Members of the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT team, who are from Baker County, return to their vehicles Sunday evening after they responded to a call for assistance at 2810 Fourth Street. BRAD MOSHER/The Observer
by DICK MASON / The Observer
Police coax suspects out of home on Fourth Street after three-hour stalemate Sunday
A three-hour standoff between a La Grande couple and about 25 law enforcement officers, including a regional SWAT team, ended peacefully early Sunday evening.
Johnathan Lee Snyder, 29, and his wife, Kendrah Marie Snyder, 30, surrendered to police at about 8 p.m. Sunday after barricading themselves in a home at 2810 Fourth St.
Johnathan Snyder was arrested on a parole board warrant charging him with violating parole. The parole board warrant was connected to an original charge of assault. The warrant warned law enforcement officers that Snyder might be prone to assaulting police officers.
Kendrah Snyder was arrested for a probation violation, according to police.
The run up to the standoff started with an alarming scream by children, said Lt. Derick Reddington of the La Grande Police Department. At 4 p.m. Sunday, Johnathan Snyder apparently saw a La Grande police officer on the 1500 block of X Avenue while in his vehicle. Snyder then snuck out of his vehicle near a group of children. Snyder’s appearance frightened the children who cried out.
“I think they may have been blood-curdling screams,” Reddington said.
The cries caught the attention of the police officer who began pursuing Snyder. Other La Grande police officers and Oregon State Police troopers were called in to assist in the search for Snyder. The search lasted for 45 minutes before Snyder entered the Fourth Street home where his wife was at approximately 4:45 p.m. The home, owned by Terry Stone of La Grande, is one the Snyders had been living in.
Law enforcement officers then surrounded the home and tried to get the Snyders to come out. A woman inside the home came out but not the Snyders. The woman told law enforcement officers that the there might be at least one firearm in the house.
This news helped persuade law enforcement officers to call in the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT team, which was activated at 6:40 p.m.
“It would be safer for (the SWAT team) to handle it,” said Sgt. Gary Bell of the La Grande Police Department and the commander of the SWAT team.
Bell explained that members of the SWAT team are used to working together.
The SWAT team is comprised of La Grande Police Department officers, Union County Sheriff’s Department officers, Baker City Police Department officers and Baker County Sheriff’s Department officers.
Reddington noted that the SWAT team has tools available to it which first-responding police do not, including tear gas and a negotiating team. The negotiating team did not have to be used because the Snyders were coaxed out before it was needed.
Streets leading to the home at 2810 Fourth Street were blocked off by police during the standoff and people living near the home were alerted.
“We told them they could leave and that if they stayed to keep away from windows,” Reddington said.
The SWAT team succeeded in coaxing the Snyders out 80 minutes after it was activated.
“(The SWAT team) is a great resource. It has more capabilities than we do individually,’’ Bell said.
There were rumors early Monday morning that the standoff involved a kidnapping. Reddington said this may have been because one of the children playing at 4 p.m. on the 1500 block of X Avenue was adopted. The child’s parents fear that its biological father may come and cause problems, woman told police. Reddington stressed that what the woman told police has not been confirmed.