At about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Centralia police and the Washington State Patrol arrested a man in Centralia who was suspected of second- and fourth-degree domestic violence assault, illegally possessing a firearm and obstructing a law enforcement officer. He was also arrested on several outstanding Centralia Municipal Court warrants.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Riverside Fire Authority also responded to the scene in Centralia’s Logan District.
The Centralia Police Department received a call about the man on Wednesday night and again Thursday when he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. The girlfriend was able to leave the residence. She reported her partner had a gun with him despite his previous felony charges, according to police.
When officers arrived at the scene at around 7 a.m. Thursday, the man barricaded himself behind his front door in the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue. It took several hours for officers to make contact with the man and begin negotiations, but when he did come out, he was arrested without injury to himself or the officers.
The man has since been identified as Elias A. Galaviz, 26, of Centralia. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to jail records. He had a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday, where a judge was expected to charge him with felony assault.
As of late Thursday morning, crews were executing a search warrant on the residence to find the firearm. Streets near the home were reopened for normal operations at that time.
“Everything is designed to get him to give up peacefully,” said Centralia Police Chief Stacy Denham on the tactics used Thursday. “We don’t want anything bad to happen to him.”
These included a state patrol militarized SWAT vehicle and several armored officers around the house in view of the suspect, which Denham described as “scare tactics, if you will,” while offering extra protection for crews.
Denham described some of the newly-implemented creative processes he utilized on the scene that made the standoff process run smoothly, including an incident control board, where a diagram of the house and block is drawn out and officer numbers are pinned to various locations. Every time a change is made, a picture is taken of the board. This, he said, allows for both minute-to-minute records from the scene in case of an audit or lawsuit, and gives new arrivals to the incident a clear view of what’s happening.
He estimated between 20 and 25 officers were present during the standoff, including a negotiator. There were also tech employees from the department who came to set up a brand new printer, allowing the department to print off a search warrant, photos of the suspect and more, right out of their vehicles.
“Everybody’s educated on how the command structure works, so it limits mistakes and makes everybody safer, including the people we’re trying to take into custody,” Denham said.
Less-lethal weapons were also ready to be deployed in case the suspect tried to run, Denham said, including a 40 mm launcher that can be used to strike the legs of suspects or shoot various gasses.
“It’s one of the safer methods we have,” Denham said.
Charges against Galavis had not been filed as of Friday morning.