On Aug. 4 at about 3 p.m., some 30 law enforcement vehicles responded to a report of “shots fired” at the Lakebay Marina.
Responders included federal ATF agents and special teams from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) that included a negotiating team, SWAT team, bomb squad and a dive team.
The incident was resolved with no injuries and one arrest, and the scene was vacated by 7 p.m.
“As normally occurs, the initial efforts were to gain control of the situation, eliminate any threat and start gathering evidence,” said Ed Troyer, PCSD spokesman. “Many questions remain with facts and answers to be discovered over the next days and weeks.”
Russell Beery, 56, was the person arrested. Officers reported that Beery appeared to have been living on his 30-foot cabin cruiser for a long time, most recently at the Lakebay Marina. The extent of Beery’s connections with the Key Peninsula was unknown at press time.
Beery was disturbed by noises at the marina, resulting in three shots fired from a shotgun with threats made, Troyer said.
The PCSD crisis negotiating team worked to have Beery drop his weapon, surrender himself peacefully and exit the boat. Mention was made of a bomb at that time.
Troyer said the bomb –– inspected by the PCSD’s bomb squad and ATF agents –– was found to be some shotgun shells connected by wires to a Coleman fuel tank, a propane tank and a gasoline tank.
“The ATF agents’ first impression was that it would not have exploded, pending a more complete evaluation,” Troyer said.
What motivated Beery and his intended use of the bomb were unknown at the time of his arrest.
According to Troyer, the dive team was a standard standby precaution to help recover a deputy wearing heavy bulletproof armor were he to fall off the dock or boat into the water.
An Information and Declaration of Probable Cause were filed on Aug. 5, citing Berry with threat to bomb property with firearms sentencing enhancement, and felony harassment with firearms sentencing enhancement. Both are felonies. The declaration cites threats against three victims with the last names of Arvin, Parker and Renzo, along with an alleged threat to kill the victims and to blow up the marina.
The declaration states that Beery was talking to himself in the back seat of the deputy’s vehicle while being transported, saying that “the New York crew was out to get him and that they were after his kids.” Beery also allegedly stated that “the community was full of socialists who had the government in their pocket, and that he wanted the FBI and ATF to follow up on his complaint because local law enforcement officers were corrupt.”
The declaration also states that Beery had an odor of intoxicants on his breath.
On Aug. 5, Judge Thomas Felnagle found “doubt as to defendant’s fitness to proceed and there may be entered a mental defense,” and ordered an examination be conducted with a competence hearing set for Aug. 18.
According to official documents, Beery was confined at the Pierce County Jail with bail denied.
On Aug. 6, Jerry Arvin and Gary Parker were interviewed by the KP News. Arvin and Parker were working on their boat moored near Beery’s boat. Neither Arvin nor Parker felt threatened by Beery’s actions or threats.
Arvin and Parker both say they recognized a person under mental distress.
“There was obviously a lot going on inside Beery’s head, which got to the point that firing the shotgun into the air was more like an explanation point to his frustration in trying to deal with his troubles,” Arvin said.
Arvin said he made the 911 call, because the shotgun had been displayed and because of Beery’s threats to blow up his boat and the marina.
On Aug. 17, an eight-page forensic psychological report was filed that found that Beery displayed “bizarre and seemingly delusional beliefs which would impair his ability to maintain a rational understanding of the pending proceedings as well as his ability to communicate with his attorney for the purpose of constructively assisting in his defense.”
At a hearing on Aug.18, Judge Felnagle ordered Western State Hospital to attempt to restore competency for Beery, with a report to be reviewed at a competency hearing continued to Sept. 30.
Under Washington law, if competency can be restored, then Beery can be arraigned on the charges filed and proceed to trial.
At the Aug. 18 hearing, Beery’s attorney stated on the record that Beery believed himself to be competent, wanting to proceed to trial now, without further delay.