U.S. Marshals help arrest suspect in attack

LAKE STEVENS — The U.S. Marshals were in a Lake Stevens neighborhood Thursday night helping arrest a man wanted for attacks on his neighbor and a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy.

Richard K. Erickson, 41, of Lake Stevens, was arrested and hospitalized after the Dec. 29 assaults, but reportedly left the hospital earlier this week against doctor’s orders.

During the melee last month, Erickson’s truck caught fire and he suffered serious burns.

Erickson was arrested again Thursday night at a relative’s house, according to the U.S. Marshals.

He was being held Friday at the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of third-degree assault. Bail was set at $100,000.

Police initially were called about 3:30 a.m. Dec. 29 to Erickson’s neighborhood along 77th Street NE, between Lake Stevens and Granite Falls.

A deputy at the scene was investigating the assault of Erickson’s neighbor, a 71-year-old man.

The deputy got into a struggle with Erickson, court papers show. Erickson allegedly repeatedly tried to grab the deputy’s weapon and began to free it from the holster. The deputy maintained control of his weapon, pointing the gun at Erickson and pulling the trigger twice. It did not fire because of a malfunction linked to the struggle.

Erickson eventually was wrestled into custody by the deputy and two officers from Granite Falls. The deputy wasn’t seriously injured.

The 71-year-old neighbor was hospitalized for more than a week and is recovering at home, according to his family.

The older man reportedly went outside that morning after hearing loud bangs, according to police. He asked Erickson what was going on, and Erickson allegedly jumped a gate and punched him. The man told police he fell to the ground and then was kicked multiple times.

About an hour later, the man was rushed to the hospital, according to family. He has not yet been able to meet with detectives.

A deputy who was called to the scene attempted to approach Erickson. He thought Erickson was who called for help. Instead, Erickson drove off in a red Ford Ranger pickup truck, according to a police affidavit filed in court Thursday. The truck suddenly burst into flames.

Investigators believe Erickson may have had gasoline with him in the cab, prosecutors said in court Friday.

Erickson reportedly jumped from the still-moving truck, which kept going until it struck a pole. His shirt was on fire as he ran from the deputy, court papers said.

The deputy began chasing Erickson. Erickson reportedly stopped running, turned around, yelled an expletive and swung at the deputy.

Erickson was subdued and then taken to a local hospital to be checked over. He soon was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of burns, court papers show.

His right hand was bandaged Friday.

By early this week, Erickson had left the hospital against doctors’ orders, police and hospital officials confirmed Friday.

On Thursday, investigators were told that Erickson was seen back in his neighborhood, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

Erickson was arrested without incident Thursday night by U.S. Marshals and sheriff’s deputies who were working together, said Richard Ploof, a supervisory deputy with the marshals’ office in Seattle.

They found Erickson at a relative’s house in the same neighborhood, Ploof said.

The sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit is investigating, Ireton said.

Court records show Erickson pleaded guilty in July in another case where neighbors said he was harassing them. Deputies had been called to the neighborhood in February after the man reportedly threatened to shoot his neighbors.

At least two neighbors at the time filed statements saying Erickson often was violent and out of control. They said they were scared for their families, pets and property.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail in that case.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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