College Place man charged in shooting at officer competent for trial

An evaluation was ordered for Jay D. Jeffrey, who is accused of shooting at a College Place police officer.

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WALLA WALLA -- A College Place man charged with shooting at a police officer in early May has been found mentally competent to stand trial.

Jay D. Jeffrey, had been ordered to undergo a sanity and competency evaluation by staff members from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. Based on results of the evaluation, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann signed the order of competency Monday.

Jeffrey, 42, of 639 S.W. Second St., College Place, is charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and aiming or discharging a firearm. He allegedly held police officers outside his home at bay for about 6-and-a-half hours in a standoff that began about 10 p.m. May 3.

Two College Place officers had arrived at the residence to check on reports from neighbors that Jeffrey had weapons and was acting strangely, officials said. Jeffrey was inside and wouldn't allow the officers to enter, but directed one of them -- Officer Robert Benfield -- to go to an open sliding glass door at the side of the home, according to a police report filed in court. Jeffrey then allegedly fired three rounds at Benfield, who was nearly hit.

The two officers retreated for cover and backup from other law enforcement jurisdictions arrived at the scene. About 2 a.m. May 4, Jeffrey fired a weapon while in the house and walked outside twice carrying two different firearms, the police report says. He surrendered at 4:25 a.m.

He is lodged in the County Jail, with bail set at $150,000.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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