Rail Road Flat, CA…On Saturday, June 26, 2022 at about 9:00 pm, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a reported shooting in the 600 block of Ridge Road in Rail Road Flat. The caller indicated that a person had been shot. The caller reported that the person suspected of shooting the victim was still in the area.
Deputies responded to the area and located an adult male who was suffering from one or more gunshot wounds. Emergency medical personnel treated and transported the male, however, he was pronounced dead while in transit to a medical trauma center.
As the male victim was being attended to by medical personnel, Deputies responded to a residence immediately east of the location of the shooting victim where they located Ralph McGaughran who had been identified as the suspected shooter. McGaughran was detained and later placed under arrest.
Detectives responded to the scene and learned that the three people who were involved in the incident each resided in separate residences with separate address on Ridge Road. The three residences were discovered to be adjoining parcels. The shooting occurred on the property located directly between the properties of the suspect and the victim.
Preliminary information has revealed that the suspect and the victim were known to each other. Additionally, evidence and statements have indicated that an altercation over unsafe target shooting which was occurring on property owned by McGaughran, and potentially affecting the safety of the victim, had occurred prior to the incident.
During the investigation it was discovered that the residences of the suspect, victim, and witness were all illegally growing marijuana. It is not believed at this time that the three different cultivation sites were connected. Additionally, evidence of an illegal butane honey oil extraction lab was seized from the property of McGaughran. Butane is an extremely flammable gas which can easily ignite if given a source, causing serious injury or death.
After serving a search warrant on the three parcels, the Sheriff’s Office seized a combined total of over 500 growing marijuana plants and over 40 pounds of processed marijuana. The estimated value of the growing marijuana plants and processed marijuana is over $300,000.
Ralph Lee McGaughran, age 66 of Railroad Flat, was arrested on charges of 187(a) PC Murder, 29800 PC Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 246 PC Negligent Discharge of Firearm, 11359(b) H&S Possession of Marijuana for Sale, 11366 H&S Maintaining a Drug House, and 11379.6 H&S Illegal Drug Manufacturing.
Source = CCSO