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Police talk down man with gun on West Beach

Members of the Island County Sheriff’s Office’s Hard Entry and Arrest Team move into position behind an Oak Harbor Police Department armored car to recover a woman involved in a standoff situation between police and a man with a gun on West Beach Road.  - Photo by Andrea Kahkonen
Members of the Island County Sheriff’s Office’s Hard Entry and Arrest Team move into position behind an Oak Harbor Police Department armored car to recover a woman involved in a standoff situation between police and a man with a gun on West Beach Road.
— image credit: Photo by Andrea Kahkonen

A potentially lethal face off with Whidbey Island deputies ended Sunday when a team of highly trained officers were able to convince a man with a gun in an apartment on West Beach Road to give up peacefully.

At about 11:50 a.m., authorities received a 911 call that a man had been arguing with a woman at a duplex apartment on West Beach Road when he allegedly pulled out a gun and began pointing it at people, according to Island County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Hawley.

First on the scene, Hawley said he learned from witnesses that the two were quarreling when the man, 24-year-old Robert Remiesiewicz, allegedly struck the woman in the face. The argument was centered on the man’s dog, which somehow got out of the house. The scuffle escalated from there.

“At some point, he produced a 9 mm handgun,” Hawley said.

Apparently, the woman ran back into the neighboring apartment and hid in the closet, while the suspected gun-wielding assailant retreated back into his home and locked himself in a bedroom.

Hawley said he and several other officers began evacuating neighbors on either side of the duplex and closed down a section of West Beach Road, from Fort Nugent to Hastie Lake roads.

While a negotiator from the sheriff’s office was called in, so too was the department’s Hard Entry and Arrest Team, also known as HEAT. Taking cover behind an Oak Harbor Police Department armored vehicle, the team moved in to rescue the woman.

Andrea Kahkonen, who lives across the street, watched the dramatic event from her upstairs window.

“It was like ‘COPS’ (the television show) live right in front of my house,” she said.

“They broke through the fence and got the lady out,” Kahkonen said.

According to Hawley, the victim was immediately transported to Whidbey General Hospital. While she was hurt, he said her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

“She’d been punched in the face several times,” Hawley said.

The team then entered the apartment and was in the process of giving Remiesiewicz a phone to speak with the negotiator when surrendered. Hawley said the two-and-a-half-hour standoff ended with a textbook outcome that was more than satisfactory.

“It actually worked out about the way it was supposed to,” he said.

Hawley extended his thanks to the Oak Harbor Police Department and the Washington State Patrol. Both made great contributions that helped facilitate a peaceful ending.

West Beach Road was re-opened to traffic at about 2:30 p.m.

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