Police say the 13-hour standoff with a King County Sheriff’s deputy at a Capitol Hill apartment building started with an alleged domestic violence assault over a fight about groceries and sex, according to court documents released Thursday.
Berdon Parsons faces charges over assaulting officers as Wednesday’s long standoff on the fourth floor of the Granada Apartments escalated after police say the deputy sprayed officers with pepper spray as they attempted to contact the 30-year-old from outside his apartment door early Wednesday morning.
“While officers were in the hallway they attempted to talk through the door with Parsons,” the report reads. “Suddenly, O/C Spray (aka Pepper Spray) started being sprayed from inside Parsons apartment along the seals of the door, therefore being sprayed out into the hallway where the 5 on-scene officers were.” The officers were forced to retreat and the standoff would then last through the morning and into the afternoon.
The probable cause document used in the process to jail Parsons before charges can be brought includes concerns from police responding to investigate the alleged assault that the suspect would be armed because of his law enforcement background. Police also say that early in the incident as officers first contacted him and asked him to come outside because of their concerns he might be armed, Parsons told officers he had a shotgun and refused to leave his unit. The document does not detail any information about weapons seen or recovered from the apartment. Investigators were awaiting a search warrant following the standoff to collect evidence from inside the suspect’s unit 410.
According to the police, the incident began after a night of Parsons and his boyfriend fighting over groceries and then sex. Police say the man identified as Parsons’ boyfriend told them the couple “got into an argument over grocery shopping” but eventually calmed down. But when the boyfriend decided he was too tired to have sex, he told police Parsons grabbed him by the arms “and held him forcefully for approximately 3 – 5 seconds.”
Following the long standoff and arrest, police have made it a point to say that Parsons received no special treatment because he is a member of law enforcement. SWAT, Hostage Negotiation Team members and traffic management resources were called in to manage the situation in the middle of one of the most densely populated blocks on Capitol Hill. “We have examples from the past where we slow down these situations… because it is an effective tactic,” Detective Patrick Michaud said. “We do understand it is difficult for the people who live in this neighborhood to not be able to drive down their road and get into their apartments, but we do appreciate that they are patient with us while we bring this to a safe conclusion.”
Parsons has served as a deputy with the King County Sheriff’s Office since 2015. Sgt. Ryan Abbott confirmed with CHS that the suspect was an off-duty King County Sheriff’s deputy who is currently on administrative leave pending an unrelated investigation. Abbott said personnel on leave are typically relieved of any department issued firearms but may continue to possess personal weapons.
Neighbors report typically seeing Parsons’s Burien King County Sheriff’s vehicle parked near the Granada and another said they believed another person had moved into the unit with Parsons in recent months. Wednesday after the standoff, Granada residents reported the hallway outside the deputy’s unit was filled with debris and damage from the standoff. A handful of windows were also broken by responding SWAT officers. Cleared out residents were able to return to their apartments immediately following the suspect’s arrest around 3 PM Wednesday after a day of “flash bang” explosions, SWAT officers dangling from the fire escapes, and a bomb squad robot finally breaching the apartment door only for officers to find the suspect locked up inside his bathroom.
According to his resume, Parsons began working for the sheriff’s department after attending Bellevue Community College and Cal State Sacramento and is a Sergeant in the United States Army Reserve.
In court proceedings Thursday, probable cause was found for five counts of assault for the pepper spray attack on police and a domestic violence assault charge. His bail was set at $15,000.
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