Woman in Custody after Downtown Standoff-UPDATED
58-year-old Cathy Jo Kukoski, of Grants Pass is in custody after becoming involved in a standoff with police after her mother reported she had made suicidal statements and left the house armed with a handgun about 4:00 a.m.
An off duty dispatcher spotted Kukoski’s Ford Bronco and notified 911. Responding officers were unable to evaluate Kukoski because she kept driving off and leading police on a low speed pursuit. She voluntarily stopped at the intersection of 4th and “D” Streets, but refused to comply with officers commands essentially barricading herself in the Bronco.
After calling in the SWAT team, spike strips were placed at the front and rear of the Bronco. Negotiations were begun then and lasted for two hours at which time the Growers Market was attracting citizens and police expanded a protective perimeter.
At 9:05 Kukoski drove over the front spike strips and quickly accelerated east on “D” Street, crashing into a Public Safety Fire Engine that had been deployed to cordon off that area. SWAT vehicles immediately moved in trapping the Bronco against the fire engine.
Negotiations continued for another hour. Then officers began spraying the woman with pepper spray and using a bull horn to order her to comply. She refused and just before 10 a.m. the bullhorn went quiet followed shortly by an explosion as police employed a flash bang grenade to confuse and disorient the suspect. Then they successfully took her from the Bronco and to the ground.
She was taken to Three Rivers Hospital where she was treated and released to officers who then lodged her in the Josephine County Jail on charges of attempt to elude, resisting arrest, reckless driving and criminal mischief. Further criminal charges may follow.