Deputies negotiate surrender of knife-wielding suspect

Deputies negotiated the peaceful surrender of an assault suspect who refused to leave his car.

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office were able to negotiate the peaceful surrender of knife-wielding assault suspect who refused to leave his car on Nov. 19, according to court documents.

Law enforcement shut down a portion of the Highway 20 spur near the Coupeville ferry terminal for about two and a half hours while department negotiators talked to the man, who may have been experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a report by Deputy Lane Campbell with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect, 64-year-old Peter B. Clark, appeared in Island County Superior Court Nov. 22. The judge found probable cause existed to believe he committed the crime of assault in the second degree and ordered him held on $50,000 bail.

The deputy’s report states that a tow truck driver responded to the area of the ferry to provide Clark with gasoline.

The tow truck driver later told the deputy that Clark seemed very agitated when he arrived. When the man walked to the car to dispense the gas, Clark suddenly pulled out a large knife, waving it around and pointing it at him, the report states.

The man was able to calm Clark and started walking back to his truck. But Clark followed him and prevented him from closing the door, again waving the knife at him, the report states.

The man was eventually able to shut the truck door, lock it and call 911.

The deputy arrived at the scene and pulled Clark’s car over as he tried to drive away. The deputy asked him to step from his vehicle, but Clark refused and appeared to get more and more agitated, the report states. Attempts to speak calmly to Clark and de-escalate the situation were unsuccessful.

Several other deputies arrived and blocked Clark’s car so he couldn’t escape. Other deputies, along with a trooper with the Washington State Patrol and an Oak Harbor police officer, also arrived at the scene. Among the deputies were two department negotiators.

The report states that Clark gave up and was arrested after two and a half hours of negotiations.

The deputy wrote that Clark is known to law enforcement as “mentally unstable, assaultive and in possession of knives.”

Clark was arrested in June for allegedly chasing after a woman in a car while wielding a hammer in a South Whidbey grocery store parking lot. The judge in that case found Clark suffered from a mental condition and before being released from jail should be interviewed by a mental health professional for possible commitment to a mental health treatment facility.