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Joint Base Lewis-McChord colonel accused of beating wife during police stand-off

Col. Owen Ray speaks to reporters at the Pentagon in 2019.

JOE LACDAN/U.S. ARMY

By STACIA GLENN | The News Tribune | Published: December 29, 2020

TACOMA, Wash. (Tribune News Service) The chief of staff assigned to I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is accused of beating his wife in front of their children and repeatedly threatening to kill himself during a stand-off with police at the family's DuPont home.

On Monday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Col. Owen Ray, 47, with first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of felony harassment and reckless endangerment. He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

Ray formerly led 1st Special Forces Group at JBLM before becoming I Corps chief of staff in July.

An I Corps spokesman said Monday Ray has been suspended.

Charging papers say Ray argued with his wife on Sunday and she hid from him in the bedroom of their youngest children.

She heard him say "Let's do this" before going into the garage where he stored guns and coming back into the home, records say. His wife called the police.

He pointed a gun at her and "proceeded to kick (his wife) over and over with his boots in the face and chest," prosecutors wrote in the charging papers. "The two children had woken up and were screaming, 'Don't kill mom, don't shoot us.'"

Police arrived at the family's home about 12:15 a.m., and Ray let his wife and children leave the house about 15 minutes later, charging papers said.

It was just before 1 a.m. before officers got Ray on the phone and asked him to come out so he could be taken into custody.

Ray talked about his extensive training in combat and experience with the 1st Special Forces Group, records say.

"He stated that he had killed a lot of people and he had no problem killing law enforcement if they made attempts to arrest him," records say.

At one point during the two-hour stand-off, police say they spotted Ray holding a pistol to his head while standing on the balcony. He was also seen holding a rifle inside the home.

Police arrested him after Ray came outside.

Two handguns and a shotgun were found in the master bedroom. Multiple firearms were found in a garage safe.

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