The 47-year-old owner of the Washougal home set ablaze Wednesday morning during a gunfire-filled standoff with police is apparently a self-proclaimed white separatist arrested in Northern Idaho in the mid-1990s, court documents and archived news reports reveal. He was known to be violent and heavily armed.
Steven Douglas Stanbary was sentenced to three months in jail for simple assault in Bonner County, Idaho, after authorities found numerous weapons in his home. He had threatened to kill his ex-wife, his children and himself, according to 1995 Associated Press reports.
“He had enough ammunition for World War III,” then-Bonner County Sheriff Chip Roos said at the time. Stanbary’s ex-wife told police he admired anti-government cult hero Randy Weaver. Weaver was considered by the federal government to be a white supremacist, though Weaver himself said he did not officially belong to Northern Idaho’s Aryan Nations church.
On Wednesday, a man at the Stanbary home in Washougal apparently set the house on fire and shot high-powered weapons for approximately 90 minutes, even as the home continued to burn. The shooter, a male, had not been identified as of late Wednesday.
While no officials have confirmed the homeowner is the same man as the Idaho convict, court records reveal both men were born in January 1964. And an Idaho listing for Steven Stanbary lists his wife as Leona Bolton. Leona Stanbary is the co-owner of the Washougal home.
Both incidents involved numerous firearms.
On Dec. 29, 1994, sheriff’s deputies in Elmira, Idaho, confiscated six AK-47s and more than 20 other rifles, three handguns, several shotguns — including one that was sawed off — a flak jacket, a grenade launcher, gas masks and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Stanbary was arrested after an undercover officer used a ruse to get him out of the house and his children to safety, according to the Associated Press. He was accused of aggravated assault, according to Bonner County court records.
He pleaded guilty Dec. 18, 1995, to a reduced misdemeanor assault charge and was sentenced to jail time.
A Bonner County sheriff’s official said Wednesday that Stanbary last had a run-in with deputies in the 1990s. The last deputies heard, he was living in Sandpoint, Idaho, the sheriff’s official said.
Roos, who is now retired, said Wednesday that Stanbary’s case was among a slew of white supremacy investigations that took place in northern Idaho between 1978 and 1998. The former sheriff said he could not recall many facts about Stanbary’s case because of the frequency of similar cases.
“We pulled out a lot of these kinds of people, radical nuts,” Roos said.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; email@example.com; 360-735-4516.