UPDATED: Benton man barricades himself in home, Inyo County Sheriff's Office deploys swat team

William Ward
Staff Writer

An armed man with a felony record barricaded himself in a remote cabin west of Benton on Feb. 25 but as of late that evening, he was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and resisting a peace officer.

According to Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun, the incident started sometime in the early afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 25, when Mono County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Adobe Ranch Road, a remote area south of S.R. 120 East, to investigate a report of a squatter in a vacant cabin.
The suspect, later identified as William Ward, 65, Fresno, broke into the property and illegally took up residence, according to Braun in a news release.

A deputy spotted Ward driving an older sport utility vehicle toward him on a narrow dirt road. As the truck approached, the deputy blocked the road with his patrol vehicle and turned on his light bar.
Ward accelerated his truck and rammed the patrol vehicle. Fortunately, the deputy was able to get out of his truck prior to the impact.

Ward then reversed his truck and retreated toward the cabin. Two deputies and a sergeant gave chase, eventually returning to the cabin.
Ward proceeded to take refuge inside the cabin, and the pursuing deputies took positions of cover and ordered him to surrender, according to the news release.

A request was made for additional resources, and law enforcement officers from throughout Mono and Inyo Counties, along with support from medics and CalTrans, immediately deployed to the scene, according to the news release.
Meanwhile, Mono County dispatch researched Ward’s criminal history and found he had felony convictions for weapons-related offenses and had been incarcerated in state prison twice for those offenses.

As the afternoon grew into evening, Ward exited the cabin, armed with a rifle, and fired in the direction of law enforcement, shouting that they would have to kill him. Ward then barricaded himself in the cabin, “and it was clear he had no intention of ending the stand off peacefully,” according to the news release.

A coordinated plan was put into place to diminish Ward’s capabilities, while allowing responding personnel to safely take him into custody.

Tear gas was deployed into the cabin, and team entered the cabin. Although Ward was still armed and fought being arrested, the team successfully disarmed him and took him down without significant injury.
Medics were standing by and treated Ward for exposure to tear gas.

No responding personnel suffered injury during this incident.

The California Highway Patrol, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop Police Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Forest Service, California State Parks, California Department of Transportation, Mono County Paramedics and the Mono County Sheriff’s office all responded to the incident.