- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on February 22nd, 2019 the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer for the Cashmere School District, Deputy Mutch was advised by school staff of an online post threatening the safety of Cashmere High School. The post was made as a comment on someone else’s YouTube channel. It is believed person who posted the comment was 18 year old Gerardo Tovar-Medina of Wenatchee. The comment said “I was planning on shooting up the school”. Mr. Tovar has not attended Cashmere Schools for several years and never attended Cashmere High School.
The online comments alarmed several students and staff. All schools in the Cashmere School District were placed on a “lockout”. After hearing the incident was reported to law enforcement, Mr. Tovar called the school. He was transferred to Deputy Mutch who kept him on the phone while directing Deputies to his residence in Wenatchee. Mr. Tovar was detained and interviewed. He admitted to posting the comment on YouTube but said his intent was only to scare them.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Detectives served a search warrant on Mr. Tovar’s residence. Several drawings and notes were located indicating Mr. Tovar had done research on past mass shootings. There was also indications Mr. Tovar was planning or had a desire to commit a mass shooting at Cashmere High School.
Mr. Tovar was booked into CCRJC for Threats to Bomb or Injure Property.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office takes threats to the safety seriously. The School Resource Officers throughout the county provide a necessary link to the Sheriff’s Office and provide a quick and reliable contact to address threats rapidly as was done in this incident.
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on February 20th 2019 at approximately 6:55 pm Deputies were dispatched to a disturbance in the 3600 block of Selfs Motel Road in Cashmere.
The caller reported hearing several gunshots, then someone yelling for help. Deputies arrived soon after and were contacted by the original caller. While making this contact the suspected shooter, a 37 year old male who lived in the complex exited his residence. Deputies detained him without incident.
After interviewing witnesses , it was determined the suspect fired several shots into the air from a revolver near the front porch of his residence. A few minutes after the shots were fired, a 25 year old neighbor confronted the suspect. This quickly turned into a physical fight where the 25 year old struck the suspect with a stone bowl injuring him. During the fight, another neighbor tried to break it up and was pushed into a window causing it to break.
The 25 year old male was later booked into CCRJC for Assault second degree.
Deputies with the assistance of a Detective served a search warrant on the suspect’s residence and recovered a stolen firearm.
The 37 year old male was booked into CCRJC for Possessing a Stolen Firearm, Aiming or Discharging a Firearm, and assault 4th degree.
- Written by Sergeant Kent Sisson, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports that 39-year-old Benjamin Hayden of Woodland, WA was injured this afternoon while snowmobiling near Sugarloaf Lookout approximately 12 miles northeast of Leavenworth.
At approximately 12:45pm Deputy Mike McLeod and USFS Law Enforcement Officer Mike Kujala were on routine snowmobile patrol near Sugarloaf Lookout when they observed a snowmobiler who appeared stuck at the bottom of a steep slope on the east side of the lookout. After making their way down the slope, they contacted Hayden who had suffered a fractured lower leg while attempting to free his snowmobile after it became stuck in the deep snow. Hayden who was by himself had been attempting to free his snowmobile for approximately 2 hours before the officers arrived.
While the officers were stabilizing Hayden’s leg, he went unconscious and became un-responsive. Due to the remote location, a Life Flight Helicopter was requested for Hayden. At approximately 2:30pm, Hayden was transported from the scene by Life Flight to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind snowmobilers that they should never ride alone. In this case if the officers would not have been in the area, Hayden may not have been discovered until he was reported overdue.
- Written by Sheriff Brian Burnett, CCSO
(The following is an editorial and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of MVT)
On December 31, 2018, the start of my third term as Chelan County Sheriff, I swore an oath, “That I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington, and will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of the office of sheriff to the best of my ability.”
In October of 2018, I submitted a letter / guest opinion to the Wenatchee World asking for voters to vote no against both I–940 and I–1638. (See attached)
The following statement, which I am in agreement with, was posted on the Washington State Sheriffs Association page on 1/01/19.
Initiative 1639 makes significant changes to the firearm laws of the State of Washington. The Washington State Sheriffs Association publicly opposed Initiative 1639 prior to the election. As the elected Sheriffs of our respective counties, we expressed our concern that the initiative placed greater restrictions on law-abiding citizens while creating unreasonable expectations regarding how such restrictions would be enforced. These concerns continue to exist today.
