On Jan. 4, 2014 at approximately 2202 hours, I Officer J. Locke discovered a white Toyota parked in the Miners Memorial park facing south near the picnic tables. I pulled behind the vehicle and turned my spotlight facing it toward the back of the vehicle while notifying dispatch that I would be making contact.
As I approached the vehicle on foot, I realized that there was someone inside sleeping in a green sleeping bag. I also noticed that along the left side of the person was a silver handgun in a brown holster. I knocked on the back of the window and announced “Mammoth Police Department.” The person awoke quickly while his hands began to move around in a erratic fashion. At that moment, I was unsure of his intentions and ordered him to keep his hands where I could see them, which he did. I told him I was aware of the gun and to please keep his hands away from it. I asked him if he was okay and he said he was.
I asked him to please step out of the vehicle so that I could talk to him. He exited the vehicle through the rear driver’s door and handed me his license and concealed weapons permit. I then identified him as Clayton Emmet Van Deren. His license was run and returned with negative warrants.
Mr. Van Deren stated that he came from Snowflake and was going to meet with some of his family tomorrow morning just south of Mammoth. I advised him politely that unfortunately I could not allow him to sleep in the park after hours and that there is a much better suited area at the San Manuel Junction approximately five to six miles south on Highway 77. I suggested that this may be a better place to sleep in his car for the night. He stated that was the area he already had plans to meet them at and wouldn’t mind moving his vehicle to the Junction. Mr. Van Deren was very polite and cooperative throughout my contact with him.
I gave him back his license and CCW permit. I observed Mr. Van Deren as he drove out of the park heading south at approximately 2211 hours.
/s/ Officer J. Locke