Kennewick standoff suspect refuses to go to hearing

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJuly 15, 2014 

A man arrested after an eight-hour standoff with police at a Kennewick apartment was ordered held without bail Tuesday after twice refusing to leave his cell for court.

Jorge Garcia Jr., 33, of Pasco, is in the Benton County jail on suspicion of two counts of first-degree assault for the Friday incident.

Garcia was scheduled to appear before a Benton County District Court judge Monday, but he reportedly told corrections officers he wouldn't go.

When Garcia again refused to leave his cell Tuesday for a hearing in a jail courtroom, Judge Joe Burrowes ordered staff to bring him to court even if it was against his will.

Kennewick police were called to the apartment at 7:15 a.m. Friday after a 40-year-old woman who lives at the apartment reported Garcia pointed a gun at her head.

The woman said Garcia had accused her of stealing money from him and held the gun to her forehead, according to a court document signed by Detective Rick Runge. Garcia then left the room but returned to push the gun to the woman's left temple and say he was going to kill her.

The woman alleged Garcia sells both cocaine and methamphetamine and was under the influence of a narcotic that morning. He had been renting a room in the Kennewick apartment for about a month.

As the victim was trying to escape from the home in her underwear, Garcia grabbed her and tried to pull her back inside, court documents said. She left when officers arrived.

A 24-year-old woman also reportedly was held against her will but was able to get out of the apartment after a few hours. She would not cooperate with police, Runge wrote.

Garcia used couches, a bed and a refrigerator to barricade the apartment's door. The Tri-City Regional SWAT Team was called and authorities blocked off a portion of 21st Avenue near Rainier Street, forcing residents of the complex to evacuate.

Garcia told police a number of times that he would come out, but he continued to stay inside, even as officers shot tear gas canisters through windows, authorities said. Officers had their weapons drawn for hours in front of the apartment while they used a robot to track Garcia's movements.

Eventually, SWAT team members climbed onto a balcony and entered through a sliding door.

Garcia was taken to Trios Health to be medically examined before being booked into the jail.

Prosecutors have until Thursday afternoon to charge Garcia or release him from jail on this case.

Garcia also is in custody on two out-of-county warrants and a state Department of Corrections hold.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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