The initiative is being challenged in court, and concerns a topic about which many of us feel very strongly -- our rights as protected by the Second Amendment. As elected Sheriffs, we are sworn to uphold all rights protected by the Constitution. First and foremost, we are sworn to uphold the Rule of Law and the Constitution. We reaffirm our strong support for the Rule of Law and for the Courts to be the separate but equal branch of our government that interpret that law.
In recognition of this separation of powers we encourage all residents of our state to join us in balancing our opinions and beliefs on this issue with our commitment to our Oath of Office and to the Rule of Law, and ask that you work alongside us to resolve our differences within the framework of the Constitution.
As with many other laws, the application of Initiative 1639 will undoubtedly vary from county to county across the State, based on local priorities and resources available. We will continue to monitor the process as the Courts weigh in on any challenges, and look forward to working with the people of the State of Washington to improve public safety in all of our communities. http://washeriffs.org
As your Chelan County Sheriff, I am committed to serving the citizens in a way that both protects their Constitutional rights while being both fair and impartial while upholding the rule of law.
Chelan County Sheriff
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on January 14th, 2019 Shawn Lewis, a 48 year old Entiat man was located deceased north of Entiat. He was found by a friend at the base of a ledge near milepost 221 on highway 97A.
Mr. Lewis had not been seen by family or friends since Friday, January 11th. His vehicle was located in a gravel area on the side of highway 97A during the evening of Sunday the 13th. Deputies responded to the area and did not locate Mr. Lewis. Family had already removed the vehicle and there was nothing to indicate he was still in the area. On Monday, Mr. Lewis’ friend went to the location and started hiking the hillside. He located Mr. Lewis at the bottom of a rock ledge several hundred yards from the roadway and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies and detectives responded to the location and found Mr. Lewis deceased with injuries consistent with a fall. It is unknown how Mr. Lewis fell but the hillside had snow and ice on it. It appeared Mr. Lewis had been there since at least the previous day.
- Written by Sergeant Foreman, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on December 20th, 2018, at around 2:45 pm the loss prevention department at the Chelan Walmart called RiverCom to report a theft in progress. The suspects were seen carrying various items out a fire door exit where they had staged their vehicle for a quick getaway. Chelan County Deputies responded to the location but the suspects had left prior to Deputies arrival. The vehicle used in the theft was a newer white Chevrolet pickup truck with U Haul decals on the doors. The suspects had stolen over $2,000 worth of electronics. One of the suspects was identified from prior investigations as a 24 year old male from Arlington, WA. He had previously been trespassed from all Walmart properties following a 2018 arrest.
An "Attempt to Locate Bolo" was sent out to all surrounding law enforcement agencies. Chelan Walmart staff notified the neighboring stores in Wenatchee and Omak to also be on the lookout for the suspects. At around 5:45pm Omak Police responded to a suspicious call at the Omak Walmart. The suspects along with their vehicle had been observed at this location. The suspects left the store when they saw law enforcement arrive on scene. The Omak Police and Okanogan County Sheriff's Office contacted the suspects a short time later in the suspect vehicle. The driver of the vehicle and was arrested for Burglary 2nd degree and Theft 2nd degree. The 2nd suspect was identified as a 27 year old male from Lake Stevens, WA. He was identified as the other suspect in the Chelan Walmart theft, and was placed under arrest for Theft in the 2nd degree.
Both subjects were booked into the Chelan County Regional Jail. The loss prevention director for Wenatchee and Chelan Walmart's believe since November of 2018, the 24 year old suspect has stolen over $15,000 worth of merchandise. Numerous additional charges are pending from the Wenatchee Police Department as well as other theft investigations on the Westside of the State. Charges could be amended to Organized Retail Theft based on the method employed by the suspects and the total value of items stolen between the two stores in Chelan County. Organized Retail Theft is a Class B Felony.
The Chelan County Sheriff's Office would like to recognize the Omak Police Department, the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office and the Walmart's Loss Prevention Department for their help and collaboration. It was a true team effort to capture these suspects.
- Written by Sergeant Kent Sisson, CCSO
Funeral services to celebrate and honor the life of Sergeant Leandro Jasso will be held Sunday, December 9th at 11 a.m. at Cascade High School in Leavenworth. Motorist should expect delays as the funeral procession makes it way from East Wenatchee to Leavenworth Sunday morning.
The procession will depart Heritage Memorial Chapel in East Wenatchee at 9:30 a.m., head north on Valley Mall Parkway to Sunset Hwy, North on Sunset Hwy, and then east on State Highway 2 to Leavenworth. Intersections along the route will be temporarily closed as the procession passes through. Motorists should plan ahead and expect delays if they are traveling in the area.
