Oak Harbor resident James Jensen appears in Island County Superior Court Thursday with defense attorney Trina Burton. He’s accused of domestic assault, eluding police and causing a day-long standoff. He’s being held on $50,000 bail.

Oak Harbor man arrested after standoff with police

A domestic-violence suspect considered potentially armed and dangerous escaped from his house hours before police made entry and ended a day-long standoff late Wednesday afternoon, according to the Oak Harbor Police Department.

Patrol officers were able to find the man at a downtown bar later that night.

The suspect, James R. Jensen, 37, appeared in Island County Superior Court Thursday afternoon. Judge Alan Hancock found probable cause to hold him on suspicion of attempting to elude police, domestic violence assault in the fourth-degree and malicious mischief in the third degree.

Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom asked the judge to set Jensen’s bail at $50,000. He said Jensen had threatened suicide with a shotgun in the recent past.

“It appears that he feels he has nothing to lose and I think that makes him dangerous,” Safstrom said.

Hancock agreed with the bail request. Also at the prosecutor’s request, he ordered that Jensen be evaluated by a mental health professional at the jail.

The police incident began just before 5 a.m. Wednesday when a Southeast Sixth Avenue resident reported to 911 that Jensen had torn up the house and had assaulted her, according to the police report.

Jensen left the house in a pickup before police arrived.

The woman told police that Jensen owned a shotgun, but police were unable to find it.

An officer located Jensen driving in his pickup, but he sped away through residential streets and the officer lost sight of the truck.

The pickup was later located parked near the house.

Officers transported the woman and two children to the police department. Jensen called and texted her while she was at the station but refused to speak with police.

Jensen allegedly told her that he should have shot a police officer in the face and then killed himself, the report indicates.

Chief Kevin Dresker said an officer looking for Jensen saw movement in the window of the house, which led him to believe Jensen was inside.

Officers saw other movement inside the house and Jensen later admitted he had been inside the house.

The response was large. Dresker said officers wanted to handle the situation cautiously since Jensen was possibly armed and had announced intentions to shoot an officer.

Oak Harbor police surrounded the home, deployed the department’s High Risk Entry Team, closed roads and evacuated nearby neighbors to the fire station, where the Red Cross was set up to help. Tear gas was deployed into the house at one point.

Area schools were notified by the police. The schools were not asked to close, but the nearby Oak Harbor Christian School chose to cancel classes for the day, according to a police official.

Oak Harbor Elementary was placed in lockout as a precautionary measure.

A supplemental police report details the resources that were used during the event.

A total of 21 officers from the Oak Harbor Police Department, two Skagit County deputies, a deputy from the Island County Sheriff’s Office, nine Oak Harbor Fire Department personnel, an ambulance crew and four city public works employees were involved, according to a police report.

Dresker said Jensen likely managed to leave through the back door unnoticed at between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

Skagit County deputies deployed the department’s video-equipped robot inside the house to check for any occupants. The High Risk Entry Team entered the house and confirmed that he was not inside.

The police report states that the incident went on from just before 5 a.m. to just after 6 p.m.

Patrol officers located Jensen at a downtown bar at about 8 p.m. Jensen ran out the back door, but an officer chased him down and arrested him after a brief struggle, the report states.

Jensen claimed in court that he doesn’t have any firearms.

Oak Harbor police discuss an incident Wednesday in which streets were closed down and homes evacuated because of concern that a potentially armed man may have bee hold up in a house. (Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times)

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