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March 28, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Hoquiam standoff ends in fatal shootout

Update at 1:45 p.m.:

HOQUIAM  (AP) — A 20-hour standoff between police in a Washington coastal town and a man who wounded an officer ended Thursday after the suspect died in a gunbattle with a SWAT team as his house went up in flames.

The armed man had a gasmask and a ballistic helmet, indicating he had prepared for a confrontation, Hoquiam Sgt. Brian Dayton said.

The question is why.

“We have no idea what made the guy take it to such an extreme level,” Dayton said. “No reason as to why it escalated.”

The 49-year-old man and his 53-year-old wife, whose names were not released, were wanted on arrest warrants out of Sacramento, Calif., for fraud, Dayton said.

The wife owned the home, and the couple had lived in Hoquiam since 2004. The man wasn’t suspected of any crimes locally, Dayton said.

Officers went to the home Tuesday and arrested the woman on a warrant. She remains in the Grays Harbor County Jail.

The man gave a false identification, but officers figured it out and returned Wednesday morning to arrest him.

“He engaged in a firefight with the officers on the scene, striking one of our officers,” Dayton said.

Sgt. Jeff Salstrom was hit in the hip, but the bullet was slowed by his duty belt, Dayton said. Salstrom was treated at a hospital for a minor wound and released.

The standoff began after Salstrom and another officer returned fire and the suspect retreated back into the two-story house, where he holed up on the top floor.

The man yelled back and forth with officers who remained on the first floor, Dayton said. He said he was wounded.

Communications broke off in the early evening after he damaged a police robot that was sent into the house.

“The situation became unsafe, and they backed out and started using a public address system,” Dayton said.

The man was seen overnight in a gasmask and helmet.

“It appeared to us he was prepared to have this standoff,” Dayton said.

Throughout the night, police fired tear gas into the house and used some loud distraction devices.

Around 6 a.m., flames were reported at the back of the house and the man came out the front.

“He was confronted by the tactical team,” Dayton said. “He failed to obey commands — show me your hands, put the gun down. Some more gunfire was exchanged, and the suspect went down.”

He died at the scene.

Firefighters entered the house as soon as it was safe, but flames burned through the roof. Video on KOMO-TV showed the home fully engulfed. It’s unknown how the fire started.

More than 100 officers from surrounding agencies helped Hoquiam police through the standoff. Neighbors were evacuated. Nearby streets including the main coastal route, Highway 101, were shut down for a time.  

HOQUIAM (AP) — A two-day police standoff at a home in the Washington coastal town of Hoquiam ended just before dawn Thursday when a man who had holed up there after allegedly wounding an officer got into a shootout with authorities and the house erupted in flames.

The man came out of the house at about 6 a.m. and went down in an exchange of gunfire with officers, Hoquiam Police Sgt. Brian Dayton told KOMO. Moments later the house was on fire.

There has been no word on the condition of the suspect or the cause of the blaze, which destroyed the home.

Video showed the house engulfed in flames as firefighters arrived, and authorities pulling back a robot that had been used in the standoff.

KBKW and KXRO reported police first went to the home Tuesday and arrested a 53-year-old woman. Four officers returned Wednesday morning to arrest the 49-year-old man on a warrant from Sacramento for felony fraud.

The man shot one officer in the side, wounding him. Other officers returned fire, and the suspect barricaded himself on the upper floor of the home.

Police then surrounded the home and tried to talk the man into surrendering. They also fired tear gas into the house and apparently used flash-bang noise makers to keep him awake through the night.

Officers believe the man had a gas mask. They said he disabled two police robots sent into the house.

“Some distraction devices were put in to get the suspect moving around, and shortly thereafter flames were seen in the house,” Dayton said.

Throughout the day and night loud speakers were used to tell the man to come out with his hands up.

The officer who was shot was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital, said Steve Shumate, Grays Harbor County sheriff’s chief criminal deputy.

Authorities who responded to the standoff included a police team made up of officers from throughout the area and the Washington State Patrol. They evacuated neighbors and closed streets to keep people out of the range of possible gunfire.

Update at 7:35 a.m.: 

HOQUIAM  (AP) — A two-day standoff between police and a man in the Washington coastal town of Hoquiam has ended in a shootout and fire.

Hoquiam Police Sgt. Brian Dayton tells KOMO the man holed up in a house after allegedly shooting and injuring a police officer.

He came out at about 6 a.m. Thursday and went down in an exchange of gunfire with police. Moments later the home erupted in flames.

There’s no word on the condition of the suspect or what caused the fire.

Video shows the home engulfed in fire, with flames going through the roof. Video also shows police pulling back a robot that had been used in the standoff.

It began about 11 a.m. Wednesday when an officer was wounded attempting to arrest the man on a warrant. The officer suffered a grazing wound and was treated at a hospital and released.

Update at 6:50 a.m.:

HOQUIAM (AP) — Fire has engulfed a house in Hoquiam where a standoff has been under way since Wednesday with a man suspected of shooting a police officer.

Video from KOMO and KIRO TV shows this house fully involved in flames before dawn Thursday as firefighters arrived.

Video also showed police withdrawing a robot that had been used in the standoff.

There’s no immediate word on the man who was holed up on the second floor of the home.

Police say he shot an officer who attempted to arrest him Wednesday on an outstanding warrant. The officer was grazed and has been treated and released.

Original post:

HOQUIAM (AP) — A standoff in Hoquiam continues into a second day as a SWAT team surrounds a house holding a man suspected of shooting a police officer who attempted to arrest him.

Officers say the man has disabled two police robots that were sent into the house. They believe he has a gas mask that has enabled him to withstand tear gas.

The standoff began about 11 a.m. Wednesday when officers attempted to arrest the 49-year-old on an outstanding warrant. The day before they had arrested a 53-year-old woman at the home.

After the officer was wounded, other officers returned fire and the man retreated into the second floor of the house.

The wounded officer was treated for a minor wound.

Neighbors have been evacuated during the standoff.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Hoquiam, standoff


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