Standoff suspect released

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Johnston

By RALPH BARTHOLDT

Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — The preliminary hearing for a man charged with pinning down deputies in a standoff near Rathdrum last month was postponed Friday and will resume later this month.

Bradley J. Johnston, 21, who was released from jail on his own recognizance following his arrest by a SWAT team, is charged with six felonies including four counts of pointing weapons at police and two counts of aggravated assault.

At his first court appearance, Johnston was released from jail per an agreement with prosecutors who asked the court for a no-contact order.

The no-contact order against the alleged victim, a neighbor, was put in place despite objections by defense attorneys who said because the alleged victim lives nearby, it will be difficult for the defendant to avoid keeping his distance.

Johnston, who according to a Sheriff’s Office report has “mental issues,” is accused of brandishing weapons against deputies who responded to a call by the victim who accused the 21-year-old of attempting to strike him with a vehicle.

According to the neighbor, Johnston drove past him twice, Dec. 28, around 3 p.m., missing him by less than a foot, while the neighbor was attempting to shovel snow away from his mailbox.

When deputies arrived after dark at Johnston’s rural residence on west Laramie Road near Ramsey Road, northeast of Rathdrum, Johnston threatened them with a fire poker, according to reports from the Sheriff’s Office. As the deputies walked away from the residence, Johnston allegedly pointed a loaded 40-caliber handgun at the men, then drove out of the garage, chasing the men toward their patrol cars. He shined the headlights of the vehicle on the deputies while pointing a .223 rifle with a laser scope at the lawmen, according to written statements by deputies.

A SWAT team was called and Johnston was apprehended. He told deputies he has anger issues and forgot to take his medications the day of the incident.

Deputies noted in their reports that Johnston is 6 foot 4 inches and weighs almost 300 pounds.

At his preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if there is enough probable cause to warrant the felony charges. If a judge agrees with prosecutors, Johnston could be bound over to felony court.

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