PORT ANGELES — After using a stun grenade to disorient him, police apprehended an armed man in a west Port Angeles neighborhood following a two-hour standoff Monday evening.
City resident Gary L. Blanton, 51, was arrested and booked into the Clallam County jail on a charge of reckless endangerment, according to Port Angeles Police Detective Sgt. Tyler Peninger.
Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting shots fired in the area of West 13th and South I streets at about 4:52 p.m. Monday.
They found Blanton holding a rifle and standing in his backyard in the 1200 block of South I Street, Peninger said.
Witnesses told officers that they had heard Blanton make statements claiming there were bodies inside his residence and in a vehicle.
“When [the call] came in, it sounded like we had a triple homicide,” Peninger said.
Police barricaded the area between Eighth and I and 16th and I streets, and tried to negotiate with Blanton to turn over his weapon.
“Officers were within voice range and talking to him,” Peninger said.
Peninger said Blanton refused to engage with the negotiator, and simply laid down during most of the two hours.
“He stayed in one area of his yard the whole time,” he said.
The containment area was later expanded by an additional block north and east.
Residents in the outermost area were allowed access to their homes, and curious residents gathered outside of police lines.
A helicopter was ordered into the area to help track Blanton in case he fled the scene.
Peninger said a search team entered Blanton’s residence to determine if there were wounded people in the residence, and did so without alerting the man to their presence.
The residence was found to be unoccupied, and officers found additional firearms in the home, he said.
Police found no bodies or injured persons in the home or in nearby cars or bushes.
One of the firearms had blood droplets on it, but officers were uncertain of the source of the blood, Peninger said.
Police negotiated with Blanton until shortly after 7 p.m., when police were able to take the man into custody after tossing the stun grenade at him. The nonlethal explosive device temporarily disorients a person. It produces a blinding flash of light and an intensely loud “bang.”
Blanton was taken to Olympic Medical Center for examination then booked into the Clallam County jail.
As of Monday night, the events leading up to the standoff remain unclear.
“I don’t know what his motives were,” Peninger said.
“There is no reason to believe there were any drugs or alcohol involved at this time.”
Personnel from six agencies assisted Port Angeles police during the incident.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office set up its mobile command unit at the scene, and other agencies involved included Elwha tribal police, U.S. Border Patrol, State Police, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Port Angeles Fire Department.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at [email protected]