Retired deputy pulls firearm, thwarts assault at Oak Harbor Walmart
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
April 19, 2012 · Updated 3:16 PM
The efforts of a retired but armed Island County Sheriff’s deputy prevented an assault with a broken wine bottle and knife from becoming something much worse.
At approximately 2:40 p.m. Thursday, Oak Harbor police officers responded to a call at Walmart of a man trying to stab another man.
It turned out to be a struggle between a security guard and a suspected shoplifter.
The suspect, 21-year-old Addison Vernon, allegedly filled a backpack with clothing and a bottle of wine and then left the large discount department store, said Lt. Tim Sterkel of the Oak Harbor Police Department.
A Walmart security guard managed to get Vernon into the foyer, but then he struggled to break away, Sterkel said, adding that Vernon had a wine bottle in his hands.
The two struggled and ended up on the ground where the bottle broke. Sterkel said Vernon grabbed the broken bottle and attempted to stab at the security guard’s face.
The guard grabbed Vernon’s hands to prevent him from slashing and the two continued to struggle until the alleged shoplifter unsheathed his knife.
Sterkel said the guard managed to push the man away, but Vernon still had the knife and was confronting the guard.
At that time Wayne Lewis, a retired Island County Sheriff’s deputy, saw what was happening and pulled a handgun.
Vernon sheathed his knife and ran away heading east from Walmart’s main entrance.
Eventually, deputies caught up with Vernon near the intersection of Fleet Street and Barrington Drive up the hill from Walmart and arrested him.
Vernon had $178 worth of Walmart merchandise with him, Sterkel said.
Vernon was booked into the Oak Harbor jail and then transferred to the Island County jail in Coupeville. He had a hearing Friday and bail was set at $50,000. He remains incarcerated at the Island County jail and faces a charge of assault in the second degree.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.