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San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
TORI VERBER SALAZAR
District Attorney

Scott A. Fichtner
Assistant District Attorney

Kristine M. Reed
Assistant District Attorney

David J. Derksen
Chief Investigator

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

222 E. Weber Ave., Room 202, Stockton, CA
P. O. Box 990, Stockton, CA 95201

T (209) 468-2400 | F (209) 465-0371

News from the Office of District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar

For Immediate Release


January 15, 2021

CONTACT: Elisa Bubak, Public Information Officer
T (209) 468-2400  | E pr.info@sjcda.org

Defendants Arraigned in Stockton Bombing

Stockton - District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that defendants James Towles and Russel Altheide were arraigned January 14, 2021, on numerous felony charges including Possession of an Explosive Device, Possession of Substances with the Intent to Manufacture an Explosive Device, Intent to Ignite an Explosive Device for Harm, and more. 

According to authorities, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office initiated a traffic stop on defendant James Towles on Sunday, January 9, 2021, in connection with a Stockton church bombing. The defendant led deputies on a chase and ultimately crashed the vehicle. While deputies were searching Towles' car, they found what appeared to be an explosive device. The bomb squad was called to disarm the device. Russel Altheide was also a suspect in the church bombing and both were taken into custody. 

On January 10, 2021, authorities searched a home allegedly connected to the defendants and substances connected to manufacturing explosive devices were found, as well as multiple illegal firearms. 

Defendants James Towles and Russel Altheide face 10 separate counts. The full complaint can be found below. The defendants were arraigned before the Honorable Judge Guiliani and will return to court on January 19, 2021. Bail has been set at $1 million each.  

If the public has any information regarding this case, the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office urges them to contact the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office at 209-468-4400. 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL COMPLAINT HERE