James Sweet

James Sweet

Trial date moved for Port Angeles man charged with shooting at police

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man charged with shooting at law enforcement officers at a busy intersection 13 months ago has a new trial date.

James Edward Sweet’s trial was moved Friday from June 26 to Aug. 28.

His attorney, Alex Stalker of Clallam Public Defender, said he was not prepared to go to trial this month.

“I still have not had a chance to go over the case with Mr. Sweet really at all,” Stalker told Clallam County Superior Court Judge Christopher Melly.

“We have a lot to talk about.”

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steven Johnson did not object to the continuance.

Sweet, 37, is charged in Clallam County Superior Court with four counts of first-degree assault with a firearm and law enforcement enhancements and one count of attempting to elude with endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty.

He has been serving time at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County for a 2014 conviction for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and heroin possession.

He recently invoked his right to be brought to trial for the Port Angeles case and was transferred to the Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Sweet allegedly fled from a traffic stop in east Port Angeles on May 28, 2016, and crashed a car into another vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Monroe Road.

He allegedly shot at Port Angeles Police Officer Whitney Fairbanks from inside the car and later shot at Fairbanks, Officer Dallas Maynard, Cpl. Kori Malone and Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Minks from the northwest corner of the intersection.

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

None of the officers or bystanders was hurt.

While recovering in the Seattle hospital, Sweet told a State Patrol investigator that he fired his revolver twice while still inside his vehicle and twice more while lying in the grass on the northeast corner of the intersection.

“While lying on the grass Sweet stated in the interview, ‘I just wanted them to end it and kill me,’ ” State Patrol Detective Rodney Green wrote in the probable-cause affidavit.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.