3 JPD officers assaulted with bear spray

A 29-year-old Juneau man was arrested Thursday for spraying three police officers in the face with bear spray as they responded to a disturbance on Glacier Highway, police said.

Juneau Police Department spokesman Lt. David Campbell said that at 1:40 p.m., a 31-year-old man in the 3400 block of Glacier Highway called 911, saying that Timothy James was threatening to kill people at a nearby facility and had “pulled” on him.

“Officers spoke to (James) real briefly at a distance. When they got closer, he produced a can of bear spray,” Campbell told the Empire by phone.

Two of the officers were directly sprayed in the face. The third officer only had residual exposure and was able to maintain a safe scene, Campbell said.

Police said James then fled the area on foot. Two other JPD officers responded and at approximately 2:09 p.m., found him at Twin Lakes across from Hospital Drive.

The three officers sprayed were treated on scene by ambulance personnel, according to a JPD press release. All three officers returned to duty later that day.

Campbell said officers are trained to handle pepper spray attacks, but bear spray covers a greater distance and is designed to leave a sticky, orange substance on those sprayed.

“It is incredibly painful and takes away your ability to see real clearly,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he could not disclose the name of the facility where James was allegedly threatening people, and he did not know how many people were nearby at the time.

JPD arrested James for three counts of assault on a police officer, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. James was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and held in lieu of $3,000 bail.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

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