WALLA WALLA — An Idaho man has been arrested following a nearly four-hour stand-off with police at a local home.
City police booked Christopher Robling, 30, of the Caldwell area, into Walla Walla County Jail Tuesday on suspicion of possessing stolen property and residential burglary.
Robling is believed to have been driving a stolen vehicle through the city about 12:30 p.m. when he was approached by police patrol officers.
Rather than stop, Robling is accused of driving off and initiating a short pursuit on city streets. Robling may be linked to burglaries throughout Idaho and Oregon, and officers believed he was in possession of stolen firearms as well as the stolen vehicle.
Sgt. Matt Wood said Robling crashed the vehicle into a creek near Harvest Foods on Second Avenue, then took off running. A woman who remained in the vehicle was detained for allegedly giving police false information.
Robling, meanwhile, crawled through a window and into an unoccupied house at 803 S. Second Ave. The home, which is listed as belonging to Clinton Townsend, soon became the scene of the stand-off, as city police officers were joined by Walla Wall County Sheriff's deputies, Washington State Patrol troopers, and members of the Emergency Services Unit, a SWAT-like response team.
Access to Second Avenue and Maple Street in the general area was closed off to traffic and pedestrians. Police cordoned off the area around the home. Officers were periodically using a megaphone to call out Robling's name and order him to come out the front door or call 911.
The standoff had drawn a crowd of onlookers from around the area and police were moving people farther away from the location following reports that Robling was armed with a shotgun or high-powered rifle.
By about 2:40 p.m., officers continued to attempt to communicate with Robling with no success. About 4 p.m., an effort was made to bring a phone into the home, which didn't appear to have a land line. As officers brought the phone into the home, Robling tried to leave through the back but was subdued with a Taser and arrested. Wood said Robling was in custody and the streets started to be cleared about 4:30 p.m.
Children at school for the first day of classes were also impacted by the police stand-off. Parents whose children attend Blue Ridge, Edison and Sharpstein elementary schools, Garrison Middle School and Lincoln Alternative High School, were notified of the situation by phone and asked to pick up their children at each school. Children were not being allowed to walk home or wait at bus stops near the scene of the stand-off, per police instructions.
Students who couldn't get picked up by parents were to be bused home as the situation cleared. After-school activities at Garrison were canceled.
"We are taking all precautions to make sure our students are safe," said district spokesman Mark Higgins.