A car theft suspect gave up after nearly 12 hours and a foot chase near Heart Lake during which the suspect climbed about 80 feet up a tree and refused to come down.
On Friday just after 12:30 in the afternoon an Anacortes Officer checked the gravel parking access of Heart Lake and the officer noted a red, Toyota Corolla with a man standing in front of it and ran a routine registration check on the vehicle’s license plate. He learned that the license plate had been reported stolen.
Officers later learned that the plates on the vehicle had been reported stolen in Anacortes, but that was after the vehicle had been stolen from a residence in Bellingham.
The officer stepped out of his patrol car and approached the man and asked him if it was his vehicle. He stated that it was, but then gave several evasive answers before suddenly fleeing.
The Officer gave chase and grabbed on to the suspect and they tumbled to the ground. The suspect began yelling, “You are going to have to kill me” and grabbed on to the Officer’s holstered gun. The suspect continued to resist the Officer’s effort to arrest him, even after the Officer utilized his TASER, which seemed to have little to no effect.
Suddenly, the suspect pulled a large utility knife from his pocket and extended the blade. Realizing that the suspect intended to stab him with the knife, the Officer drew his handgun and ordered him to drop the weapon; instead the suspect turned and fled in to the nearby hiking trails around Heart Lake.
Officers from several different agencies responded to the area and a search was initiated with two Police K-9s.
After almost two hours, the suspect was found in a wooded field on 37th Street, about a mile-and-a-half from where the assault on the Officer took place.
Upon realizing that he had been caught, the suspect climbed in to a tall tree until he was approximately 80 feet off of the ground. He refused to come down and a team of negotiators came to the scene and began speaking with him, at one point utilizing a boom lift so that they could get closer to the suspect and speak with him more directly.
After more than seven hours of negotiation the suspect, a 27-year-old man from Indiana who has recently lived in Whatcom County, was finally convinced to give up and climb down out of the tree.
He was taken in to custody and booked in to the Skagit County Jail on charges of Attempted Assault in the First Degree as well as Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle.
The Anacortes Officer received minor injuries, but was fortunately otherwise uninjured.
The Anacortes Police Department wishes to thank the Officers from many local agencies that responded to assist with the search for, and safe apprehension of, this suspect. Officers and deputies from Whatcom County, Skagit County, The Swinomish Tribal Police Department, Burlington Police Department and the Mount Vernon Police Department all responded to Anacortes. In addition Anacortes PD appreciates the help from the Anacortes Parks Department, Fire Department and Street Department, as well as the Office of the Anacortes Public Defender’s Office for their assistance.