Sheriff: Man leads high speed chase on I-5 after threatening ‘Las Vegas’-type shooting

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A man was arrested Wednesday after he threatened to commit a “Las Vegas”-type mass shooting, then led deputies on a high speed chase along Interstate 5, Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies said Thursday.

During the chase, the man hit a semi-truck, swerved in front of other cars and attempted to ram deputies’ cars, said Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig, a spokesman for the department.

Deputies say Christopher James Bleavins, a 35-year-old from Lakewood, is a retired military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

After a report that Bleavins threatened a mass shooting Wednesday afternoon, military police approached him at Joint Base Lewis McChord, about nine miles south of Tacoma, Rosenzweig said.

Bleavins was not armed. Deputies do not know whether he has access to firearms.

Bleavins fled the base in a red Mazda 6 at about 4 p.m., almost hitting a military police officer, Rosenzweig said.

Military police pursued him south on I-5, then Washington State Police took over. State police followed Bleavins until he reached the Cowlitz County line at milepost 57.

Shortly after, Castle Rock police spotted the Mazda driving more than 100 miles per hour near milepost 49.

A Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputy spotted Bleavins near milepost 42, and joined the chase, Rosenzweig said.

As the deputy drove onto the freeway, Bleavins cut across the highway lanes and tried to ram the deputy’s car, Rosenzweig said. The deputy was able to swerve out of the way.

At one point, Bleavins hit a semi-truck, Rosenzweig said. The driver was not injured. At another point, Bleavins swerved in front of a truck pulling a horse trailer, then slammed on his brakes, Rosenzweig said. Deputies believe Bleavins was trying to cause a crash.

Bleavins crashed into another car at milepost 33, then lost control of his car, Rosenzweig said. The other driver suffered minor injuries but did not need medical attention.

Bleavins was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, eluding police, hit-and-run and reckless endangerment.