Sierra County DA charges suspect in Danville doctor’s fatal shooting

The Sierra County District Attorney’s Office has charged a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Danville doctor with multiple felony counts, including murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, authorities said Monday.

In a statement, District Attorney Sandra Groven filed a complaint in the county’s superior court charging Oroville man John Thomas Conway, 40, with those counts, as well as burglary, robbery, unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, including special allegations of murder from a motor vehicle and intentional discharge of a firearm with injury.

“The investigation is ongoing and involves multiple crime scenes and multiple victims,” Groven said.

Ari and Paige Gershman of Danville, with their children. Ari was shot and killed by a gunman while off-roading in Tahoe National Forest with his 5-year-old son. (Photo courtesy Gershman Family) 

Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement agencies arrested Conway on July 4, a day after one of several shooting incidents in the county’s Poker Flat area of northwestern Sierra County killed Danville doctor Ari Gershman and forced his teenage son to flee into the woods for more than a day.

Authorities soon found that Conway had been sought in connection with crimes in Butte County, where he was on an August 2019 most-wanted list for a felony warrant charging him with vandalism, battery and two counts of making terrorist threats.

A GoFundMe fund-raising campaign posted earlier this month said Gershman, 45, had been driving a brand-new four-wheel-drive Jeep “in an area he had hoped to retire in one day.”

That campaign is raising funds to assist Gershman’s wife Paige, a former speech and language therapist for special-education preschool classes at Danville’s Greenbrook Elementary School who is now undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer, and to support the couple’s three children, who attend Sycamore elementary and San Ramon Valley high schools.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the campaign, posted at, had raised over $565,000 from nearly 6,200 donors toward a $650,000 goal.

According to a social-media post last week, community members in Sierra County and in Danville were working together since last week to create a virtual lawn luminary, replete with notes of support, condolence and mourning, to post online Monday evening.

Staff writer Jon Kawamoto contributed to this report. Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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Author: George Kelly