Disappointing verdict for family of former Susanville man shot four times

Silas Matthew Hesselberg

A Shasta County jury convicted a Sacramento man of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a semi-automatic firearm last Wednesday, Feb. 15. That same jury found Silas Matthew Hesselberg, 22, not guilty of the attempted murder of Travis Barber, 35, a former Susanville resident who was shot four times, including once in the head, and his friend, a 41-year-old Black man who remains unidentified, who was shot once, during a violent April 18, 2021, encounter allegedly launched by a racial slur at Shasta Lake’s Salt Creek Inlet. Hesselberg faced as many 42 charges.

The jury agreed with a hate crime allegation regarding the unidentified Black man and an allegation Hesselberg engaged in violent conduct that indicates a serious danger to society, but it did not agree with the hate crime allegation regarding Barber.

Despite an order from the judge to continue deliberations on misdemeanor child endangerment charges because children, 6 and 13, were present during the assault, the jury deadlocked, and those charges eventually were dismissed.

“In sentencing I hope we can look forward to long sentening terms as this person is clearly a danger to society,” said Lorraine Schlorff, Barber’s mother. “The negative impact on my son, my son’s family and friends will be with them for life. There is no ‘getting over’ an incident like this in your life.”

Barber suffered a serious brain injury during the shooting after he intervened in a confrontation between Hesselberg and his unidentified friend. Two armed citizens who were nearby reportedly held Hesselberg at gunpoint until law enforcement officers arrived.

“My son was shot four times including a shot to his head,” Schlorff said. “We are so lucky he survived. His friend who is Afro-American was shot first, and my son intervened and was shot four times.

My son and his friends and family were fishing that day, when Silas Hesselberg came out of nowhere shot them up.  Silas is a total stranger to my son and his party.”

Hesselberg’s sentencing is set for April 6.