A Helena Pre-release Center escapee accused of fighting with police and trying to grab an officer's gun told authorities "he was doing everything he could to force officers to shoot him."
Though the pre-release center initially reported 22-year-old Nathan Keith Washington was apprehended "without incident" Tuesday evening, he is now jailed on a bevy of new charges including assault on a peace officer following a series of confrontations with authorities later that night.
Officials reported Washington as an escapee after he failed to return to the Helena Pre-release Center on Colleen Street around 4 p.m. Tuesday. A couple of hours later, Washington was found drunk while walking in traffic on Benton Avenue. He was apprehended.
Officers took Washington to the hospital due to his extreme level of intoxication. Just after midnight, Washington tried to leave the hospital after slipping out of his handcuffs and ended up in an altercation with the probation officer guarding him. Police said they then tried to take him to the jail.
While in the back of a patrol car, Washington was able to slip his hand free from the handcuffs again. The officer noticed this and pulled over to put the handcuffs back on. The officer wrote in court documents that as he opened the patrol car door, Washington tried to push his way out of the vehicle and escape.
Washington refused to comply with orders and the officer used a Taser on him twice with no real effect, court documents state. At this point, Washington tried to flee and was tackled by another officer. A fight ensued.
After several minutes of wrestling, Washington reached for one of their guns and the officer was able to grab his arm, the documents note. Police used the Taser a few more times and Washington was put back in the cuffs.
Washington was saying "shoot me" while reaching for an officer's gun during the grapple, according to court documents.
One of the officers injured his hands, elbows and knees in the altercation. He was treated at the hospital and released, police said.
In addition to the assault charge, Washington is jailed on a charge of escape for failing to return to the pre-release center and a charge of attempted escape, both felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of criminal resisting arrest, criminal mischief and obstructing a peace officer.
Washington was serving time at the pre-release center for charges of drug distribution on or near school property, theft, burglary and criminal mischief out of Hill County.
He is the third walkaway from the Colleen Street facility in the last two weeks.
McCrea is described as a 5-foot-9, 260-pound Native American man with black hair and brown eyes. He has sleeve tattoos on both arms, in addition to tattoos on his chest, left calf, right leg, face and neck.
The third walkaway, 27-year-old Joshua Little Bird, was apprehended last week in Butte.
Little Bird was convicted in 2010 of punching a woman in the face with a chain in Billings. Acting on a tip, Butte police found him sitting in a chair in the entrance to St. James Healthcare and arrested him without incident.