Seven police cars lined up along Conniston Way in the Even’Down subdivision of unincorporated Island County on Whidbey Island, WA

On Saturday, June 22, three Island County Sheriff’s Department deputies, two Washington State Patrol officers, and two City of Oak Harbor Police Department officers converged in the Even’Down subdivision of unincorporated Island County. They took a single individual into custody from 2230 Conniston Way. Police had been to the house twice before on the same day. A sheriff’s department lieutenant indicated that their seven-car presence for visit #2 was in response to the lone individual there having threatened to harm himself while at City Beach in Oak Harbor.

Police officers shortly before approaching home

When all seven police cars returned for visit #3, about 30 minutes after visit #2 ended, the same sheriff’s lieutenant indicated their return was due to someone having reported gunfire. Sitting near an open window directly across the street between visit #2 and visit #3, I had heard no gunfire. The sheriff’s lieutenant told me they found no evidence of gunfire after entering the home, either.

State patrol officers head around to the back of the home, via an adjacent yard

After police entered the house and engaged with the man, they opened the garage door. They then summoned three ambulances which had been waiting around the corner to the front of the house. One of the ambulances transported away the now restrained adult male.

Sheriff’s deputies and state patrol head into position

After the ambulances and five of the police vehicles had departed, two of the sheriffs remained on site. One of the sheriff’s men opened and looked inside various storage containers and boxes in the man’s garage.

Sheriff’s deputies approach home, sledge hammer in-hand

According to the sheriff’s lieutenant, police had believed the man recently to have started re-using methamphetamine and that he had weapons in the home.

Sheriff’s deputies coordinate with state patrol before making entry

Island County sheriffs had been to the home a few weeks earlier, too. I am unsure why, but no arrests appeared to have been made at that time.

Oak Harbor police officer at front of home while sheriff’s make entry

My thoughts and questions….

Do police have an automatic right to search the home of an individual after taking him into custody? It was rather apparent to me that “searching” is exactly what the sheriff’s deputy was doing in that garage after they had taken the man away.

Three ambulances arrive after police summon them from around the corner

Can someone being taken into “custody” against their will give the police permission to search as they may desire after they take him away in restraints?

After entry, garage door opens, police chat with man

Does Island County really need MORE property taxes NOW to hire MORE sheriff’s deputies NOW? It certainly seems there are plenty of police around – from various jurisdictions – if/when police are needed / desired on Whidbey Island.

Police then lead the man to one of the three ambulances on the scene

On visit #2, the Sheriff’s lieutenant indicated to me that he did not want to  break down the door of this man, since they believed he had weapons in the home. Apparently, when all police completely left at the end of visit #2, they believed that all was well.

The garage door remained open for quite some time after the man was taken away.

From the photos provided here from visit #3, one can clearly see a sheriff’s deputy carrying a sledge hammer towards the front of the property. I subsequently heard three VERY loud “BANGS” – the sounds of a sledgehammer being employed – shortly before police opened the garage door and called for the ambulances from around the corner.

Police closed the door to the garage shortly after I observed them searching the garage after the man was taken away.

From whom and where, exactly, was this report of gunfire to have occurred? Was it really just that single report of gunfire that caused the police to re-convene, to use their sledge hammer, to take this man away in restraints, and then to search his home, after having left only 30 minutes earlier and having told me that the man at the home was absolutely NO threat to anyone else in the neighborhood?