Breaking News
More () »

Clearwater man charged with aggravated assault on police following armed standoff

The Clearwater Police Department said an officer who was grazed by a bullet is expected to be OK.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — An officer was "grazed" by a bullet as the Clearwater Police Department worked to safely remove an armed man from a home on Sunday evening.

The officer, who hasn't been identified by the department, is expected to be OK.

The man who barricaded himself inside a home at 1117 Ridge Ave. has been identified by law enforcement as James Wassman. Wassman was taken into custody without injury and later charged with aggravated assault on law enforcement and discharging a firearm on residential property.

The scene unfolded just after 7 p.m., according to Police Chief Daniel Slaughter, as officers responded to reports of an "erratic" person firing a gun.

Despite trying to "open a dialogue," with the person, Slaughter says the man began firing at officers, which is when one was grazed.

A SWAT team and negotiators then responded and got into place to continue a dialogue with Wassman. However, Slaughter said that "after a lot of time," eventually gas was deployed into the home Wassman had barricaded himself in. 

Wassman then surrendered to law enforcement, Slaughter continued. 

Slaughter also said that Wassman previously came into contact with the department back in February 2021, and its mental health unit tried to connect him with services.

Those living in the surrounding neighborhood may notice more law enforcement activity as the investigation continues, but Slaughter assured residents it is safe to return to their homes.

Nobody else, aside from the officer, was hurt, the department said.

"We are feeling really blessed that the officer suffered a graze wound and not any other fatal, mortal wound. So, that's certainly a plus. And, we certainly believe in preserving all life, so we're glad that the suspect was able to be taken into custody safely," Slaughter said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out