Deputy shoots South Whidbey suspect with sponge bullet

A South Whidbey man who held off police in a brief standoff and was shot with a sponge bullet earlier this year is now facing charges.

Michael L. Poynter was charged in Island County Superior Court July 31 with felony harassment, possession of an unlawful firearm and aiming or discharging a firearm.

The incident began on May 18 when a South Whidbey woman reported that her estranged husband, Poynter, had gotten into an argument with a friend. Poynter was living in a motor home on the property.

Poynter, who had been drinking, allegedly demanded that the friend leave and threatened to shoot his friend and his wife. They heard a gunshot after Poynter left.

The deputies knocked on the motor home door, but Poynter refused to open. The deputies decided not to escalate the situation and left, making sure the woman was going to stay elsewhere.

A detective obtained a search warrant for the motor home. Deputies and SWAT teams from the Island County Sheriff’s Office and Oak Harbor Police Department returned to the motor home in the afternoon of May 19.

Poynter barricaded himself inside and a “short stand off ensued,” according to the police report. Poynter eventually came out but wouldn’t comply with verbal commands. A deputy shot him with a sponge bullet before he was finally taken into custody, the police report states.

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