Case of disrupting Port Angeles homeless camp referred to Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

PORT ANGELES — The names of three Port Angeles men have been referred to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for possible weapons-related charges centered on the disruption of a homeless encampment in late July.

The men are accused by police of unlawfully carrying a weapon capable of bodily harm — also known as brandishing — and harassment, both misdemeanors, according to case reports referred Friday to Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols for charging decisions.

The encampment was off the 1600 block of East Front Street behind Fresh Wok restaurant next to the parking area, according to case reports.

The suspects are Shea Alan McDonald and Howard M. Reynolds, both 41, and David Lance Morse, 49. The men were not arrested.

The guns the three men are suspected of illegally carrying are handguns, Sgt. Jason Viada said Monday.

Michael D. Liffick, 27, an occupant of the encampment and his sister, Amy Jo Zimmerman, 49, told police Aug. 1 that three men approached their campsite at about 8 p.m. July 25 or July 26.

The private property is owned by Rayonier Inc., Viada said.

“Zimmerman said the men were very aggressive and threw all of their food around the camp site and were photographing her,” according to Officer Preston McFarlen’s report.

“Zimmerman stated that while they were photographing her, they were saying ‘it is your 15 minutes of fame, baby.’ ”

Zimmerman said none of the men drew firearms.

She said she wanted a place to stay even though she knew the property was posted no trespassing.

Liffick said when the men approached the camp, they were wearing camouflage clothing.

He said one was pointing his gun at him from about 20 feet away, according to McFarlen’s report.

Liffick said a second man kept his hand on the butt of a holstered revolver but did not pull the gun out.

The third man had his gun out but did not point it at him or Zimmerman, Liffick said.

The men yelled at them to “pack their [expletive] and get out of here” and threw their belongings around, Liffick said.

“Michael [Liffick] asked the men to show their badges and one of the men replied, ‘You don’t need to worry about that right now,’ ” according to McFarlen’s report.

Zimmerman left and took a photo of a truck the men were driving, according to the report.

Shea, who told police that he never took out his gun during the incident, told Zimmerman to “enjoy her photo shoot,” according to his statement to Officer Swift Sanchez.

Shea said “he heard something about people possibly having firearms at the camp, so when they went, he brought his firearm, which he has a concealed permit to carry,” according to Sanchez’s report.

“Shea told me me he didn’t know why they didn’t call the police, he was just curious about what was down there and wanted to see for himself.”

Morse, the owner of the truck Zimmerman photographed, told police he carries a 9mm handgun that he kept holstered during the incident at the campsite.

“Morse said he told the people they could not stay there,” McFarlen said.

Morse said he picks up about 200 pounds of garbage weekly and is saving the city money.

“If all you guys [the police department] are going to do is try and jamb me up for caring about this community, I will stop picking up trash and you can pay for someone else to do it,” Morse told McFarlen.

“I explained to him the best way you can help the community is to tell law enforcement what you know and let law enforcement handle it instead of getting a group of people together and trespassing on someone else’s property to tell others that they cannot be there,” McFarlen responded.

Morse posted photos of what he referred to as “Fresh Wok trash camp” on the “Our Town” Facebook page, according to screen shots of the post examined by Officer Preston McFarlen, according to his report.

“And the camp belongs to Amy Zimmerman and her [expletive] bunch,” Morse posted with the photo.

Asked by one commenter if he needed help “dealing with this,” Morse replied, “we will see how it goes if need be I’ll get hold of you.”

A message asking for comment that was left for Chelsea Ward, who has been affiliated with the “Our Town” Facebook page, was not returned Monday afternoon.

Sanchez was on patrol Oct. 21 when she saw Liffick walking near Second and Peabody streets and stopped to see how he was doing.

“Michael told me he had been staying away from the woods because he was afraid they would come back with guns again,” Sanchez said in her report.

Chief Brian Smith said his department’s investigation of the case took almost three months to complete because of the department’s workload.

Viada said there have been 285 reports of threats or harassment filed with the police department from July 1 through mid-day Monday.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].