I-5 shut down briefly after man with shotgun reported

He turned out to be carrying a decorative sword

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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The northbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Hazel Dell were shut down for five minutes Monday night while police surrounded a man who was walking on the shoulder and reportedly wielding a shotgun that turned out to be a decorative sword.

The sighting was reported at 7:40 p.m. near 78th Street. About 15 minutes later, troopers and officers with the Vancouver Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Office arrived, turned on their spotlights and talked to the man over a loudspeaker with guns drawn.

“When we’re told someone is carrying a weapon, we approach as if someone is indeed carrying a weapon,” said Trooper Will Finn, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

The 20-year-old complied with their instructions and revealed a blunt sword slung over his back. He was headed home to Elma in Grays Harbor County when a passer-by apparently mistook the sword for a gun and alerted 911.

Police drove the man, whose name was not released, to a relative’s house in Vancouver. He was warned not to walk on Interstate 5, a limited access highway, where pedestrians are not allowed.