A 44-year-old Baker City man who had a rifle and refused police demands to leave the Baker City home, where he was alone, surrendered to police at 3:08 a.m. today after a 12-hour standoff.
No one was hurt in the incident that ended with the arrest of John M. Guthrie Jr. at 2010 Grove St.
Guthrie, who was convicted of attempted first-degree assault in 2010 after he shot his father twice in the head in June of that year, was taken to the Baker County Jail where is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, disorderly conduct and parole violation.
Guthrie’s father did not suffer a serious injury in the 2010 shooting.
Residents from several homes around the Grove Street house were evacuated Thursday evening while members of the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT team tried to persuade Guthrie to surrender.
Guthrie, who was released from prison in 2015 after serving five years on the 2010 attempted assault conviction, surrendered after SWAT team members released tear gas in the home.
He did not have the rifle when he came out of the house, according to a press release from Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner.
Crisis negotiators from the SWAT team had spent more than two hours talking with Guthrie by way of a phone that was delivered to Guthrie in the home by a robot operated by the Oregon State Police bomb squad.
During the negotiations SWAT members several times saw Guthrie holding a lever-action rifle, Lohner said.
He could not confirm the caliber of the rifle.
Lohner said this morning that he was “shocked” when Guthrie surrendered peacefully.
He credits the SWAT team members, including the crisis negotiators.
“(Guthrie) gave every indication, from his words and his actions, that this was going to end in an officer-involved shooting,” Lohner said. “I would have given it, up to the moment that he walked out of that house, a 5 percent chance” that the incident would end with no shots being fired.
“It’s a testament to the professionalism of that team,” Lohner said. “We were so happy when he finally came out at the end.”
The incident started Thursday afternoon when Guthrie went to the Grove Street home, which Kathy Taylor and her husband, James, are renting.
Kathy Taylor said she has known Guthrie since they were in school. She said her brother, George Wesley, is friends with Guthrie.
Kathy Taylor said Guthrie wanted guns that were in the Grove Street home.
Taylor said Guthrie apparently had had an argument earlier with her mother, who is also acquainted with Guthrie, at the home at 2323 Third St. where Guthrie has been living.
Taylor was at work when Guthrie arrived at the Grove Street home. Her brother was at the house, along with Taylor’s two children, ages 13 and 14.
Taylor said Wesley, their uncle, safely took the kids out of the home after Guthrie acted in a threatening manner.
Lohner in his press release stated that Guthrie had “made both suicidal threats and threats against law enforcement.”
Lohner said this morning that he believes “numerous factors” contributed to Guthrie’s state of mind and led to his refusal to surrender to police initially.
The first call to police about Guthrie was made at 3:12 p.m.
There was confusion at first as to where Guthrie was. One report said Guthrie was at 2323 Third St., and police briefly closed two blocks of Third Street after Guthrie allegedly fired a shot in that home.
That hasn’t been confirmed, Lohner said, but police did serve a search warrant at the Third Street home and they found a gun there.
Soon thereafter police confirmed that Guthrie was at the Grove Street home, and they shifted their focus to that neighborhood.
See more in the June 3, 2016, issue of the Baker City Herald.