WISHRAM — An armed The Dalles man was arrested May 31 following a pursuit and standoff with police that ended in Wishram, Wash., east of The Dalles.
Brandon Fallis, 38, of The Dalles, was booked into the Klickitat County Jail for unlawful possession of a firearm second degree; attempt to elude police vehicle; intimidating a public servant; malicious mischief second degree; hit and run (attended vehicle); unlawful discharge of a firearm; criminal trespass second degree; obstructing or delaying train and resisting arrest.
In a press release, Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer said he was thankful for the many law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers that “assisted in a challenging situation, and commend the officers involved for their restraint and professionalism in how they conducted themselves under fire.”
The incident began on Sunday, May 30, when the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible domestic violence situation in the High Prairie area north of Lyle. The reporting party advised a friend’s boyfriend was having a mental health crisis, had armed himself with a weapon, and was coming to the residence to “get his girlfriend,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. Sergeant Erik Anderson responded to the call and learned the girlfriend was missing a .45 caliber pistol, and was shown a video the suspect had sent to his girlfriend where he can be seen holding the pistol to his head and was making threats to kill himself.
Investigation found the suspect had eight prior felony convictions and was prohibited from possessing firearms. A no-bail felony warrant for his arrest was also located. According to the press release, Anderson was able to make phone contact with the suspect and attempted to negotiate his surrender. The suspect was unwilling to surrender, and agency attempts to “ping” or locate the suspect based on his cell phone’s location were ultimately unsuccessful.
On Monday afternoon, May 31, Anderson received information the suspect had been observed driving past the girlfriend’s residence. A short time later, Anderson located the suspect driving westbound in the 300 block of Centerville Highway in Klickitat County.
Washington State Patrol Sgt. Nate Hovinghoff responded to a request for backup and a traffic stop was initiated, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop.
Multiple attempts were made to use spike strips on the suspects’ vehicle, which was pursued through Dallesport and east in Highway 14 toward Wishram.
Several times during the pursuit, law enforcement officers could hear what sounded like gunshots, the release stated.
Deputy Mitch Kegley, Deputy Dusty Vorce, Officer Michael Stelljes with the City of Goldendale Police Department and Officer Kate Daniels with the Bingen – White Salmon Police Department responded to assist with the situation.
Hovinghoff and Kegley set up spike strips across Highway 14 in Wishram Heights and were successful at spiking the tires of the suspect's vehicle. The suspect collided with an Inter-Tribal Police Officer's vehicle before continuing down into the Wishram area.
The Inter-Tribal Police Officer was not injured in the collision and the damage was minor to the Inter-Tribal Police Officer’s vehicle, the release said.
The suspect’s vehicle then got stuck next to the railroad tracks on the east end of the railyard in Wishram, causing all Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad traffic to be stopped, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Police Department responded to assist as well.
The suspect then barricaded himself inside the vehicle, shooting a pistol out the windows at times and yelling at law enforcement to “back up.”
The suspect made numerous statements about law enforcement killing him, and later told Anderson his “only intention was to die,” according to the press release.
Detective Robert Bianchi, a trained negotiator for the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office, responded and attempted to negotiate with the suspect for a peaceful end to the situation. A SWAT Team from the Washington State Patrol was also called in to assist.
Deputy Gaven Marble, along with K9 Profi responded and two Inter-Tribal Police Department boats were deployed to assist. Sergeant Fred Killian, Detective Jason Ritoch, Deputy Erik Beasley and Deputy Jim Leininger also responded, as did Washington State Fish and Wildlife officers, the release said.
After numerous deployments of chemical agents, impact munitions and flash bangs, the suspect fled from the vehicle into the Columbia River.
According to the press release, the suspect had taped a pistol to his hand and was firing as he fled the vehicle, but not in the direction of law enforcement officers.
The suspect fled along the shore of the river to a culvert that ran underneath the railroad tracks, where he entered the culvert and swam through, coming out on the north side of the railroad tracks.
Once on the north side of the tracks, the suspect no longer had the pistol in his possession, and was warned that K9 Profi would be deployed if he did not surrender.
The suspect was then taken into custody without further incident.