Deal reached in police assault case

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WALLA WALLA — A plea agreement has been reached in a long-standing criminal case against a man accused of pointing a loaded handgun at a Walla Walla police officer in 2011.

Paul Anderson, 64, of Benton City, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Walla Walla County Superior Court to a reduced charge of third-degree assault. He initially was charged with first-degree assault.

Anderson — who had no criminal history — faces a standard-range jail term of up to 90 days when he’s sentenced later. In exchange for his guilty plea, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden is recommending a time-served sentence. Anderson spent about 11/2 months in the County Jail before he was released pending further court proceedings.

He was arrested Sept. 13, 2011, after police were called to the 100 block of Bryant Avenue about 5:40 a.m. for a report of a man with a gun trying to get into a residence.

When Officer Kathy Loney arrived, she saw Anderson crouched behind a vehicle parked in a carport, pointing the gun directly at her, according to a police report filed in court. Hearing a sound she believed was the clicking of the trigger being pulled back, Loney jumped behind a different vehicle and alerted another officer.

Anderson — who was telling officers to watch out for a girl in the vehicle and for snipers on the roof — put the gun down and was apprehended.

The resident told police Anderson had driven up in a motor home, got out with the gun and warned of people trying to kill him. Anderson then started beating on the resident’s door, perhaps attempting to force his way in, the police report says.

Anderson underwent a mental evaluation by Eastern State Hospital staff from Medical Lake after his arrest to determine his competency for the case against him to proceed. He subsequently was found to be competent.

In a letter to defense attorney Gail Siemers offering to allow Anderson to plead guilty to the lesser charge, Golden wrote:

“I have spoken with several parties involved — from law enforcement to victims to mental health providers to family members — and all are in agreement that this would be a fair resolution of this matter.”

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

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