Alleged gunman in shootout with law enforcement returns to Clallam County

James Sweet

PORT ANGELES — James Edward Sweet is back in the Clallam County jail on charges stemming from an alleged shootout with law enforcement officers 17 months ago.

Sweet, 37, is charged in Clallam County Superior Court with four counts of first-degree assault and other crimes for allegedly fleeing from a routine traffic stop, rear-ending a car and firing at four officers at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Monroe Road on May 28, 2016.

Sweet was taken to the county jail after finishing a prison sentence at the Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday.

He is being held in Clallam County on $1 million bail.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson filed amended criminal information in Sweet’s case Friday.

“This is just for a scrivener’s error with a date,” Johnson told visiting Superior Court Judge Keith Harper.

Sweet is charged with four counts of first-degree assault and single counts of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to manufacture or deliver heroin and methamphetamine.

The charges carry firearm and law enforcement special allegations that would lengthen Sweet’s prison term if he were to be convicted.

Sweet pleaded not guilty to the amended charges Friday.

A three-week trial is scheduled to begin March 19.

Harper on Friday quashed a bench warrant that Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin had secured to ensure that Sweet would be transported to Port Angeles after serving time on a 2014 conviction for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and heroin possession.

Defense attorney Alex Stalker of Clallam Public Defender said he needed to speak with his client about a possible plea agreement. Harper scheduled a status hearing for Nov. 17.

After crashing into a vehicle that was stopped at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Monroe Road, Sweet allegedly shot at Port Angeles Police officers Whitney Fairbanks and Dallas Maynard, Police Cpl. Kori Malone and Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Minks with a .38-caliber revolver.

None of the officers or bystanders were seriously hurt in the shootout.

Sweet was treated for gunshot wounds at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

State Patrol detectives found 35.74 grams of suspected methamphetamine and 13.07 grams of suspected heroin in the 1990 Toyota Camry that Sweet was driving on the day of the alleged crimes, according to the arrest narrative.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.