Park arrestee’s federal hearing set; heavily armed man talked of revolution

A heavily armed Port Angeles man who was holed up in Olympic National Park for more than two days after allegedly warning of an insurgency and assaulting a woman he was arguing with remained in federal detention Thursday.

A charge of domestic violence assault-striking, beating or wounding was filed Wednesday, Sept. 1, against Caleb Jesse Chapman, 41, in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, where he made his first court appearance.

He was arrested without incident earlier that day.

The woman he allegedly assaulted warned he has violent tendencies toward law enforcement, according to the federal complaint.

Judge Theresa Fricke had set a Sept. 7 detention hearing for Chapman, who is being held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac.

The assault charge is punishable by up to a year imprisonment.

Hurricane Ridge Road, which had been closed since 6 p.m. on Aug. 29 because of the incident, was reopened Sept. 1.

Obstruction Point Road reopened Sept. 2.

Park officials closed Deer Park Road last week at the park entrance where a dirt road begins 9 miles from the 5,400-foot-elevation Deer Park Campground; that is where the alleged assault occurred, and where investigators have been working.

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said last week that Chapman was arrested at the campground at about midnight on Sept. 1. Chapman had eight firearms in his possession and provisions.

Chapman had left the campground about 6 a.m. on Aug. 29 following an altercation with the woman during which he allegedly hit her with a soup can, lacerating her leg, and repeatedly struck her in the head against a car seat, according to the federal complaint.

The woman told an FBI agent Campbell left the campground wearing a black tactical vest, a sleeveless shirt and jeans while armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and multiple handguns.

A park service spokesperson said he had food and water.

“(The woman) told agents that Chapman had been talking about a ‘revolution’ and he believes that there is going to be an armed conflict with the government,” the woman said.

“(The woman) told investigators that she does not believe that Chapman will harm the public but believes he will act violently towards law enforcement if he feels threatened.”

According to the complaint, Chapman had begun acting erratically at about midnight, six hours earlier, after using methamphetamine, and two hours later dropped off his children with a relative while with the woman.

The two dropped off a note to another party — who, like the woman, is identified in the complaint by the person’s initials — that “discussed Chapman’s grievances with the White House, his difficulty purchasing ammunition, and his belief that an imminent revolution would be occurring within the next 30 days, beginning in Texas and the Olympic Peninsula.”

During the visit, Chapman was armed with an AR-15 rifle and with a handgun that was concealed in his rear waistband, according to the complaint.

Between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Aug. 29, Chapman drove the two to Deer Park Campground, on the way stopping and walking into the woods.

“Shortly thereafter, (the woman) observed embers from a fire observable from Chapman’s location,” according to the complaint.

“Upon his return to the truck, Chapman smelled of gasoline.”

Chapman “became very upset” after they arrived at the campground, telling her she was going to die because of the revolution and making suicidal comments, according to the complaint.

He then allegedly attacked the woman before leaving the campground, walking into the woods “while yelling and screaming,” the complaint said.

Information was unavailable last week on where Chapman was between the time he left the campground and his arrest.

The sheriff’s office, FBI and other federal and area law enforcement agencies helped the National Park Service find Chapman. Port Angeles Police Department negotiators coaxed him into peacefully surrendering, Police Chief Brian Smith said.

Police department negotiators talked with Chapman by cellphone for 45 minutes before he surrendered peacefully to authorities, Smith said last week.

Smith said they and an FBI agent were stationed at the Sequim Police Department, using an aerial drone to monitor the Deer Park area where Chapman was located.

“The preparations that went into that took most of the day,” Smith said.

Chapman is being investigated for any connection to a 10,000-square-foot fire that was reported at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 29, of damaging a radio repeater and of cutting down trees to block Deer Park Road, all incidents that happened within Olympic National Park.

Park staff responded Sunday morning to a report of a suspicious vehicle associated with two downed trees and three cut with a chainsaw.

The fire was on Hurricane Ridge Road above the intersection with Mount Angeles Road that was extinguished by District 2 firefighters.

The Blue Mountain radio repeater at Deer Park that was damaged was repaired and went back online mid-morning on Sept. 2.

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