Suspect in Montesano standoff dies from wounds

A Montesano man is dead after a violent standoff with police Tuesday.

Patrick West, 42, of Montesano died Wednesday morning at Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Montesano Police Chief Brett Vance said in a release. Vance said West was shot by two officers, one using live ammunition and one using “less-lethal ammunition.”

Shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday, Montesano Police were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Academy Street, where a subject was reportedly acting suicidal.

When police arrived they spoke to a family member and two mental health professionals who were already there. Family members had requested an evaluation of West, who “was experiencing psychosis and hallucinations” and hearing voices, according to the release.

Officers communicated with West, who lived at the house with his wife, through an open basement door. During their interaction, West “suddenly emerged from the basement with a sword in each hand and charged the officers,” the release states.

West struck a fence with a sword directly in front of where officers were standing, then retreated back to the basement, police said.

Other family members arrived and joined officers in trying to talk with West. Later, West emerged from the house with a sword and “what appeared to be a ‘Molotov cocktail’ incendiary device,” police said.

Negotiations continued with officers and family members until an officer noticed a laser pointed at officers from inside the house.

At that point, the officers and family members moved farther away from the residence and notified the Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Unit (CRU) to request assistance.

About 3 p.m., the CRU — which is made up of law enforcement officers from Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano and Cosmopolis police departments and the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office — arrived with crisis negotiators.

CRU officials continued to negotiate with West for several hours with “intermittent communication.”

Around 6:30, as officers tried to insert a robotic camera into the residence, West appeared again holding a large sword.

Two CRU officers fired at West. One officer used live ammunition, the other used the “less-lethal ammunition,” Vance said Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses at the scene said they heard what sounded like five or six “pops.” West was taken to the hospital in a Montesano Fire Department ambulance with what were described as life-threatening injuries and he died Wednesday around 11:30 a.m.

“CRU officers attempted to secure the scene and render immediate first aid as they extracted West from the house, despite the strong odor of propane gas from inside,” the release states.

Detectives from Thurston, Mason and Lewis county sheriff’s offices are investigating the shooting. The investigation could take several weeks, Vance said. The County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy of West is scheduled for Friday.

Neither officer involved in the shooting was identified. A Hoquiam Police Department officer who is a member of the CRU with more than 10 years of service has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard during a shooting investigation. The officer had three years of experience a CRU team member.