Three Bremerton girls reported “missing and endangered” were located by police Tuesday night after their father was arrested for assaulting a police officer.
Aaron J. Aamodt, 37, was taken into custody in Spokane after a violent encounter around 10:36 p.m. during which one police officer thought “he was truly involved in a fight for his life,” according to a press release sent Wednesday by the Spokane Police Department.
Officers pulled Aamodt over on Cook Street in Spokane for allegedly driving erratically and running a red light, the press release said.
The driver “immediately exited the vehicle,” the release from Cpl. Ronald Van Tassel states, approached officers and allegedly said “I’m going to f*ing murder you.”
After a fight that left one officer with a concussion and minor eye and hand injuries, and a second officer with a shoulder injury, Aamodt was booked on felony assault and other charges. The three girls, all between the ages 9-14, were located safe.
But it was not the first time Aamodt had been contacted by police that day.
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 2:45 p.m. from the girls’ mother, who lives in unincorporated Bremerton, saying her ex-husband was acting strangely. According to her report, Aamodt told his daughters to gather their things, including their belongings and their family pets, and pack them into the car.
“It was disturbing to the mom,” Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson said.
Based on the mother’s report, and information received by police that Aamodt had mental health issues, by 5:28 p.m. the children were entered into the National Crime Information Center database as missing and endangered, Wilson said.
Still, there was no criminal act alleged, as Aamodt is a custodial parent.
“He had custody of the children, we can’t prove there was a crime committed,” Wilson said. “It seemed kind of erratic but not a criminal act. It was a welfare check.”
At 5:53 p.m. a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy spoke on the phone with Aamodt, who was in Grant County, about 230 miles east of Bremerton. Aamodt agreed to speak with a Grant County officer.
Deputy Tim Hauff contacted Aamodt just after 6:04 p.m. at a gas station in George, Wa., according to Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ryan Rectenwald.
The officer found nothing out of the ordinary. Aamodt said he was driving to his mother’s house in Spokane, then to Idaho.
“He said the juveniles all appeared to be all fine,” Rectenwald said.
Rectenwald said that in a welfare check of that nature, an officer will generally speak with the parties to gauge if anything seems out of the ordinary.
He would “conduct a field interview, basically,” Rectenwald said. “Feeling him out, trying to get his mental state.”
Of the children, the officer would “make sure they’re fed, have good clothes, and the car’s in good working order.”
No red flags were raised for Hauff. He did, however, report that Aamodt’s headlight was out and his registration was expired, for which he issued a warning.
Police closed the case at 6:59 p.m.
“We contacted the mom and explained everything to her,” Wilson said. “She was fine with it. She said she would coordinate with her ex-husband.”
Hours later, Spokane police officers pulled Aamodt over for what they thought was a DUI, about four miles northeast of Gonzaga University.
“They observed the vehicle swerving, hitting a curb and running a steady red light,” Van Tassel said.
Following the traffic stop, police said Aamodt “immediately exited the vehicle,” and was allegedly noncompliant before attacking officers.
“It was a nasty fight,” a spokesperson for SPD said. “Quite scary.”
Aamodt, who is listed as 6”5, 250 pounds, was tased to little effect, police said. He allegedly charged the officer who tased him, according to police, and attempted to grab his gun. He then “drove his thumb” into his eyeball, and “attempted to bite his throat,” according to Van Tassel.
Eventually Aamodt was detained though he continued to struggle after being handcuffed, officers said. The three children were located in the vehicle.
“After some investigation officers learned the children were reported missing by their mother in Bremerton WA from earlier in the day,” Van Tassel said.
Aamodt was booked on charges of felony assault in the first degree, reckless driving, three counts of reckless endangerment and obstructing and disarming a police officer, according to Spokane police.
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.