KENNEWICK — A former seasonal worker for the city of Kennewick pleaded innocent Wednesday to allegations that he threatened "to take his revenge" by shooting two city employees, before turning the gun on himself.
Norman Eugene Shankle, 60, faces trial Dec. 6 in Benton County Superior Court for two counts of felony harassment.
Shankle met with a Richland psychologist Sept. 22 for a state Department of Social and Health Services psychological evaluation.
During the evaluation, Shankle "stated that when he is deemed terminal he will deliver Phil Bleazard and Gary Deardorff (city of Kennewick employees) to hell for calling him a liar and hurting him on purpose," Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire wrote in court documents. "Norman wanted to take his revenge by shooting them at their place of work, and then shooting himself."
Shankle reportedly is an ex-seasonal parks employee. He also allegedly told the psychologist that he knows there is no security where the two men work.
Deardorff is Kennewick's director of parks, streets and facilities. Bleazard is an accountant in the city's finance department, according to a city roster.
The psychologist immediately notified the Kennewick Police Department and the Crisis Response Unit about the alleged threats.
Crisis Response met with Shankle on Sept. 22 and involuntarily committed him to Lourdes Counseling Center, court documents said. He was released Oct. 7 to a "least restrictive alternative," documents said.
Prior to the threats being reported, Shankle had been seen by city employees sitting across from the municipal services building complex on Chemical Drive, watching people, Whitmire wrote in court documents. Deardorff's office is located in that building, she said.
On another occasion, Shankle "approached a city crew at Columbia Park and asked them why he wasn't hired back," the documents said.
Deputy Prosecutor Art Bieker asked the court on Wednesday to set bail at $50,000, saying Shankle's threats were "fully formed with the ideation of exactly how they'd be carried out."
Defense attorney Sylvia Cornish said the amount should be lower because her client has continued with counseling and shares a home with a relative in Benton City.
Judge Carrie Runge said the court is concerned about the alleged threats and the community's safety, and decided that $50,000 is appropriate.
Richland man pleads innocent to assault
RICHLAND — A 21-year-old man is charged with breaking a friend's jaw when he tried to stop the man from driving home after they both were cut off from drinking at a Richland bar.
Graham David Barker of Richland pleaded innocent to second-degree assault. His trial is set Dec. 3.
According to court documents, Barker and Scott A. Casas were drinking with friends Sept. 23 at the Uptown Tavern on George Washington Way.
"As the night went on, Casas and (Barker) were refused service and asked to leave the establishment," documents said.
Once outside, Casas, 21, reportedly told his friend that he was going to drive home. That's when Barker allegedly punched Casas in the jaw once to keep Casas from getting behind the wheel.
The blow broke Casas' jaw in eight places and either broke or knocked out several of his teeth, court documents said.
Barker has been ordered to have no contact with Casas while the case is pending.
* Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org