Arraignment reset for man charged in 7-hour standoff on Port Angeles waterfront

PORT ANGELES — The arraignment for a man accused after an April 3 seven-hour standoff with police, during which he allegedly threatened to blow up a building on Marine Drive, has been moved to this coming Friday.

The first arraignment date for Stephen C. Pearce, 31, last Friday was stricken, and the hearing was reset. The Neah Bay man remained in the Clallam County jail on Sunday with $50,000 bail.

He is charged with possession of incendiary devices, second-degree arson and second-degree burglary.

Six to seven explosive devices were found in the building from 930 to 938 W. Marine Drive, which housed three businesses, after his arrest, according to the probable cause statement written by Officer Elizabeth Hollis of the Port Angeles Police Department.

Marine Drive was closed, and an area that included the marina was evacuated for about seven hours beginning at about 7 a.m. April 3, according to Chief Brian Smith.

Pearce told Hollis by phone that he had bombs rigged inside the building and was prepared to detonate them.

“He also expressed an awareness that there was a gas tank under the building and believed detonation would destroy the building and marina, plus kill everyone in the area,” Smith said in a press release after Pearce’s arrest.

He told officers he was armed with a .45 caliber handgun and demanded drugs — methamphetamine and fentanyl — in exchange for the “bomb switch,” according to Hollis.

Eventually, State Patrol officers breached a garage door and Pearce was taken into custody, Hollis said.

The State Patrol bomb squad found six or seven explosive devices in a sweep of the building, Hollis said.

In addition to the State Patrol and the crisis negotiation team, officers from the Lower Elwha Police, Clallam and Jefferson sheriff’s offices and Sequim Police Department assisted, as well as Port of Port Angeles personnel. The Port Angeles Fire Department was staged nearby.

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