Emergency calls made stating man was throwing machetes at trees

Alleged suspect, 47-year-old John Gordon Byrns, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in Fern Valley on obstruction of a public officer and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Law enforcement vehicles swooped into Fern Valley Thursday afternoon for calls related to a man throwing machetes at trees in the Strawberry Creek area behind the Idyllwild Dental building. The alleged suspect, John Gordon Byrns, 47 of Idyllwild, was taken into custody at 1:23 p.m. on obstruction of a public officer and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Initially, a Riverside County Sheriff deputy and a California Highway Patrol officer responded to the scene sometime after noon on Thursday. The two officers went down in the Strawberry Creek area between Idyllwild Dental and the Funky Bazaar with guns drawn and told residents and businesses in the immediate area to keep the doors locked and stay inside.
Once the two law enforcement officers arrived on scene, they were in pursuit of Byrns with guns drawn.
Not long after, a forest service officer responded to assist. At 12:40 p.m. two additional officers with a K-9 officer responded. The officers from the three agencies met up in the area for about 10 minutes talking before pursuing Byrns. In that period of time, one of the officers came back to his vehicle to get a bean bag shotgun. Several minutes after he returned to the group of law enforcement officers, they went out in search of Byrns.
Byrns was arrested at 1:23 p.m. and booked at the Southwest Detention Center at 3:41 p.m. Bail is set at $5,000. His court hearing is at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 4 at Murrieta Southwest Justice Center.

Byrns being led by a Riverside County Sheriff deputy. Photo by Jenny Kirchner