A South Aberdeen man accused of firing his gun in his neighborhood, then engaging police in an 18-hour standoff in February appeared in Grays Harbor Superior Court Monday.
Michael Watson, 54, pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree unlawful display of a laser and unlawful display of a weapon.
According to court documents, a neighbor heard gunshots at about 8 p.m. Feb. 25. He went outside to find Watson waiving a hand gun on the street, shining a green laser pointer around, shouting, “I am a warrior of God.”
The neighbor reported Watson pointed the gun in the air, fired three more shots, then waived the laser pointer toward houses, saying “I am a warrior of God. I decide who will die,” court documents state.
Watson had gone back into his house in the 2000 block of Harding Road by the time police arrived. Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tracy Gay watched his movements through a scope on his rifle, while Aberdeen Police Department Corporal Casey Wagonblast watched the rear of the house.
Wagonblast “could see a laser light moving from window to window and moving erratically, coursing over the various officers positioned at the rear of the house,” documents state.
Watson appeared to be wandering the house, turning lights on and off. From the front, Gay saw him point his gun and the laser at Aberdeen officers.
Police spent the night and much of the following day outside the house, calling to Watson to surrender peacefully. Members of the Crisis Response Unit, made up of specially trained officers from the Aberdeen, Montesano and Hoquiam police departments and the Sheriff’s Office, responded at about 10 p.m. and tried to contact him for much of the night over a loudspeaker.
The Washington State Patrol SWAT team arrived on scene the next morning, relieving the Crisis Response Unit and taking over negotiations.
Officers began firing tear gas and flash-bang grenades again at about 11:20 a.m.
Aberdeen Deputy Chief Dave Timmons said he hoped the tear gas and flash-bang grenades would compel Watson to respond to negotiators.
“We’re just trying to make him as uncomfortable as possible,” Timmons said. “We’re not trying to make him angry, we’re just trying to make him come to his senses.”
At about 2:15 p.m., Watson appeared in the doorway with his gun still in his hand.
“Put the gun down,” the negotiator said. “I need you to put the gun down now.” After a tense moment, Watson complied, then followed instructions to lay down in his yard and wait for officers.
“I don’t want to f- - - - - - - hurt anybody,” Watson shouted as SWAT members led him away from the house.
Watson is held in Grays Harbor County Jail with $120,000 bail.