CHIMACUM — A Chimacum man was back in Superior Court on Thursday for his trial on eight counts of first-degree animal cruelty after he fled the courthouse Wednesday.
Denver L. Shoop, 73, was charged after bison on his property at state Highway 19 and Beaver Road were found to be starving, authorities said.
Buffalo were removed and taken to Center Valley Animal Rescue for care April 25. They were to be relocated to a refuge in Clark County once they were strong enough.
Shoop’s trial on animal cruelty charges began Monday before Judge Keith Harper. At about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Julie St. Marie, chief deputy prosecuting attorney and defense attorneys Jack Range and Lillian Powers of Jefferson Associated Counsel were having a discussion. The jury had been excused from the room.
Shoop stood up and said, “I’m going to the doctor,” said Trevor Hansen, chief civil deputy sheriff, and walked out of the room. The judge told him to stay but he continued out the door.
One deputy was in the courtroom — which Hansen said is routine for jury trials. She didn’t stop Shoop because he was not in custody and she had not yet been directed to intercede, Hansen said.
Hansen heard the commotion and went to courtroom. Judge Harper directed Hansen to intervene and issued an arrest warrant. Hansen and other courthouse deputies searched the building and grounds but could not locate him.
Port Townsend police officers were asked to assist in the search. Shoop was found across from Jefferson Healthcare hospital and was approached by officers.
He got back in his car and started yelling, “Just shoot me, just kill me,” then drove off, authorities said.
Sheriff Joe Nole arrived and — together with Port Townsend police officers — followed Shoop out of town.
Nole said Shoop was driving the speed limit but ran a red light and did not stop while being being pursued by two officers with lights and sirens on.
Jefferson County deputies, State Patrol and Port Townsend police all played a role in stopping Shoop.
“Shoop drove to the Chimacum Corner Stand and a deputy was blocking the road,” Nole said.
“He turned through the parking lot and sped through it. He was able to get around me and went across the road into the Chevron station.
“When he came back onto Highway 19, we bumped the rear of his car and the jolt spun him around. As he got out of his car he kept saying, ‘Kill me, kill me, just shoot me.’ ”
“I think he felt like he really had to go to the doctor,” Nole said.
Nole said Shoop was handcuffed and taken to Jefferson Healthcare where he was checked out and discharged a short time later. He was booked into Jefferson County Jail.
Shoop was back in court Thursday “and has a guy sitting behind him,” Nole said.
Shoop remains in the Jefferson County Jail on animal cruelty charges and with an added recommended charge of felony eluding a police vehicle. Bail of $25,000 has been set for animal cruelty charges.
No bail has been set on felony eluding.
His trial continues through the week.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]