Yakima grocery store theft leads to dangerous 14-hour SWAT standoff

Yakima Police Cars

YAKIMA, Wash. — A 14-hour standoff stemming from a theft at a local grocery store concluded with the arrest of a 40-year-old man on Monday afternoon.

According to an alert from the Yakima Police Department, officers were made privy to the theft on November 22, 2021. The suspect, who has been identified as Leon Searles, allegedly became combative when he was confronted by a security guard. He fled the area, but officers were able to locate him at his home in the area.

Searles was accused of threatening police officers with his firearms. A person familiar with the inside of his home alerted YPD officers and the regional SWAT team that he possessed several firearms including a high-powered rifle.

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Officers and SWAT personnel attempted to negotiate with Searles, who refused to cooperate. In fact, he fired several gunshots from inside of his home to threaten local law enforcement.

Tactical officers used breach techniques to access the home after hours of trying to negotiate peacefully. Danger was present to police officers and the community, forcing local authorities to forcefully enter the suspect’s home and arrest him.

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Searles was arrested and booked into the Yakima County Jail on a plethora of felony charges related to the standoff and theft. He was not injured during the incident, and officers did not fire lethal firearms during their response.

However, breaching techniques were required due to the danger posed by the suspect after barricading himself inside his home.

This is a breaking news story. An update and/or follow-up may be issued if further details are revealed.


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