SWAT Standoff in Kennewick ends with one man behind bars

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The call came in just after 8 this morning and within minutes, dozens of police officers had descended into an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Judy Johnson was about to walk her dog when she heard the sound of police sirens.

She said, "What the heck happened this time? And I looked out there and there were 6 police cars at that time."

More than 30 police officers showed up; all to try and calm an intense situation. Just after 8:00, officers were called to the Edison Village Green Apartments to investigate an assault on a 19 year-old man. Police confronted the suspect at his door and that's when a routine domestic violence call took on a life of its own.

Commander Scott Child tells KEPR, "He refused to come out. He also told police officers he was armed with a hand gun."

That man was 53 year-old Jeffry McGrath, a man with an extensive criminal record for domestic violence and weapons violations.

Judy says, "It's not surprising They've been to see him before."

Given the severity of the situation, the regional SWAT team was called out immediately. Hours went by with no sign of McGrath surrendering.

Child explains, "Negotiations were sporadic. He'd talk to us, then he wouldn't talk to us. So it was hard to piece together what's going on in his head."

The SWAT teamed used everything from smoke to flashes to disorient McGrath. After five hours, McGrath finally surrendered at 1pm, allowing families to finally go back home after a scary morning.

Child says, "It's not rare. We do have barricade situations like this frequently."

Kennewick tell Action News there are usually around 25 SWAT cases each year. Despite the situation that unfolded in her building, Judy says she still feels safe in her home.

There's crime no matter where you go," Judy claims.

And she as well as police know it could have ended worse.

Police took McGrath into custody at the Benton County Jail on Assault and felony harassment charges. He should be in court sometime this week. Police tell KEPR the SWAT situation happened after McGrath got into a fight with his girlfriend's son. At some point during the argument, the son felt threatened and that's when he called police.