Man charged with pointing gun at officer

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WALLA WALLA — A man who reportedly suffers from mental disorders has been charged in Superior Court with pointing a loaded semiautomatic pistol at a Walla Walla police detective in June.

Matthew R. Hope is accused of first-degree assault.

Officials said 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 raised his empty hand to show he had no weapon drawn,” identified himself several times as a police officer and told Hope to drop the gun. But Hope didn’t comply and moved slightly, transitioning from one shooting stance to another, the report says.

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 later reportedly made comments that he could have killed both officers, and said, “That sure felt good. I had the drop on the both of them.”

The report adds that Hope, 38, of 1234 S. Fourth Ave., is “a disabled veteran, having been discharged medically from the Army in 2004 with a diagnosis of bipolar depression and PTSD related to a motorcycle accident, with apparent mental and substance (alcohol) issues.

“His military duty was noncombative.”

The officers decided not to arrest Hope at the time, but the gun was confiscated and a report forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Hope was arrested Saturday 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.

Formal charges related to both crimes Hope allegedly committed were filed in court Tuesday.

Bail was set at $25,000, but a bail bond was posted for him Wednesday and he was released from jail.

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

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