Trial delayed in gun-pointing case

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WALLA WALLA — A new trial date has been set for a man accused of pointing a loaded semiautomatic pistol at a Walla Walla police detective in June.

Matthew R. Hope, 38, of 1234 S. Fourth Ave., now is set for trial March 19 on the charge of first-degree assault and an unrelated charge of third-degree assault.

The proceedings initially were scheduled for this Monday.

Officials claim Hope pointed the gun at Detective Kevin Bayne during an encounter about 8:45 p.m. on June 6 outside a residence in the 100 block of Donald Street.

Bayne and Detective Saul Reyna were in the area to take a different person into custody for an unrelated offense. After that occurred, Hope stood in the yard “in a shooting stance with a handgun pointed directly at (Bayne’s) head,” according to a police report filed in court.

Bayne reportedly identified himself several times as a police officer and told Hope to drop the gun.

But it wasn’t until Reyna — who came out of a nearby garage — pointed his gun at Hope that Hope dropped the magazine from the gun, ejected the round from the chamber and put the weapon on the ground, according to officials.

Hope has suffered from mental disorders, the police report says. The officers decided not to arrest him at the time, but the gun was confiscated and a report forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Hope was arrested Sept. 1 and booked into the County Jail on investigation of third-degree assault for allegedly striking a Benton County sheriff’s deputy on the shoulder at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds.

Hope then was formally charged with committing both assaults.

A bail bond was posted for him Sept. 5 and he was released from jail.

Hope’s attorney, Irving Rosenberg, has said in court that Hope never intended to harm anyone, adding, “There was an alcohol issue that’s being handled by the VA.”

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