Trial date moved for man accused of shooting at College Place officer

Jay D. Jeffrey faces assault, endangerment and weapons charges.

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WALLA WALLA -- A trial initially scheduled next week for a man accused of shooting at a College Place police officer in early May has been postponed in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Jay D. Jeffrey, 42, had been set to face a jury starting Wednesday. But the proceedings now are set to begin April 12.

Jeffrey is charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and aiming or discharging a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and entered alternate pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity. After his arrest, he underwent a mental evaluation. Experts later determined he is competent to stand trial.

Authorities said Jeffrey held police officers at bay outside his home at 639 S.W. Second St., College Place, for about 6 1/2 hours in a standoff that began May 3 about 10 p.m.

Officials said two College Place officers had arrived at the residence to check on reports from neighbors that Jeffrey had weapons and was acting strangely. 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.

Jeffrey has been released on bail to live at 3017 Reservoir Road pending the outcome of his case.

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

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