Olympic National Park assault charge up in air

Man has been in treatment facility

SEATTLE — Monday is the federal indictment deadline for a Port Angeles man who fled Aug. 29 into Olympic National Park after allegedly warning of a revolution and beating his girlfriend’s head against a car seat while parked at the Deer Park campground.

Caleb Jesse Chapman was facing up to a year in jail if found guilty of violating a U.S. Code that prohibits domestic violence assault for striking, beating or wounding on federal property.

Instead, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Fricke granted an unopposed motion Dec. 1 by federal Public Defender John Carpenter to extend the deadline, for a second time, to April 4 while Chapman continues his stay at an in-patient treatment center.

That’s where Chapman has been since Nov. 29, the same day he was released from a federal detention center.

“He is expected to be at that treatment center for at least 30 days, and possibly longer,” Carpenter said in his Dec. 1 motion.

“It is in the best interests of all involved that Mr. Caleb be allowed to focus on that treatment.

“The government has provided pretrial discovery, which the defense is in the process of reviewing. The parties are in the midst of discussions, working to see if this case can be resolved without having to expend grand jury resources.”

Carpenter said he did not expect his investigation of Chapman’s prior record and circumstances surrounding his situation when he allegedly committed the offense to be completed by today.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristine Foerster did not object to Carpenter’s request.

Chapman allegedly attacked his partner at 6 a.m. Aug. 29 after he insisted she was going to die in a revolution, according to the complaint.

She said he threw a soup can at her, cutting her leg, then beat her head against a car seat after discovering she was dialing 9-1-1 before fleeing into the woods. She said he made suicidal comments.

The alleged confrontation was preceded by escalating erratic behavior on their way to the campground, the woman said.

It included Chapman allegedly setting a 1,000-square-foot fire off Hurricane Ridge Road and cutting down a tree that blocked access to the campground.

He allegedly disabled the park’s Blue Mountain Summit repeater site’s emergency radio communication system by removing power and antenna cables, according to court documents.

He fled the campground dressed in tactical gear and armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and multiple handguns “while yelling and screaming,” the woman said.

Hurricane Ridge Road and Deer Park campground, trailheads and road areas were closed to the public from the time the incident was reported until after Chapman was arrested — with help from the FBI — at 9:51 p.m. at the Blue Mountain Summit parking lot above the campground.

Chapman was parked in his Ford F-250 pickup truck when he allegedly shot twice at a surveillance drone that spotted him about 50 minutes earlier, firing a pump-action shotgun with a removed stock.

After he was apprehended, federal authorities seized four semi-automatic pistols, two semi-automatic rifles, a 20-gauge pump-action shotgun and 500 rounds of ammunition in the vicinity of his vehicle. In his truck were two chainsaws and boxes of ammunition.

They said they also found a loaded semi-automatic pistol, radio repeater components, a park radio frequency list, a radio microphone, food, water, knives, general survival equipment and Chapman’s and his girlfriend’s identification cards, in addition to a baggie of what was believed to be methamphetamine.

The pistol was reported as stolen in 2017, according to the Port Angeles Police Department.

“My name is not important,” Chapman said at the beginning of a 240-word letter he allegedly wrote that was contained in court files.

“I am trying to warn all Americans who believe in Freedom … Freedom from wars fought on our land,” it said.

He had delivered a note to a person that “discussed Chapman’s grievances with the White House, his difficulty purchasing ammunition, and his belief that an imminent revolution would be occurring within the next 30 days,” according to the complaint.

“This country has lost its way and needs to get the freedom [and] rights of free speech, shooting guns because our Ancestors fought for those rights! Those freedoms [and] many others SHOULD NOT BE GOTTEN THROUGH A REVOLUTION!!!,” the letter says.

It included a roughly drawn map designating “HQ,” “Park Ave.,” “Underground?”, “Dry Creek Bunkers,” and “Border Patrol.”

Chapman was 41 on Sept. 7 when Fricke ruled he was too much of a flight risk to be released while under electronic home monitoring to the custody of his mother, a Forks resident.

He is unemployed and has a history of domestic violence protection orders filed against him beginning in 2017, Fricke said in her detention order.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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