Man appears in court following alleged shooting, standoff

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A man accused of firing a rifle during a dispute with a neighboring business — prompting an hourslong police standoff Tuesday northeast of Hazel Dell — has a previous manslaughter conviction in Oregon, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

James A. Froehlich, 48, was wheeled into Clark County Superior Court in a restraint chair and wore a suicide-prevention smock, given to inmates who may try to harm themselves with standard jail clothing. He appeared to be agitated and had a difficult time answering the court’s questions about his name and birth date.

When asked if he could spell his last name, Froehlich said, “You guys are messing with me, so I won’t.”

Judge Scott Collier found probable cause for two counts of first-degree assault, one count of felony harassment and six counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Collier appointed Vancouver Defenders to represent Froehlich and ordered a competency evaluation. Froehlich will be back in court Friday to enter the order.

In the meantime, he is being held on $500,000 bail.

At about 3 p.m., Dan Sandvig, an employee at Narith Machine, 10507 N.E. 50th Ave., and Narith Roath were inside a large metal shop when Froehlich entered the building armed with a rifle, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Sandvig said that Froehlich approached him with the rifle, unprovoked, and pointed it at his head. Froehlich allegedly yelled, “I’m going to blow your (expletive) head off! I’m going to kill all you mother (explicit)!” the affidavit states.

Roath said he saw Froehlich point the firearm at Sandvig and could hear Froehlich “spewing profanities” at him, according to court records. Roath feared Froehlich was going to shoot them, he said, so he ran from the building. He then saw Froehlich walking away from the shop with the rifle in hand. Roath said that once Froehlich was out of sight, he heard three gunshots, the court document states.

Sandvig was still inside the metal shop and said he also heard the shots. He thought Froehlich fired at Roath, the affidavit said.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene and were able to remove the victims from the area, sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Rothenberger said in a statement. Deputies and SWAT officers then surrounded Froehlich’s residence, 10419 N.E. 50th Ave., and blocked roads in the area.

When deputies tried to contact him, Froehlich was uncooperative. He came out of the residence armed with a rifle and threw it into the yard, court records said. He then retreated back inside. Froehlich remained barricaded inside for some time while deputies attempted to talk to him, the sheriff’s office said.

He was taken into custody about 7:30 p.m. without further incident, according to the sheriff’s office.

Officers served a search warrant at the residence and seized six rifles from inside, the affidavit said.

Froehlich allegedly admitted to entering the nearby business while armed, threatening Sandvig and discharging the firearm outside the business, according to court documents.

In addition to the manslaughter conviction, Froehlich reportedly has a conviction for attempted murder, said Deputy Prosecutor James Smith, who is handling the case but wasn’t present for the hearing. That information is based on a search of the national criminal history database, he said. Both convictions are from 1988 in Klamath County, Ore.