‘Scary’ encounter ends without gunfire

A deputy’s report on a “scary” scene that unfolded in an Oak Harbor neighborhood earlier this month describes how he pointed his gun at a suspect he thought may have been reaching for a weapon.

The incident ended without gunfire. The suspect was arrested on what turned out to be a gross misdemeanor.

On May 11, the deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office was driving on State Highway 20 when he spotted a man he recognized as Bryce Hill, 22, driving a car. The deputy pulled the car over in the Scenic Heights area because he knew Hill had a suspended license.

Hill immediately got out of the car. The deputy unholstered his firearm and held in an a “low-guard position” because Hill exited the car so suddenly and has a prior firearm-related conviction, the deputy wrote in his report about the incident.

The deputy commanded Hill to get on the ground and he eventually did, but started using his cell phone; it also appeared he was trying to eat a small plastic bag, the report states.

Hill stood up when the deputy tried to cuff him and ran away. During the brief chase, Hill turned in the officer’s direction and started reaching into his front waistband. The deputy drew his gun and pointed it at the young man, whose expression suddenly changed, the report states.

Hill ran again, but then got onto the ground and threw a small plastic object into a storm drain, the deputy wrote.

The deputy pointed a taser at Hill as another officer arrived, and they arrested him safely. The deputy retrieved a plastic bag from the storm drain and found that it contained unidentified pills. Hill was unarmed.

The deputy wrote that the events unfolded relatively quickly and were “very scary.”

Hill made his preliminary appearance in Island County Superior Court, but the case was transferred to district court, according to the prosecution.

Hill was a key witness in a 2016 murder trial. Both he and his father testified about a traumatic encounter with police in which, they said, officers pulled Hill from a car with their guns drawn and briefly mistook a flashlight for a firearm.

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