Port Angeles police arrest a man at the corner of First and Albert streets in Port Angeles on Tuesday after he allegedly created a disturbance and brandished a handgun replica at passers-by. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles police arrest a man at the corner of First and Albert streets in Port Angeles on Tuesday after he allegedly created a disturbance and brandished a handgun replica at passers-by. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Man subdued with ‘sponge round’ after standoff

Street blocked, crisis negotiator called in

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been corrected in regard to “sponge rounds,” and has deleted reference to “beanbag round,” which Police Chief Brian Smith said Thursday the department does not use. Also Deputy Chief Jason Viada’s title has been corrected.

PORT ANGELES — No court date had been set as of Wednesday for a Port Angeles man who was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a standoff at First and Albert streets.

The disturbance involved a firearm, a crisis negotiator being called in and traffic being blocked at First and Vine streets, Port Angeles police said.

Nicholas J. Johnson, 43, of Port Angeles, was treated at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, said Deputy Police Chief Jason Viada, before he was booked into the Clallam County jail at 5 p.m. Tuesday for investigation of obstructing a law enforcement officer and third-degree assault. He remained in jail on $5,000 bail on Wednesday.

Port Angeles police officers investigated numerous reports of a man “yelling, agitated and waving a firearm around” in the area of a gas station on First Street, according to a police department press release.

They arrived to find a man near the corner of First and Albert streets and blocked traffic at First and Vine streets based upon the reports of a firearm. Police said the man was identified as being a convicted felon who would be unable to possess a firearm.

Clallam County deputies assisted with traffic control, and Port Angeles firefighters and Olympic Ambulance personnel were put on alert.

While a crisis negotiator engaged Johnson, he displayed what appeared to be a functioning handgun, police said.

An officer with a tactical shield and a 40 mm loaded with a “sponge round” subdued him and a “realistic looking replica of a handgun” was found, according to the press release.

The case has been referred to the Clallam County prosecuting attorney for consideration of charges.

Viada said the 40 mm “sponge round” used in the incident had been relegated to the police department after initially being outlawed as part of a series of police reforms passed by the state Legislature that included restricting military equipment.

After the Legislature clarified that the sponge rounds did not qualify as military equipment, the department was able to redeploy them, he said.

“We all are very grateful that we were able to redeploy sponge rounds yesterday and prevent the use of deadly force,” Viada said Wednesday.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]

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