Orcas man charged with assault with a deadly weapon

Editor’s note: The Journal of the San Juans’ mission is to report accurate information about news stories in our community. On July 15, we ran a story entitle “Charged with assault with a deadly weapon.” Several items in the story were not factually correct. We have noted the changes in the story below.

Orcas Island resident Peter William Sherman, 27, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the second degree for an incident on July 4 in Deer Harbor, Orcas Island (Note: this article incorrectly stated the following took place in Eastsound). Sherman is awaiting a trial set for Sept. 21.

Sherman allegedly pointed an Ithaca 20 gauge shotgun at three people after a verbal altercation with one of them. According to court documents the gun was not loaded, but witnesses said they did not know that at the time. Witnesses also said Sherman told one man he was going to kill him. According to the responding officer’s report, Sherman admitted he pointed the gun at one guest (Note: this article previously incorrectly stated he admitted to pointing it at three people). He added that he was consuming alcohol, stating he had not been thinking straight.

Sherman initially called the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office to report a trespassing complaint at his home, saying he asked a guest to leave and he was not leaving. By the time the officers arrived at the scene the guest had left. Sherman told the officers things were fine as long as the guest did not talk to him.

The guest was with two others in the driveway and became agitated at the officers, shouting expletives at them and refusing to identify himself. According to the report: “At one point he advanced on [us]. We each grabbed one of his arms and pinned him against the back of the minivan. We asked him to calm down.” The guest said he would, but when released he continued his aggression. “I could see there was no reasoning with [the guest]. He never gave us a chance to talk with him.” The officers decided to leave to “diffuse the situation.”

According to the officer’s report about five minutes later Sherman called dispatch to say he had a gun and had pointed it at the guest.

The officers returned to the residence to find the guest walking down the driveway toward the patrol car yelling that “we were incompetent and worthless.”

When asked, Sherman said to one of the officers that he was afraid the guest was going to assault him, and ran to get the unloaded gun from his room. According to witnesses, the guest and two witnesses were standing together when Sherman pointed the unloaded gun at them and yelled at the guest “I am going to kill you!”

One of the responding officers wrote that a witness told him, “Sherman is unpredictable when he has been drinking alcohol.” The witness could not remember a time when a similar incident had occurred with Sherman. (Note: the witness was previously incorrectly quoted as saying that Sherman was unpredictable with firearms).

The officer wrote that Sherman complied with the police and gave them permission to retrieve another rifle locked in his room. He apologized for how messy his room was. Assault with a deadly weapon in the second degree is a Class B felony for those without previous offenses.