State and local police near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington, spent roughly two hours talking an armed Special Forces colonel into surrendering after they responded to a domestic assault in progress call just after midnight Sunday.
When Washington State Patrol and a mix of local police units arrived, the suspect, 47-year-old Col. Owen G. Ray, refused to comply with their orders and refused to leave the house he was inside. That house sits about 10 miles southwest of the base where Ray serves as the Army’s I Corps chief of staff and previously commanded a Special Forces group.
After a short period of time, an unspecified number of “victim-family members” exited the home to safety, but Ray refused to disarm or surrender, according to a DuPont Police Department statement sent to Army Times after requests were made for Ray’s arrest report.
“Active negotiations and de-escalation attempts took place until the suspect eventually surrendered and was safely taken into custody,” the police statement reads. “This occurred approximately two hours after initial communication was established between the police and the suspect.”
The incident took place in the town of DuPont, but county records showed Lakewood police officers as the individuals who booked him into the Pierce County Jail.
Ray was arraigned Monday and his charges changed slightly from earlier reporting. The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office has charged him with two counts of felony harassment, one count of kidnapping, two counts of assault and one count of reckless endangerment.
Ray’s bail amount was set at $1 million. He is due back in court Jan. 11 and his jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 18, according to court records.
DuPont police declined to detail the type of firearm Ray had or any other information pertaining to the incident.
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On Monday, I Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Neil Penttila said unit officials were monitoring the allegations against Ray and will “work closely with the family and the officer” to provide counseling and legal assistance.
“We have been in contact with local law enforcement, who have informed us that the investigation is still on-going,” Penttila said in a statement. “The safety of everyone involved is the command’s priority.”
Army CID is currently working a supporting role with the police officers investigating the incident, Penttila added.
Prior to serving as I Corps chief of staff, Ray led 1st Special Forces Group, also at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. An archived news release stated that Ray gave up command of 1st Group during a July ceremony.
Ray has held a command at every level within 1st Group, according to 2018 news release from the unit when he took charge.
He served as a 1st Group detachment commander in 2003 and as a company commander in Afghanistan in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, Ray commanded 1st Group’s 4th Battalion and deployed as part of the Special Operations Joint Task Force.
While commanding 1st Group, Ray created Joint Task Force Indo-Pacific, which controls special operations elements engaging with partners and near-peer competitors in the region, the release from his change-of-command ceremony added.
About Kyle Rempfer
Kyle is a staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the U.S. Army. He served an enlistment as an Air Force Special Tactics CCT and JTAC.