A Danville doctor died after being shot while off-roading with his teenage son in a rural area in Sierra County during the holiday weekend.
The victim was identified by family friends as Dr. Ari Gershman, a pulmonary doctor in the Bay Area. His son Jack, 15, was rescued from the forest land after getting lost for more than a day after running from the danger, according to supporters who created a GoFundMe to help the family.
The Sierra County Sheriff's Office said two other people were also shot nearby in what appears to be a connected incident. Sheriff's representatives had not yet responded to a request for an update on the case.
"Ari was an avid bicyclist, a vegetarian, an outdoorsman, an Internal Medicine Doctor, a devoted and loving father and fantastic friend that was willing to drop anything for his friends and family," supporters wrote on the GoFundMe page. "He was witty and wise. He died doing what he loved with his son in an area he had hoped to retire in one day."
The situation unfolded on Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. when deputies received a call about two people being shot in a remote area of northwestern Sierra County -- a lightly populated rural county on the eastern edge of California bordering Nevada, between Chico and Reno.
While deputies were en route, they learned both victims were being taken to the Cal-Ida area by a private vehicle. They were later transported by medical helicopter to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the sheriff's office.
Shortly thereafter, deputies received a call about a third shooting victim who had been hit by gunfire in the same general area as the other two. The caller, identified by deputies only as a juvenile, reported they fled the area after the shooting but had gotten lost.
Sheriff's deputies were able to find the third victim, who was dead, and they embarked on a multi-agency search for the lost juvenile. They were also working to locate the shooter or shooters.
Family friends confirmed the fatal shooting victim was Dr. Ari Gershman and the lost juvenile was his middle son Jack -- whom they said was ultimately rescued from the Tahoe National Forest after surviving in the wilderness for more than 30 hours. They said the father and son were spending the day off-roading in Dr. Gershman's new four-wheel drive Jeep.
Deputies said that soon after locating the boy, law enforcement officers encountered the shooting suspect driving a side-by-side off-highway vehicle. The male suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, fled southbound on Saddleback Road toward Downieville when officers tried to stop him. He was later stopped and arrested on Saddleback Road about one mile north of Highway 49.
Sheriff's officials have not confirmed a motive in the case, but the Gershman family friends described the incident as random gunfire.
Gershman is survived by his wife Paige, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, and their children Evan, Jack and Maci. The GoFundMe page had raised nearly $125,000 to support the Gershman family as of 8:30 p.m. Monday.
Anyone with information about the case can contact sheriff's officials in Sierra County at 530-289-3700.