Orcas man charged with felony harassment

The following story contains details of violence.

Erik Christopher Sherman, 30, of Eastsound, has been charged with one count of harassment with an intent to kill after allegedly threatening to shoot residents of an apartment complex and police officers.

He made a preliminary appearance on June 21 in San Juan County Superior Court and entered a plea of not guilty. His arraignment is scheduled for July 5.

Sherman called 911 on June 19 at 3 a.m., saying he was in a vehicle at an Eastsound apartment complex, had an AR-15 rifle and 1000 rounds of ammunition and was “going to shoot at responding officers.”

There are transcripts of three 911 calls in which Sherman made such statements as, “When I ditch this phone and I go start killing people in other apartment complexes you’re going to be at fault. So, you need to send the f**** cops here and they need to shoot me or people are going to die,”; “If you call the deputy, I know exactly who it is and I am going to f**** draw on them and I am going to shoot on them. I’m not f**** kidding”; “I’m going to go set up shop and get my guns ready to go. Pointing them at whoever drives into this driveway. They don’t train you for this but guess what, you’re going to have to learn today.” When asked what he meant by training, he told the dispatcher: “mass shootings.”

Three deputies, Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Hairston, Sergeant Herb Crowe and Detective Raymond Harvey met at the Orcas Island Fire Station 21. According to the probable cause statement, the officers “did not meet at the Orcas Island Substation due to the possibility of being targeted while entering and exiting the station.”

A responding deputy wrote in his report, “We did not drive marked patrol vehicles past the apartments during the incident in fear that the operator of the vehicle would be shot. We did not collect any gear from the Orcas Island Substation due to its proximity to the scene. There was concern that Sherman could ambush and open fire on officers entering or exiting the building. The area provides very little privacy and cover. Detective Harvey wore a plate carrier containing ballistic plates rated for rifle fire during our contact.”

The officers created a plan to make contact with Sherman that included entering from different directions at the apartment complex. Upon arrival, Harvey and Hairston located Sherman in the parking lot. He did not have a rifle or ammunition on him. He was arrested and placed into custody. Sherman allowed officers to search his vehicle, which had recent, extensive damage to its rear end, and no weapons were located inside the car.

According to the probable cause statement: “Based on Sherman’s threats of shooting residents in the area and threats of shooting and violence towards responding law enforcement members, coupled with his previous history of claiming he has an AR-15 rifle … I believe that probable cause exists that Sherman committed the crime of felony harassment.”

Sherman’s criminal history includes reckless driving and malicious mischief in Whatcom County.