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Baseball bat, BB gun add up to rare ‘riot’ in Oak Harbor

A group of police officers search a white Mercedes Benz after arresting four men suspected of rioting in Oak Harbor Monday afternoon.  - Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times
A group of police officers search a white Mercedes Benz after arresting four men suspected of rioting in Oak Harbor Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times

Four men were arrested on suspicion of rioting Monday afternoon after Oak Harbor police responded to a report of a fight involving weapons near the intersection of Whidbey Avenue and Oak Harbor Road.

Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner said four men, all Whidbey Island residents, were in a white 1997 Mercedes Benz and threatened a man with a baseball bat and a gun; a baseball bat and a BB gun were later recovered from the car.

Police officers and a deputy from the Island County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident, Gardner said, and made “a high-risk stop.”

The arrests drew the attention of concerned neighbors and passersby.

Resident Marco Herrera said the officers approached the car with their guns drawn. “I knew it was serious after that,” he said.

The four men were arrested on suspicion of riot, which may be a first in Oak Harbor history. Under state law, a person is “guilty of riot if, acting with three or more other persons, he or she knowingly and unlawfully uses or threatens to use force, or in any way participates in the use of such force, against any other person or against property.”

In other words, the group of four men are accused of threatening another man.

Gardner said the alleged victim, who was on foot, briefly spoke to an officer and left the scene. She said detectives are busy investigating the case.

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