Clallam aims to bring back man who allegedly shot at officers

James Sweet is shown in Clallam County Superior Court during a hearing this year on a variety of charges in connection with an alleged shootout with Port Angeles police and Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies on U.S. Highway 101 on May 28, 2016. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES — An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who allegedly shot at four law enforcement officers at a busy Port Angeles intersection in May 2016.

James Edward Sweet, 37, will be taken to the Clallam County jail after his current prison term expires Thursday, a Clallam County Superior Court Judge ruled Friday.

Judge Brian Coughenour issued the bench warrant at the request of Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin.

“This is to ensure that he does not hit the pavement,” Devlin told the judge in a 12-minute hearing Friday.

“He comes to Clallam County. He needs to be held here on the amount of bail.”

Sweet has a $1 million bail for crimes he allegedly committed in Port Angeles on May 26, 2016.

He allegedly fled after an attempted traffic stop in east Port Angeles and crashed a car into another vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Monroe Road.

Sweet shot at Officer Whitney Fairbanks from inside the vehicle and later shot at Fairbanks, Officer Dallas Maynard, Cpl. Kori Malone and Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Minks from the northwest corner of the busy intersection in broad daylight, according to the probable cause statement.

Sweet has been serving a prison sentence at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County for a 2014 conviction for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and heroin possession.

Devin said the state Department of Corrections twice disregarded a transport order to bring Sweet to Clallam County for hearings on the local charges.

Sweet participated in Friday’s hearing by phone.

“We have tried to contact DOC in order to ensure that he will be transported immediately here [Thursday], as he is on conditions of release on $1 million bail,” Devlin said.

“We have been told by three different people that they are just going to release Mr. Sweet. The problem I have with that is listening to Mr. Sweet’s prison calls, and I quote: ‘They would sure be an idiot if they did’ and ‘you aren’t going to take me alive.’

“Based upon that, the state is requesting a warrant for Mr. Sweet’s arrest for the $ 1 million bail,” Devlin said.

Sweet is charged locally with four counts of first-degree assault and single counts of attempt to elude, second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to manufacture or deliver heroin.

Most of the charges carry firearm and law enforcement special allegations that would lengthen Sweet’s prison sentence if he were to be convicted.

Sweet was wounded during the shootout and recovered from his injuries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].