WASHINGTON, Calif. (AP) — A 69-year-old volunteer rescuer is recovering while authorities search for the gunman who shot him as he was helping to look for a missing hiker in a remote part of Northern California.
Steve Wolf was scouring a steep portion of the South Yuba River near the rural town of Washington with two team members when two shots rang out in the canyon, Nevada County sheriff’s officials said in a statement Wednesday.
Wolf and the others stayed put and radioed for help. Wolf was transported to a hospital Tuesday night where he underwent surgery for a shot to the hip. He is in stable condition.
The search and rescue volunteers were looking for Timothy Hansston, 75, who has been missing since Aug. 4. Authorities suspended the search while the shooter remains at large.
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The missing hiker is not believed to have any involvement in the shooting.
“He had indicated to his wife that he was going for a walk down at the river,” Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told The Sacramento Bee . “He parked down there and never returned.”
Wolf is a dedicated search and rescue volunteer and avid hiker. He recently hiked the Grand Canyon and routinely hikes the Sierra Nevada range, the Placer County sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Royal told the newspaper that the area surrounding the river is popular with marijuana growers and anti-government individuals. Washington is about 45 miles west of Truckee.
Paul Schmidt, operations captain for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, said it wasn’t clear what prompted the shooting.
“We have absolutely no information on who or why,” he told The Associated Press.
Authorities are warning people to stay out of the river canyon area while the search is being conducted.