Crime - Sacto 911

PG&E employee shot at ahead of utility’s massive Northern California power shutoff

Ahead of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s unprecedented decision to cut power to at least 500,000 customers and possibly more, one of its workers was shot at while driving on Interstate 5 in Colusa County on Tuesday evening.

In a press release, the California Highway Patrol said the PG&E employee was in a marked PG&E pickup truck driving southbound on the highway south of Lenahan Road a bit before 8 p.m., when the passenger side window shattered.

Responding CHP officers determined that a bullet had struck the vehicle, but the employee was uninjured.

Another vehicle was driving near the pickup truck at the time of the shooting, but CHP said investigators have little information to work with.

As many as 2 million people could be plunged into darkness before the end of Wednesday in a move PG&E said was necessary to prevent deadly wildfires in Northern California amid windy conditions. The utility was responsible for last year’s deadly Camp Fire after its power lines sparked the state’s worst wildfire which killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of homes in Butte County.

“The safety of our customers and employees is PG&E’s primary responsibility. We know that turning off the power for safety is not popular with some, but it is needed for public safety,” PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo said in a statement emailed to The Sacramento Bee. “Our employees are working hard to ensure that our system operates safely and that power will be restored quickly after the weather passes. We remind our customers that our employees are your neighbors and they are out in our service area doing their jobs.”

A KTVU reporter in San Francisco posted video to Twitter of PG&E employees putting up barricades in front of the company’s headquarters building, restricting public access.

Merlo could not confirm what, if any, additional security measures were in place at PG&E’s headquarters, but she said it “comes down to employee safety.”

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.