Neighbors grateful for police action at Cd’A apartment complex

They are still talking about it.

Neighbors in the Silver Lake Apartments on the 600 block of W. Wilbur Avenue in Coeur d’Alene gathered in the parking lot Wednesday where police the previous night used an armored SWAT vehicle, flash bangs and pepper gas to arrest James L. Crile Jr., 42, on a misdemeanor warrant following an eight-hour standoff.

Crile was wanted for two probation violations stemming from a violation of a no-contact order, and a conviction on a weapons charge.

The standoff that started around 5 p.m. Tuesday required evacuating part of the apartment complex and didn’t end until after midnight. Neighbors from two blocks away stood in the street, or in their backyards for hours watching as officers from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department served the warrants, accompanied by fireworks.

“Holy smokes, it was loud,” said Jake Farley who watched from a neighbor’s porch. “There was shouting, lots of demands, then there were flashbangs and they shot gas canisters.”

After police pumped several canisters of tear gas into the apartment, Crile surrendered around 1 a.m., neighbors said.

“They hog-tied him,” Taylor Crane said. “Then they put him on a stretcher and took him away in the ambulance.”

At his first appearance Wednesday afternoon in Coeur d’Alene magistrate court, Crile’s hair was disheveled and he wore a long, sleeveless coat, instead of the usual jailhouse apparel. A small tattoo was barely visible on his right bicep.

He asked the judge how many days he has left to serve in jail for one of the counts — more than 200 — and was told he may be transported to Fremont County for an additional probation violation. The $10,000 bond posted for his arrest remains in place.

Christine Bateman, who lives in the same complex as the apartment Crile shared with his girlfriend, Amy Recio, was among apartment residents who didn’t get much sleep because of the police standoff with Crile, who had locked himself in a third-floor apartment and refused to budge. Recio was not in the apartment at the time of the standoff.

“I didn’t get to bed until 4, and I had a meeting at 7,” Bateman said.

Bateman filmed the incident on her cellphone and took pictures of holes in the siding of the apartment exterior, near Crile’s living-room window, that were caused by the police flashbangs. Bateman credits police for their handling of the standoff. Officers circulated among residents keeping neighbors informed of the happenings and kept the atmosphere light despite the circumstances.

“I was impressed,” she said. “We were all more concerned that he may have weapons in there.”

Neighbors said the incident started around suppertime as patrol officers stationed their cars in front, behind and alongside the apartments. Fire and first-responder vehicles staged along Wilbur Avenue as officers sought to confirm warrant information and learn which apartment was Crile’s, Coeur d’Alene police Capt. David Hagar said.

“We had to get a search warrant for the house,” Hagar said. “He had a couple different addresses of record.”

Police used bullhorns to prod Crile out of his apartment, threatening to call the SWAT team if Crile didn’t give himself up. Around 10 p.m., the special team, with its armored vehicle and K9 units arrived.

“We look at the totality of things,” Hagar said. “We look at his previous violations, and the information that he had weapons.”

Hagar compared the case to the recent killing of Kelly Pease allegedly by her ex-fiancee who had also violated a no-contact order. The student nurse and mother of five was found dead in a car last month at Kootenai Health. Steven Denson, her ex-fiancee, took his own life when confronted by law enforcement the following day.

“People say (Crile) was only wanted on a misdemeanor warrant,” Hagar said. But Denson was also wanted for violating a no-contact order, he said.

“We take domestic violence very seriously,” he said.

Neighbors at Silver Lake Apartments recognized the parallel.

“I was like, damn, go get that dude,” Crane said. “I was more worried about his dog than I was about him.”

Trixie, the dog, was fine, although she was covered in tear-gas powder, he said.

Wednesday afternoon Austin Parent, who works for Whitewater Creek, owner of the apartment complex, fixed a door that police broke to enter Crile’s apartment. The air inside was still sharp with tear gas.

“When I got here this morning you couldn’t stay in there for more than a minute at a time without (coughing).” Parent said. He replaced the siding, hadn’t gotten to the broken windows, and expects the entire apartment will have to be cleaned to get rid of the tear gas. Whitewater will likely end up paying for the damages although Criles and Recio — who was evicted for harboring a fugitive — will be billed, he said.

“We’ll end up eating it,” Parent said.

Bateman knew Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore, who was shot to death by an assailant less than two years ago a mile west and on the same street as the Silver Lake Apartments. She plans to bring police cookies this week for their handling of Tuesday’s standoff.

“I have got to do something nice for them.” she said. “They really do put their life on the line.”


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