Assault Rifles Used In Forced Entry on Midvale Rd
A combined team of Yakima County Sheriff’s Office personnel, with Sunnyside and Grandview police officers assisting, brought out their AR-15′s (the civilian version of a military issue M-16 rifle), in their effort to resolve a domestic violence call on Wednesday night, just outside the city limits of Sunnyside.
The Sunnyside Police Department dispatch received the call at 10:38PM on Wednesday, 5/19/2010. Sunnyside police were the closest to the scene, and responded first. Grandview police responded to assist as well.
The mobile home behind these cars was the scene of a domestic violence call that required a response from multiple law enforcement agencies.
A male at the residence had reportedly been drinking, and hitting a female in the head and face. Officers were told that he was inside the home, and that children were inside as well. The suspect did not respond to officers’ attempts to communicate. He did not come to the door when they knocked, and he did not answer a telephone that was inside. It was unknown if weapons were inside the home.
Officers attempted to talk to the suspect by approaching a window of the room where they believed he was located. Again, there was no response or communication from inside.
An ad hoc team of deputies and police officers quickly decided to force their way into the home after the woman expressed concern for the safety of the children inside. The officers picked out who would be in the lead, and stacked up on each other in a similar formation to what soldiers might use in urban combat. They established who would be supporting each other, and forced their way into the home.
Fortunately, the suspect was apprehended inside without any further problems. He did not resist the officers as they took him outside, and the children were found to be safe in another room of the home.
The name of the suspect was not made public on Thursday, as charges have not yet been filed.
Lieutenant Max James of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office was contacted regarding this incident. I asked him why the AR-15′s were necessary in this situation. He explained that it is a higher precision weapon than the shotguns that officers carried in years past. If it had been required for officers to use their weapons, they would be more likely to hit their intended target, without having others in the home being hit as well.
For a former soldier, it was disconcerting to witness the use of long guns by local police. I have nothing but the highest respect for local law enforcement officers, and respect their desire to outfit their cars with such weaponry. Lt. James’ explanation doves-tails with what officers of the Sunnyside Police Department have told me in private conversations about why they prefer to have the AR-15′s in their cars as well.
It was fascinating to watch the officers come together and handle the situation as they did. It would be unlikely to have the same team members respond every time, due to rotation of shifts, and the different agencies involved. All of us are fortunate that the local law enforcement agencies provide effective mutual support and aid in protecting the public in the Lower Valley. Their effective teamwork keeps all of us safer.
- The incident number with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office is 10-08425
- Thanks to Sunnyside Police Department Spokesperson Charlotte Hinderlider, and Lt. Max James of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office for answering questions, and providing additional information on this incident.