Assault suspect questioned in Grubbs case

YREKA, Calif. — A California man who allegedly threatened Ashland police officers with pruning shears last August was picked up on a warrant in Yreka Thursday and is being questioned in the Grubbs murder case, Ashland police said.

Police Chief Terry Holderness emphasized Michael Mollo, 43, of Fullerton, Calif., was not a suspect in the Nov. 19 murder of 23-year-old David Michael Grubbs.

"We have a detective going out to talk with him, because his name has come up from several people in this investigation," Holderness said. "We do know that he has a history of violent behavior."

Yreka police said they found a "decorative sword" belonging to Mollo in a home near where Mollo was arrested. Holderness would not comment on the sword.

Mollo, who spends much of his time in Ashland, was apprehended by Yreka police after being alerted by Ashland police Thursday morning to keep a look out for him.

Mollo was arrested at about 4 p.m. in a residence in the 500 block of Third Street. He was not armed and did not try to flee, said Yreka police Lt. Dave Gamache.

Gamache said Mollo's sword was taken by police from a separate nearby residence where he was first believed to have been staying.

Gamache said an acquaintance of Mollo's turned the sword over after police asked her whether there were any weapons in the home, located in the 300 block of Third Street.

Holderness reiterated Friday, "At this point, he is not a suspect in this case."

Mollo's close friend, Abby Lewis of Ashland, said Mollo was in Yreka when Grubbs was murdered.

"He would never do something so horrific," she said.

The warrant for Mollo's arrest stems from an incident on Aug. 3. Police were called to the 100 block of Fifth Street in Ashland, where they found Mollo allegedly yelling and exposing himself while waving a pair of pruning shears.

Mollo walked toward one of the officers, climbed over a picket fence after shaking it and breaking it, and raised the pair of two-foot-long pruning shears in a threatening manner toward police, said Ashland police Deputy Chief Corey Falls.

An officer then shot Mollo in the back with a stun gun, Falls said.

Mollo collapsed and dropped the shears. After the five-second stun cycle finished, he recovered, jumped to his feet, and ran into a nearby house, breaking down the front door to get inside, police said. Mollo then eluded capture.

Charges pending against Mollo include first-degree assault, assault on a public safety officer, first-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and menacing, police said.

Oregon court records show Mollo has been convicted twice of second-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, in April 2006 and December 2005. He also was convicted of resisting arrest in May 2003 and in 1997 he was convicted of fourth-degree assault.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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