Wanted felon in Mount Vernon who triggered manhunt, lockdowns now in custody
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A wanted felon in Mount Vernon, who triggered a police manhunt and lockdowns at two nearby schools Monday afternoon is now in custody, according to Mount Vernon Police.
"It feels good because now we don’t have to chase him anymore," said Chad Clark, Chief Deputy for the Skagit County Sheriff's Office. "He was our #1 priority at Skagit County. He affected all of us."
The manhunt began when a deputy with the Skagit County Sheriff's deputy spotted a car around 12:45 p.m. in the 2600 block of N. Laventure Road that was reported as part of a burglary earlier in the day.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop, according to Lt. Greg Booth with Mount Vernon Police. A man in the passenger seat then opened the car door and ran off.
Booth says the deputy recognized the man as Curtis Cameron, 26, a fugitive with multiple felony arrest warrants out for crimes related to explosives, assault and burglaries.
The deputy ran after him, but lost him. Nearby Skagit Valley College and Centennial Elementary were placed in a precautionary lockdown which were lifted a couple hours later as police determined the search has moved away from campus.
Police and deputies then searched for the suspect on the ground and brought in a police helicopter to help search from the sky.
Robin Brigge, who lives nearby, even offered to let officers use his ATV to comb through the water and mud as part of their search.
"Just went down here and kind of staged. And had it ready for them if they needed to go out there. ‘Cause it’ll carry more people and they were in pretty deep water and mud," Brigge said. "They did an incredible job."
Cameron was muddy and wet after traveling several miles through woods, swamps, and a river prior to his arrest, deputies said. He was about 10-15 feet up a tree along the Nookachamps Creek when negotiators were finally able to talk him down.
Cameron has additional pending charges for eluding, stolen vehicles, stolen firearms and trafficking in stolen property. He is known to frequent eastern Skagit County, specifically areas between Day Creek and Rockport, generally on the south side of the Skagit River, police said.
Cameron was believed to be armed and dangerous and his actions to elude police have put the public in jeopardy on several occasions, said the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.
"His M.O. is he flees on foot. And then when K9s chase him, he takes off most of his clothing and tries to get rid of his scent. He’ll thrown it a different way and he’ll go a different way," Clark said. "He’s very difficult to find. And so for us to corral him where he had no where else to go, it feels really good."