Port Angeles man arrested after seven-hour standoff

Domestic disturbance report sparks effort

Law enforcement agencies respond Tuesday afternoon to a standoff at Lopez Avenue and Vine Street in Port Angeles. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Law enforcement agencies respond Tuesday afternoon to a standoff at Lopez Avenue and Vine Street in Port Angeles. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man remained in the Clallam County jail on Wednesday after a nearly seven-hour standoff with law enforcement officers Tuesday night.

Tyson C. Welt, 37, was taken into custody at 7:55 p.m. Tuesday after he had barricaded himself in a house in the 2300 block of South Vine Street, according to Port Angeles police.

Law enforcement had been at the house since 1 p.m. Tuesday and had lobbed chemical munitions containing oleoresin capsicum, which is the same chemical as in pepper spray, into the place several times in an attempt to get him out, according to Chief Brian Smith and Deputy Chief Jason Viada.

Once taken into custody, Welt was escorted to Olympic Medical Center for a medical evaluation before he was booked at 11:36 p.m. for investigation of obstructing a law enforcement officer and fourth-degree assault domestic violence.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no bail had been set.

“The officers who were involved in this worked very hard all day to take this person safely into custody and to avoid an officer-involved shooting, and they were successful,” Viada said Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, officers continued the evidence search portion of the investigation and met with the prosecuting attorney’s office “to work toward the right balance of accountability and behavioral health services for the suspect,” Viada said in an email.

It all started with a report of a domestic disturbance at about 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“During the investigation the officers learned that the suspect attacked the victim and struck her several times with a long metal rod,” Viada said in an email on Wednesday.

The officers confirmed the that victim was safely out of the residence.

“State law requires officers to make a custodial arrest of a domestic assault suspect in circumstances such as these,” Viada said.

“In addition the investigating officers received information indicating that the suspect was suffering from behavioral health issues, and that there was a shotgun in the residence,” he added.

At about 6:30 p.m., seven officers and a police dog entered the residence, with the humans wearing gas masks, and they cleared the house room by room for nearly an hour and a half, Viada said.

They were Port Angeles Officers Whitney Fairbanks with K-9 Copper and Kyle Cooper, along with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office personnel — Detectives Derek Allen and Alan Jorgensen, Deputy Chad Wheeler and Sgt. Shane Stevenson — and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Hector Eagan.

“At one time, the suspect had gone upstairs and barricaded the stairway,” Viada said. “The officers could see him and talk with him with that barricade between them. They kept working through their tactics carefully.

“It’s hard to express how difficult it was for those officers to operate inside that environment,” Viada said Tuesday night.

Officers used a variety of tactics and equipment in an effort to safely arrest Welt, who reportedly was armed with a collection of edged and blunt weapons.

“At one point it seemed to some that the suspect was trying to provoke a ‘suicide by cop’ incident,” Viada said. “But the officers continued to work the tactical scenario with dogged determination, and just before 8 p.m. the suspect was safely in custody.”

Port Angeles police were assisted by the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which brought in an armored vehicle that allowed officers to get closer to the house and have cover, police said.

“It also provides portable cover to protect whatever is across the street,” Viada added, saying that the residential area was “a pretty tight neighborhood.”

During the incident, some streets were closed and there was a head-on traffic collision near a traffic revision, Viada said.

“PAPD appreciates the patience of the neighbors and motorists affected by the incident,” he said in an email.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporter Ken Park contributed to this story.

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