A Skagit County fugitive with a history of using firearms and explosives to commit crimes was captured Monday evening after police literally chased him up a tree – while the suspect was wearing nothing but his underwear.
Curtis Lee Cameron, 26, was spotted about 12:30 p.m. Monday in the passenger seat of a vehicle that had been pulled over by Mount Vernon police, according to the Skagit Valley Herald. The vehicle was used in an earlier burglary where weapons were stolen, police said.
Cameron jumped from the car and fled the scene on foot and, for the third time in less than a week, eluded authorities who wanted him on more than 40 felony warrants including arson, assault and burglary. He has been the subject of previous manhunts in Skagit County.
The driver of the suspect vehicle was taken into custody, but Cameron led police on a foot chase that lasted about five hours before they closed in on him near Swan Road and Nookachamps Creek, a wooded area just north of Mount Vernon.
Cameron tried to hide in blackberry bushes and, once flushed out by tear gas and a Homeland Security Department helicopter, climbed into a tree wearing nothing but his underwear.
Negotiators eventually provided clothing and persuaded him to surrender.
“No shoes on, no socks, no pants, no shirt. He’s a very dedicated person to get away,” Chief Deputy Chad Clark told KIRO 7.
Cameron was taken into custody by Skagit County Sheriff’s deputies and booked into the Skagit County Community Correctional Center.
Officers from Mount Vernon Police, Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, Bellingham Police Department and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office helped in the manhunt. Police used K-9 units, armored vehicles, two boats and the helicopter to chase down Cameron.
During the manhunt, nearby Skagit Valley College and Centennial Elementary School were locked down for more than an hour and police warned nearby residents to stay inside.
Many of the same law enforcement agencies also searched for Cameron last week after receiving tips.