Standoff with knife-wielding suspect blocks traffic for hours on State Route 105

State Route 105 was blocked in both directions for seven hours on Tuesday evening, as law enforcement personnel negotiated the surrender of a man armed with several knives who had allegedly threatened a woman at Twin Harbors State Park.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to State Route 105 near Twin Harbors State Park at 5:40 p.m. by a motorist, who reported an aggressive driver.

“The reporting party advised dispatch that a male suspect had been closely following her in her vehicle as she traveled on SR 105 and he tried to run her off the road several times,” said Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Kevin Schrader. “The reporting party pulled over to let the aggressive driver pass and that is when the suspect pulled in front of the reporting party, exited his vehicle, and began to approach her.”

The driver left the area and drove to her campsite in the park, but the suspect followed her, got out of his vehicle and approached her, armed with two knives. Eventually he left, and was found in the area by arriving deputies.

The first deputy approached the suspect, who was seated in his vehicle, and saw several knives on the suspect’s lap, said Schrader. The suspect refused commands to exit the vehicle.

“The suspect, a 29-year-old Westport resident, was known to the deputy who was aware the suspect suffered from possible mental health issues,” said Schrader.

Several other deputies from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, Westport Police Department officers, park rangers, a negotiator from the Aberdeen Police Department, and county designated mental health professionals arrived on scene to assist.

“Officers and mental health professionals all began negotiating with the suspect who was parked along SR 105 causing traffic to be shut down for several hours,” said Schrader. “Deputies were able to place spike strips in front and in back of the suspect vehicle in case the suspect tried to flee.”

After six hours of failed negotiations, the multi-agency Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Unit (CRU) was called to the scene. Several members of the CRU arrived with the CRU’s MRAP, its Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicle, which allows officers to safely approach armed suspects.

“On the seventh hour of negotiations, the suspect peacefully surrendered to law enforcement and was taken into custody without incident,” said Schrader.

The suspect was booked in to the Grays Harbor County Jail for second-degree assault, and will be evaluated by mental health professionals.