Sheriff's standoff with suicidal man ends safely for all

TONASKET – No one was injured during a standoff with a suicidal subject south of Tonasket on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Sheriff Frank Rogers said a call came in at around 2:15 p.m. advising the Sheriff’s Office of a suicidal subject near Ellisforde sitting in his vehicle with a handgun.

“He was first contacted by the Washington State Patrol and Tonasket Police Department,” Rogers said. “The subject left the scene and failed to stop for the patrol vehicles. A spike strip was used by the Tonasket P.D. and it flattened one of the tires on the vehicle, which eventually stopped on Highway 97 just south of Tonasket.”

Over the next two to two and a half hours, traffic was rerouted from U.S. 97 to County Highway 7 while Okanogan County Deputies and Sergeant Eric Mudgett spoke with the subject. Rogers said that during the conversation, the subject put his handgun, a loaded .22 caliber pistol, to his head several times but did not fire it.

“At around 4:30 p.m. the subject asked for a drink,” Rogers stated. “Sgt. Mudgett brought him a drink and when he got close enough to him, he was able to grab him by the hand and pulled him from the vehicle. Sergeant Kevin Arnold, who was with Sgt. Mudgett, assisted in taking the subject to the ground where he was secured.”

Rogers said the subject, a 24-year-old male from Tonasket, was then transported to North Valley Hospital. He said he does not know what condition the subject is in now, or if he was transported to a different hospital after reaching NVH. Highway 97 was re-opened up at around 4:40 p.m.

“I want to commend everyone involved and especially dispatch who were able to coordinate everything and keep communications going between everyone and the subject involved,” Rogers said. “I also credit Sgt. Mudgett and Sgt. Arnold for putting themselves in harm’s way dealing with an armed individual. Their actions ensured a safe outcome for all parties involved.”

Rogers said the man is considered a victim and his name is therefore not being released. He added that he is not being charged with any crime and that there was no clear reason of what led him to these actions.