On April 16, 2019, at approximately 2:09 pm, the Montesano Police Department was called to the 100 block of Academy Street in Montesano for a reported suicidal subject. When officers arrived on scene they made contact with a family member and two mental health professionals already present.
Officers were advised a family member had called mental health for an evaluation of a 42-year old male who was experiencing psychosis and hallucinations. The man was apparently hearing voices indicating he would be better off dead.
Officers were able to communicate with Patrick West, who lived at the location with his wife. West was discovered inside a downstairs basement storage area; officers were standing outside the fenced yard but were able to talk with West through the open basement door. As officers spoke with West, he suddenly emerged from the basement with a sword in each hand and charged the officers. West struck the fence with a sword directly in front of where the officers had been standing before retreating back into the basement. As other concerned family members arrived at the house, they joined the Montesano officers in attempting to talk with West.
West again emerged from the basement area and was carrying a sword in one hand and what appeared to be a “Molotov cocktail” incendiary device in the other; West made threats that he was going to burn the officers.
Officers and family members continued to try to negotiate with West until an officer noticed a laser was being pointed at them from inside the house. At that point, officers and family members pulled back from the location and requested the assistance of the Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Team. At approximately 3:00 pm, the Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Unit responded along with crisis negotiators who are assigned to the team.
The Crisis Response Unit (CRU) consists of personnel from the Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Montesano and Cosmopolis Police Departments as well as the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office. Crisis response negotiators attempted to speak with West for several hours with only intermittent communication.
Negotiators tried to speak with West over the phone to convince him to peacefully surrender, but he continued to hang-up on them.
CRU officers were attempting to insert a robotic camera into the residence when West appeared again armed with a large sword. CRU officers deployed less-lethal munitions and West was shot by a CRU officer. CRU officers attempted to secure the scene and render immediate first aid as they extracted West from the house, despite the strong odor of propane gas from inside.
The Montesano Fire Department was staged nearby the scene and subsequently transported West to Grays Harbor Community Hospital with life threatening injuries; West passed away at the hospital Wednesday afternoon.
The CRU officer involved is a member of the Hoquiam Police Department with over 10 years of service; he has been a member of the Aberdeen Regional CRU team for three years. The officer has been placed on administrative leave as is standard protocol in these incidents.
The Region-3 Critical Incident Investigation Team (CIIT) with detectives from Thurston, Mason, and Lewis County Sheriff’s Offices were called-in to investigate. The CIIT has extensive experience in investigating officer-involved shootings or deadly force incidents.
CIIT took over the scene last night and will be conducting interviews and follow-up investigations over the next several weeks.