Updated: Florence man arrested following stand off with SWAT

Tear gas and pepper spray were deployed to end a six-hour stand off with Scott Willams

Dec. 23, 2017 — Florence area resident Scott Williams, 54, was taken into custody early Thursday morning by Oregon State Police (OSP), after a six-hour armed standoff at the Rhododendron Trailer Park on Highway 101. Williams was charged with multiple weapons-related offenses, including pointing firearm at another, menacing, disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a weapon.

Backup for OSP was provided by Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians Police Department.

A statement released by OSP detailed the standoff and the measures taken by officers responding to the call.

“On Dec. 20, at about 8 p.m., OSP officers responded to a report of a drunk and disorderly subject at the Rhododendron Trailer Park in Florence. While enroute, information was received that the disorderly subject and resident was threatening to shoot everyone in the park. Troopers arrived at the scene and located Williams in his singlewide manufactured home. While attempting to make contact with Williams, he pointed a firearm at the troopers.”

Rhododendron Trailer Park Manager Linda Varvel said she has had previous issues of violence with Williams, but this incident was much worse than any of the preceding situations.

“I got a call from a tenant saying he was ranting and raving and throwing a fit. They were scared, so I went down there,” Varvel said. “Normally I can calm him down, but there was no calming him down this time. He came at me and chased my son down the road, threatening to kill us both and everybody else that was back there.”

Varvel’s son Jeff was upstairs watching television, heard the ruckus being caused by Williams, and made his way to the man’s trailer.

“I went down there and told him he needed to stop yelling and screaming and he just started threatening me, saying he was gonna shoot me and my mom,” he said. “Then he shoved my mom almost to the ground and I wasn’t gonna have that. Then he started chasing me, yelling he was gonna kill us all, and that’s when I called the cops.”

Varvel said that Williams then returned to his trailer. When officers from OSP eventually arrived, he was still highly agitated.

“He went inside and pulled a gun on the officer. He’s not in his right mind,” she said. “Then he threatened to kill a bunch of other people.” 

OSP reported that repeated attempts to get Williams to leave his trailer were unsuccessful and, because of the dangerous nature of the situation, SWAT was called to the scene.

“After OSP detectives obtained a search warrant for William’s arrest, SWAT introduced chemical agents (pepper spray and tear gas) into the trailer. Williams subsequently exited, but was still not complying with commands and he was tasered. He was taken into custody about 3 a.m. and transported to Lane County Jail,” the report said.

According to Varvel, this is not the first time that there have problems with Williams.

 “We’ve called the police lots of times but they won’t come out here,” she said. “The biggest problem we have is that we are not part of the city, according to the Florence Police Department. The ambulance and the fire department will come out here, no problem, but the police say it’s not their jurisdiction.”

Sergeant Brandon Ott from the Florence Police Department confirmed that his agency had taken the original 911 call and transferred the call to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office because the address of the call was outside of the city limits. Ott added that the department had units at the scene, in case they were needed, from approximately 8:15 to 11:30 p.m.

The charges filed against Williams should keep him incarcerated for the weekend, but he may be released with no warning to Varvel or to other park residents.

“He will be in jail for at least a couple of days,” Varvel said. “I doubt he will come back here because I am turning in a restraining order today.”

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