UPDATE WITH DETAILS: Man arrested after 3 hour SWAT standoff in Hockinson; no one hurt

SWAT officers show restraint in dealing with man holding handgun

By John Branton and Paul Suarez

Published:

 

Sheriff’s deputies including SWAT officers took an armed man into custody after a three-hour standoff around a home in the Hockinson area Wednesday night.

Brett Croft of Vancouver was arrested under suspicion of reckless endangerment, a sheriff’s office release said.

At one point, Croft, carrying a gun, hid in a tree near the house. He also held the gun to his own chin, officials said.

Officers were called to a home in the area of Northeast Davis and Ward roads and 192nd Avenue, northeast of Orchards around 7:45 p.m. The incident was first reported to be minor but quickly escalated after Croft fired a gun twice in an unknown direction, officials said.

When officers arrived, Croft still had the gun and wasn’t listening to their verbal orders. Officers were also told he was suicidal, the release said.

His wife and mother-in-law were locked in the home while he climbed and hid in a tree in front of the house.

After three hours of negotiating, officials were able to get Croft to surrender his weapon without further incident.

No injuries were reported.

Thursday night, Croft, 50, was being held in the Clark County Jail on $250,000 bail on suspicion of reckless endangerment, a jail official said.

Croft is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 27.

Police said the man had no criminal or mental health history. He allegedly had been drinking and was attempting to leave his home, officials said.

HERE ARE DETAILS of how the standoff unfolded: It was clear that officers used restraint as they kept his family members safe inside the home, and kept each other safe, and asked Croft to drop his gun over and over again until he complied.

Sheriff’s deputies including SWAT officers took a man into custody after a three-hour standoff around a home in the Hockinson area Wednesday night.

The first alerts of a report of a man firing shots came over emergency radio scanners about 7:45 p.m., sending officers to a home in the area of Northeast Davis and Ward roads and 192nd Avenue, northeast of Orchards.

Officers were told the man had large-caliber handguns.

Later, officers learned that people were inside the house and the gunman was outside, possibly hiding in a tree.

An officer radioed that police had seen a handgun, but it wasn’t known whether he had rifles around the base of the tree.

Officers said their main concern was the safety of the people inside. One radioed that “he can get into the house long before we can.”

An officer indicated that police might be prepared to shoot the man if he tried to run inside.

Shortly after 9 p.m., officers had the place surrounded and were trying to get someone inside the home to open a sliding door or window and get out.

“I’m all suited up with night vision,” an officer said.

“We’re 100 percent sure he’s in the tree,” an officer radioed.

Officers said they believed they could see the man in the tree, though it was dark.

Police had called an armored vehicle called a Bearcat to the scene.

An officer radioed that they might get inside the Bearcat and move closer to the tree while using a loud speaker to tell the man to surrender.

Officers using the loud speaker were told to tell the man police were there to help him, and to drop the gun.

About 9:30 p.m., officers said the man was climbing down from the tree. The man was yelling and “verbally non-compliant.”

Officers were still concerned he might try to run inside the house, and later said he was crawling.

“If he tries to get in the house we can’t allow that,” an officer said.

“Understood,” another officer said.

Officers said the man was holding a gun to his chin.

Some officers said they lost sight of the man.

“We believe he’s under the Dumpster,” police said.

“We’re trying to engage him in conversation,” an officer said.

The man was walking around, an officer radioed at 9:50 p.m. Officers on the loud speaker could be heard in the background, urging the man to surrender.

About 9:55 p.m., officers said deputies were inside the house with family members, and that they should find places outside their line of fire.

An officer said that, if the man were to shoot himself, they should hold their positions until someone could make a safe approach.

Officers were told the man hadn’t been taking his medicine for depression, so that could be the problem. He also had been drinking, officers said later.

About 10:20 p.m., it appeared that the man was talking with a negotiator and discussing surrendering. He wanted to know what crime he would be charged with if he did.

The answer: reckless endangerment.

As for the man’s demeanor, police said it was changing from very animated to quiet and looking around.

At about 10:40 p.m., the man surrendered to officers and was taken into custody without further incident. No injuries were reported.

Police said the man had no criminal or mental health history. This incident apparently began with the man saying he would leave his wife, officers said.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.