James Barnum Charged in Merrill Field Inn Police Shooting
Faces attempted murder and assault charges
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man with a lengthy criminal record has been charged with attempted murder of an Anchorage police officer and two counts of assault in Thursday’s shootout and standoff at the Merrill Field Inn.
Jason Walter Barnum shot and wounded an Anchorage police officer in the incident.
APD won’t release the police officers name, per department protocol, but sources tell KTVA it is Senior Patrol Officer Dan Thyen, who has been with the force for more than 10 years.
Thyen was grazed by a bullet and released from Providence Hospital Thursday afternoon.
Barnum opened fire from a bathroom in room 209 of the Merrill Field Inn after officers had entered the motel room, using a gun police said was stolen in a Wednesday Hillside robbery.
Police returned fire, wounding him in one arm, despite previous speculation that he had been hit in both. He was taken to Alaska Regional to recover and was arrested and taken to jail after being treated.
He was arraigned Friday at Anchorage Jail Court.
According to charging documents, break-ins early in the week are what brought police to the East Anchorage motel. They had spotted a car “associated with the break-ins.”
Three officers went to investigate the room, where three criminals with outstanding warrants were hiding.
Stephanie Callis, who was in room 209 during the confrontation, said all three people knew officers were outside.
Callis had a outstanding warrant for failing to appear after being charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon.
According to charging documents, after arriving is when things got “confusing.” Barnum and Callis fled to the bathroom, while the third man, Sam Williams Jr., attempted to stall officers. He allegedly told officers that Callis was sick; at that time she began faking vomiting sounds.
Barnum later confirmed that he told the woman to do so.
Police demanded she come out of the bathroom and at that time Barnum fired his weapon.
In an interview later, Barnum told officers he is a heroin addict and the robberies were supplying his habit. He told a jail court judge Friday that he is unemployed and admitted to being a burglar. On his Facebook page he wrote “I work in Hell,” and “I is the Devil.”
Barnum has a long criminal record dating back to 1993, including resisting arrest, larceny and various theft and burglary charges.
Barnum is also charged with providing officers false information and possession of an illegal substance, both misdemeanors, and is being held on $500,000 bail. He was appointed a public defender and will be back in court on September 18.