Additional charges proposed against Port Angeles man accused of firing at police

James Sweet

James Sweet

PORT ANGELES — James Edward Sweet, the Port Angeles man charged with shooting at law enforcement officers in May 2016, is facing four new felony counts as he awaits an Aug. 28 trial.

Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin filed a motion for amended criminal information June 29.

The proposed new charges are second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to manufacture or deliver methamphetamine and heroin, all of which are Class B felonies.

Three of those charges contain firearm enhancements that, if proven, could lengthen Sweet’s prison term.

A Superior Court judge will determine whether there are sufficient facts in the original affidavit for probable cause to support the new charges at Sweet’s next court hearing July 28.

The 37-year-old has already pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree assault with firearm and law enforcement enhancements and one count of attempting to elude with endangerment.

In a Friday interview, Devlin said she filed new charges after a “further review of the case” as she prepares for the three-week trial.

Sweet is accused of fleeing from Port Angeles police officer Whitney Fairbanks after an attempted traffic stop in east Port Angeles on May 28, 2016.

After a brief pursuit, Sweet, a convicted felon, crashed a 1990 Toyota Camry into another vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Monroe Road.

He then fired at Fairbanks with a .38-caliber revolver and engaged in a gunfight with Fairbanks, Officer Dallas Maynard, Cpl. Kori Malone and Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Minks, State Patrol investigators said.

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

None of the officers or bystanders at the busy intersection were seriously injured.

The State Patrol found 35.74 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 3.07 grams of black tar heroin in numerous plastic baggies in the car that Sweet was driving, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

Also found were two .22-caliber revolvers, one of which was fully loaded.

Sweet was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a felony menacing conviction he had in Adams County, Colo., court papers said.

Sweet has been serving time in Washington state prison for a 2014 conviction for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and heroin possession.

He invoked his right to be brought to trial for the Port Angeles case in April.

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