College Place man charged in shooting, standoff

Jay D. Jeffrey has been ordered to undergo a sanity and competency evaluation after a standoff that ended Tuesday.

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WALLA WALLA -- A College Place man arrested at his residence early Tuesday for allegedly shooting at a police officer was formally charged later that day in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

In addition, the defendant, Jay D. Jeffrey, has been ordered to undergo a sanity and competency evaluation by staff members from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. Under the order signed by Judge John Lohrmann, experts will determine if Jeffrey suffers from a mental disease or defect, and whether he is sane and able to assist his attorney.

Jeffrey, 42, of 639 S.W. Second St., was charged Tuesday afternoon with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and aiming or discharging a firearm. Bail is set at $150,000.

He was taken into custody shortly before 4:30 a.m. after allegedly holding officers outside his home at bay for about 6 1/2 hours.

The standoff began about 10 p.m. Monday when two College Place officers 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. Tuesday, 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.

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

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