Suspected shooter in custody after Chehalis standoff

Herald news services

CHEHALIS — A man who allegedly shot at passing cars with an assault rifle was taken into custody Friday after a standoff with a SWAT team at his home here.

No injuries were reported, but at least one vehicle reportedly was hit.

Officers tried to speak to Axel Struck, 50, about 10 a.m. but left his property after he aimed his rifle at them, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said.

The SWAT team and Chehalis police officers helped surround the house. Struck fired several rounds during the standoff, the sheriff’s office said.

The Chehalis Police Department said Struck was arrested about 4:40 p.m. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail and would be referred to mental health authorities, the department said.

Officers said they had been called to the man’s home previously because neighbors complained about him using his gun, but he had never shot at anyone before.

  • Request to move Flight 261 hearing rejected: A request to move a National Transportation Safety Board hearing on the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 from Washington, D.C., to Seattle or another West Coast city has been rejected. In a letter this week to Washington Gov. Gary Locke and Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, board chairman Jim Hall wrote that the hearings would be held as planned Dec. 13-15 at the agency’s new conference center, with special provisions for relatives of the victims. The governors had asked that the hearing be moved to accommodate the relatives, most of whom live in California, Washington state and Alaska. Hall said Alaska Airlines has agreed to provide two round-trip tickets per family to fly east for the hearing, and those who cannot or do not want to make the trip may watch through satellite links in Seattle and San Francisco.

  • Man pleads innocent to dog-dragging: A man has pleaded innocent to charges that he dragged a dog behind his pickup for half a mile. Melvin R. Gover, 48, entered the plea Thursday in Pend Oreille County Superior Court. He remained in jail after Judge Larry Kristianson doubled his bail to $10,000. Kristianson scheduled Gover’s trial for Jan. 2. Gover was charged with single counts of first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree manufacturing marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm. Each carries a penalty of up to a year in jail. Gover had been released without bail last week, after he was charged with dragging a neighbor’s dog down state Highway 31 because he was angry at the neighbor. He was jailed again this week when sheriff’s officers said they found 50 small marijuana plants and a 9mm pistol in his home. Gover is prohibited from having firearms because of previous criminal convictions. The dog was doing well after surgery at a Spokane veterinary clinic.

  • Teacher’s aide gets 14 months in child rape case: A Federal Way teacher’s aide who had sex with a special education student was sentenced Thursday to 14 months in prison. Nancy Alexander-Anderson, 49, had pleaded guilty to third-degree child rape. She was sentenced in King County Superior Court in Kent. The woman had sex numerous times in her home and in motels with the 15-year-old student, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The student was a former runaway she helped teach in behavioral disorder classes at Sacajawea Junior High School in Federal Way. The school district fired her for unprofessional conduct.

  • Edmonds hotelier buys resort: A Washington state hotelier has bought a wilderness resort on the west coast of Vancouver Island for about $1.2 million at an auction that didn’t require a minimum bid. Richard Beselin of Edmonds submitted the high bid Thursday for Eagle Nook, a 23-room summer luxury resort accessible only by boat or plane about 30 miles from Port Alberni. The auction drew 13 bidders from Illinois, California, Washington state, British Columbia and Alberta. One was William Heisley of Chicago, owner of the Vancouver Grizzlies professional basketball team.

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