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Investigators Close Case After Finding No Evidence Of Hate Crime

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has completed an extensive investigation into what some people believed was a brutal racist assault of a black man in Cottonwood on the Fourth of July. Investigators have determined otherwise. What was never disputed is that 24-year-old Gregory Kelso suffered tragic injuries to his head and neck that put him in critical condition in Mercy Hospital, and he was therefore unable at first to say what actually happened. When he could communicate, his family said he was a victim of a hate crime and referred detectives to a lawyer. The story as gathered by investigators after interviewing 27 different witnesses is that Kelso had been drinking throughout the day, and he was captured on video saying he had used “Molly”, a slang term for MDMA, or “Ecstasy”. Some friends picked him up and took him to a party on Linda Lane in Cottonwood, where he apparently kept drinking. Eventually, he reportedly drank too much and was vomiting, knocking things over and being disruptive, so his friends escorted him outside. Kelso tried to get back in the house several times as his friends, Casey Matthews and Christopher Schargus, tried to restrain him. During the struggle, Kelso and one of the others fell forward onto the ground, but Kelso’s arms were being held and he couldn’t break his fall. He apparently landed head first and suffered traumatic injuries. This wasn’t known at first as his friends thought he was just laying down because he was drunk. After 20 or 30 minutes someone realized he was hurt and called for medical help. The witnesses all said there were never any racial slurs heard, there was no fight, and there was no indication that Kelso’s injuries had anything at all to do with race. The sheriff’s office has closed the case.