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Armed man who prompted Olympic National Park closure accused of assaulting woman

The Olympic Mountains are seen beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, near Port Angeles in July 2019.
Elaine Thompson
The Associated Press file
The Olympic Mountains are seen beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, near Port Angeles in July 2019.

A Port Angeles man remains in jail as he awaits transfer to federal custody for allegedly assaulting a woman with whom he was in a relationship at Olympic National Park.

The Sunday incident closed some of the park while authorities searched for an armed man who had ranted about an impending revolution, according to court documents.

After disappearing into the woods wearing a tactical vest and carrying an assault-style rifle, a shotgun and handguns on Sunday, Caleb Chapman, 41, was arrested Tuesday evening. No information about the circumstances of his arrest has been released.

A federal complaint on Wednesday accusing Chapman of assault by striking, beating or wounding was filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

U.S. attorneys have requested a detention hearing but it's unclear from court records when Chapman will appear in federal court. It wasn't immediately known if he has a lawyer to comment on his behalf.

According to the complaint, Chapman began acting erratically after using meth on Sunday, delivering notes to two acquaintances around 2 a.m. The notes apparently described Chapman’s grievances with the White House, his difficulty in buying ammunition and his contention that “an imminent revolution” would start in the next 30 days in Texas and on the Olympic Peninsula, the complaint said.

Chapman’s girlfriend later told agents that while driving to the Deer Park campground, Chapman stopped his truck and walked into the woods. She said she saw embers from a fire and that he returned smelling of gasoline, according to the complaint.

A fire was reported Sunday near power lines on the Hurricane Ridge parkway, park officials said.

After arriving at the campground around 6 a.m., Chapman became upset, told his girlfriend she was going to die because of the revolution, made suicidal comments and threw a can of soup which cut the woman's leg, according to the complaint. He is then accused of repeatedly slamming the woman’s head against a car seat before walking away “screaming and yelling,” it says.

The girlfriend told agents she was concerned that he’d act violently toward law enforcement officers if he felt threatened, the federal complaint says.

Hurricane Ridge Road and Obstruction Point Road were temporarily closed to the public, but have reopened. Deer Park Road and the campground remained closed as of Thursday afternoon.

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