If the public would like to show their respect to Sergeant Jasso and his family, the recommended viewing areas are Valley Mall Parkway in East Wenatchee and along Highway 2 from Riverbend Drive to the Chumstick Hwy in Leavenworth.
The funeral procession is being managed by local law enforcement and fire agencies from Chelan and Douglas Counties.
- Written by Deputy Rich Magnussen, CCSO
Photo by Unknown - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=At4DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA359Photograph and article appeared in Popular Mechanics of March 1911, no author or photographer listed., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11767459
WENATCHEE, WA – The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Lake Wenatchee Recreation Club, is offering a free Snowmobile Safety Certification Class to young snowmobilers in December.
The free class is designed for youth ages 12 to 16 but is open to new riders of all ages. The class is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Wenatchee Recreation Club, 14400 Chiwawa Loop Rd, Leavenworth, WA. Lunch will be provided for the participants by the Lake Wenatchee Rec. Club.
The key to safe snowmobiling lies in the operator’s knowledge, capabilities, limitations and understanding of the machine. It is recommended that snowmobilers be aware of weather and trail conditions and the safety of other winter sports enthusiasts, while respecting wildlife and the environment. The snowmobile safety course training includes:
- Basic snowmobile maintenance.
- Survival skills and dealing with emergencies, including avalanche awareness.
- The proper clothing and equipment for winter weather.
- Hand signals while riding and other basic skills.
- Properly preparing for a ride.
- Riding skills test.
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfield, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on October 25th, 2018 at approximately 1:45 PM the Columbia River Drug Task Force served a search warrant in the 200 block of North Chelan Avenue in Wenatchee.
CRDTF received several recent complaints of suspected drug activity in the residence. Through investigation, they were able to develop probable cause for the arrest of two 28 year old Wenatchee male residents for unlawful possession of a firearm. The task force obtained a search warrant for the residence and for the arrest of the two subjects.
Due to the possibility of firearms in the residence and the potential number of occupants, it was determined the Chelan County Regional SWAT Team would be used initially to serve the warrant. The two subjects named on the warrant were arrested and the residence was cleared without incident. Three other occupants of the residence were taken into custody on arrest warrants as well.
Chelan Avenue was closed from Fifth Street to Second Street for approximately one hour while the residence was cleared and neighboring businesses were asked to shelter in place.
Washington State Department of Corrections Officers, Wenatchee Police Department, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, and City of Wenatchee Public Works assisted with this operation.
The Chelan County Regional SWAT Team is comprised of Officers and Deputies from the Wenatchee Police Department and Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. The Columbia River Drug Task Force is comprised of Detectives from Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department, and Washington State Patrol.
- Written by Sheriff Brian Burnett, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on October 23, 2018 at approximately 10:43 p.m., Chelan County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the 12000 block of Chumstick Hwy, approximately four miles north of Leavenworth, for the report of a male subject firing a gun at co-workers.
Burlington Northern Santé Fe (BNSF) employees were attempting to access a railroad crossing construction site via a private driveway off of Chumstick Hwy. The BNSF employees were in a large Freightliner truck and had utilized the driveway twice earlier in the day to access the work site. They were confronted by a male subject, James Carl Brown, carrying an AR style rifle. Brown advised the BNSF workers that they were on private property. As they attempted to leave and drive back down the driveway towards Chumstick Hwy, Brown shouted for the group to stop, raised the rifle and fired 3-5 rounds into the ground in front of the truck. They drove in reverse until James told them they were on BNSF right of way before James disappeared into the trees.
Fearing for their lives and not wanting to drive forward and unable to drive back down the driveway as the railroad crossing was completely torn up due to the construction, they radioed a co-worker who was approximately one mile south of their location. The BNSF workers were eventually able to escape south on the railway by using a railroad machine via the rail line.
Chelan County Sheriff’s Deputies were able to establish phone contact with Brown. Brown stated that Law Enforcement was not allowed on his property and refused to meet in person and would only talk on the phone.
Chelan County Regional SWAT was activated and utilized as negotiators continued to dialogue with Brown in an attempt for a peaceful conclusion. Brown eventually stopped communicating with Chelan County Deputies but was later located by members of the SWAT team and taken into custody without incident.
After securing search warrants for Brown’s residence, multiple firearms were located, secured for evidence and safe keeping.
Brown was booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on (RCW 9A.36.011.1) Assault 1st Degree-assaults another with a firearm (four counts) and (RCW 9A.40.040) Unlawful Imprisonment (four counts).