Man accused of holding ex-girlfriend hostage in Tumwater won't cooperate at jail

Staff writerJuly 15, 2013 

A 50-year-old Olympia man accused of holding his ex-girlfriend hostage at gunpoint for over nine hours in a Tumwater gas station Sunday refused to cooperate with jail officials Monday, delaying his booking process.

Tumwater police arrested James Wood Sunday night after he and his ex-girlfriend walked out of the USA gas station located at 701 Trosper Road about 6:45 p.m. Wood gave himself up peacefully, and no one was hurt during a tense, nine-hour standoff that closed Trosper and Littlerock Roads for most of the day.

The standoff began about 9:30 a.m. when Wood allegedly went to the gas station armed with a pistol and confronted his ex-girlfriend, who works there. Wood is accused in court papers of pointing the pistol at his ex-girlfriend and another employee there. Wood allegedly told the second employee to leave and call 911, while he "talked" to his ex, court papers state.

Wood instructed the second employee "to tell police not to rush in the store and that he only wanted to talk to (his ex)," court papers state.

The employee told police that Wood beat his ex-girlfriend in the past and that they had broken up a couple of months ago after a 15-year relationship, court papers state. The employee said Wood went to the gas station "several times a week" in violation of a no-contact order, and was stalking his ex-girlfriend.

The ex-girlfriend later told police she feared for her life during the ordeal. Wood talked about killing himself while they were together in the gas station, court papers state. He also took his ex-girlfriend's phone, and read the texts between her and her new boyfriend, as well as her texts with others, according to court papers.

The woman "said Wood was so angry about the conversations with other men that she thought he was going to kill himself and her," court papers state. She "reported she had to convince Wood that she would give their relationship another chance in an effort to get him to let her go and turn himself over to the police."

Police talked to Wood via a cell phone during the standoff. There was a protection order in place that prohibited Wood from having contact with his ex at the time of the standoff.

In addition to a loaded revolver, police found zip-ties and binoculars that Wood had brought with him into the gas station.

At the jail on Monday, Wood kept a blanket over his head when jail officials attempted to take his booking photo, and he refused to let corrections deputies fingerprint him. A corrections officer said jail staff typically let uncooperative inmates "cool down" for a 24-hour period, then see if they will allow themselves to be booked. Wood did not appear for his first court appearance Monday afternoon, but Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor nonetheless found probable cause to order him held on suspicion of five felonies - two counts of first-degree assault, first-degree kidnapping, assault in violation of a no-contact order and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Tabor ordered Wood held without bail and continued his bail hearing until Tuesday. During the standoff, a tanker truck was left parked at the gasoline station, but eventually the driver was allowed to return to the truck and drive off with the protection of an armored vehicle, Tumwater Police Detective Jen Kolb said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

jpawloski@theolympian.com

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