Hoquiam transient arrested in assault on public works employee

A 51-year-old transient was arrested by Hoquiam Police Department officers on June 21 after he assaulted a city public works employee.

According to Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers, “On June 21, 2021 at 9:25 a.m., a Hoquiam public works employee was reportedly assaulted at the Levee Street Boat Launch by a 51-year old transient with a history of mental illness and serious criminal incidents.”

Myers said the public works employee arrived in a marked city service truck to dump the garbage cans at the boat launch as part of his regular city parks duties. After dumping the garbage can, he noticed some additional garbage scattered around a picnic table.

As the employee was picking up the garbage, he was confronted by the suspect who claimed the garbage belonged to him, said Myers. The employee backed away and started for the service truck when the suspect started brandishing and threatening the employee with a crowbar.

“As the public works employee attempted to drive away, the suspect threw the crowbar through the passenger side window, causing it to shatter,” said Myers. “The employee was peppered with shattered glass, but was not otherwise injured.”

The city employee provided a description of the suspect, who was spotted a short distance away, blocking the roadway and stopping traffic at the base of the Simpson Avenue Bridge.

“Officer (James) Gaddis saw the suspect pacing back and forth in the roadway in front of a truck as he smiled at the driver,” said Myers.

As other officers attempted to respond to assist, they were delayed by the traffic backup. An officer was able to capture the suspect, and he was then arrested and taken to city jail.

“The suspect indicated he had thrown the crowbar because the city was harassing him,” said Myers.

On Tuesday, the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor accepted the case for felony charges and the misdemeanor city charges were dismissed. The suspect was then transferred and booked in county jail.

“Although the suspect has been through the criminal justice and mental health system numerous times over the years in Grays Harbor, it is hoped with these felony charges there will be some sort of intervention and treatment for his escalating behavior and ongoing threat to public safety,” said Myers.