back of the office when a secretary locked everyone in.

“She said, ‘You can’t leave. There’s some guy out there with a gun,'” Goodman said. “We were locked down, and everybody was worried that he might have gun.

“I wasn’t too worried because the police were there,” Goodman said.

On Jan. 10, 2001, two women were killed in the same offices and another woman was shot when client Scott Thorpe allegedly opened fire on county mental health workers in the lobby. Another man died and another was shot when Thorpe allegedly opened fire at Lyon’s Restaurant a short time later.


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