A 21-year-old man was arrested Sunday following an hourslong standoff that shutdown several blocks of South Gum Street in Kennewick and drew law enforcement agencies from throughout the Tri-Cities, including the Tri-City Regional SWAT team.
Jose Mendoza Cuellar came out of a home on the 1700 block of South Gum Street in the Kennewick area after SWAT members deployed gas. Authorities first tried negotiating with him.
The standoff ended around 3:30 p.m.
Benton County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the home earlier in the day to deal with a domestic violence disturbance, said sheriff’s Lt. Steve Caughey. Mendoza Cuellar was one of the people involved, Caughey said, although Caughey didn’t have details about the incident.
Mendoza Cuellar had five felony warrants for his arrest and refused to come out of the home, Caughey said.
“As this progressed, patrol ended up finding out that he was harming himself and making suicidal statements, and had actually physically cut himself at one point” on the wrist, Caughey said.
No one else was in the house when the gas was used. Mendoza Cuellar came out and was taken into custody without any further issues, Caughey said. He received medical treatment.
During the standoff, Mendoza Cuellar apparently sent Facebook messages to local media, including the Tri-City Herald.
In messages to the Herald, Mendoza Cuellar — or someone using what appeared to be his account — gave the address of the standoff and wrote that he was being “terrorized” by the sheriff’s office.