Deputies: Man threatened 'Las Vegas' style shooting, led officer - KPTV - FOX 12

Deputies: Man threatened 'Las Vegas' style shooting, led officers on high-speed chase

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(courtesy Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office) (courtesy Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office)

A man who is retired from the military and had PTSD threatened to commit a “Las Vegas” style shooting before leading officers on a high-speed chase, deputies said.

According to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, reports of 35-year-old Christopher James Bleavins of Lakewood making threats began coming in to dispatchers around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

When an MP from Joint Base Lewis McCord approached Bleavins, the man fled the base, almost hitting the MP with his vehicle, a Mazda 6.

The base police began the pursuit south on Interstate 5, and they were soon joined by the Washington State Police. WSP troopers stopped their pursuit at the border of Cowlitz County and Lewis County.

Officers with the Castle Rock Police Department spotted the suspect vehicle driving faster than 100 mph on the interstate near milepost 49 and said the suspect hit a semi-truck near milepost 58.

A deputy with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office spotted the suspect vehicle at milepost 42. When the deputy tried to enter the highway, he said the suspect veered across traffic in an attempt to hit his patrol vehicle but noted he was able to avoid the collision.

"He was fortunately able to take an evasive maneuver breaking hard, swerving towards the guard rail. The suspect vehicle just missed him," said Sheriff Charlie Rosenzweig.

Bleavins continued south, and deputies said he continued to drive at speeds over 100 mph while swerving towards other vehicles, even saying at one point that Bleavins crossed three lanes to stop short in front of a pickup hauling a livestock trailer, nearly causing a serious crash.

The suspect continued heading south on the interstate, whipping through three lanes of traffic while going from 45 mph to over 100 mph in quick succession. He was also passing vehicles on the shoulder of the roadway.

Deputies said Bleavins was at milepost 33 when he tried to pass a vehicle on the left shoulder when he instead collided with the car and lost control of his vehicle. Bleavins’ vehicle spun off Interstate 5 and landed against a railroad track base.

Bleavins exited the car and was taken into custody by deputies. After being taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries he was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail.

"This gentleman will hopefully never do anything like this again," said Sheriff Rosenzweig.

Deputies noted that Bleavins was unarmed when he was arrested but have not verified his access to other weapons.

The truck driver hit early in the pursuit was not injured, and the extent of the damages to his semi was not known by deputies.

The driver of the second vehicle hit in the pursuit received a cut to her head but did not require further medical attention. Her vehicle sustained extensive damage and had to be towed from the scene.

Bleavins appeared in court for his preliminary hearing Thursday and his bail was set at $100,000.

His next court appearance will be Oct. 17 for an arraignment. 

He faces charges of first-degree assault, eluding police, two counts of hit and run and reckless endangerment.

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