Man who prompted Olympic National Park evacuation pleads guilty

A Port Angeles man faces up to 10 years in prison for interfering with a government communications system.

TACOMA, Wash. — Editor’s Note: The above video of a gunman enforcing evacuations in Olympic National Park was broadcast on August 31, 2021.

A Port Angeles man has pleaded guilty to interfering with a government communications system after an armed standoff led to an evacuation of Olympic National Park in September 2021.

Caleb Jesse Chapman, 42, faces up to 10 years in prison after his actions led to the evacuation and closure of a popular section of Olympic National Park at a busy time of the year in late August.

As part of Chapman’s plea deal, prosecutors will recommend no more than 10 months in prison if he is convicted in October.

Shortly after midnight on August 29, 2021, Chapman appeared at a stranger’s home with a handgun and AR-15 rifle. Admittedly high on methamphetamine under the plea agreement, Chapman handed the stranger a letter expressing concerns about political events, his difficulty in obtaining ammunition, and his belief that a “revolution” was beginning on the Olympic Peninsula in Texas and elsewhere , stated.

Chapman then drove to Olympic National Park with his girlfriend and felled a tree to block a road to the Deer Park campground. After his girlfriend called 911 about his stated plans to die in the “revolution,” Chapman threw a can of soup at her and cut her leg open. He then fled into the woods with nine firearms and over 3,500 rounds of ammunition.

Law enforcement evacuated the Deer Park campground, trailheads, and road areas in their search for Chapman. At approximately 3:00 p.m., in accordance with the grievance agreement, Chapman disabled the radio communications site for Olympic National Park, located atop Blue Mountain. This left the northeast corner of the park without emergency communications, and the same radio repeater was used by authorities for the National Park Service search and rescue helicopter at Mount Rainier.

On August 31, Chapman was spotted by a drone in the park. He fired a shotgun at the drone but eventually negotiated his surrender without anyone being hurt.

Chapman has agreed to provide compensation under the grievance agreement to those harmed by his actions, including the National Park Service and those affected by the closure of parts of the park. Man who prompted Olympic National Park evacuation pleads guilty

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