He was holed up in his home with a knife to his throat. The standoff lasted for 10 hours


The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suicidal man who allegedly threatened his girlfriend and her daughter and barricaded himself inside a home for more than 10 hours Tuesday.

John Joseph Miller, 53, of the Kendall area, was booked on suspicion of fourth-degree assault. Miller has a history of domestic assault and suicidal behavior, according to the sheriff’s office.

A 53-year-old woman and her 21-year-old daughter left Miller’s home in the 7900 block of Santa Fe Trail Monday night after his behavior “caused them to fear for their safety,” according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Sheriff’s deputies were called but Miller refused any assistance, according to the release.

Authorities said responding deputies noted in their report that Miller was displaying “mental health and substance abuse issues.”

The woman and Miller have been in a dating relationship for about seven years and live at the home together. The woman’s daughter used to live with the couple, but moved out in 2017, according to the release.

Around 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday, deputies were again called to the Santa Fe Trail home, this time on a report of domestic assault.

The mother and daughter had returned that afternoon, but Miller became upset and held a knife when the mother came in, but did not make any threats with it, authorities said.

When the woman’s daughter went in, Miller became enraged and pushed both women, the release indicated.

Miller grabbed the daughter around the neck with both hands and held her up against a wall at least three times, authorities said. She did not report losing the ability to breathe or losing consciousness. As the daughter was leaving the home, Miller spat at her, which hit her in the chest, according to the release.

Both women reported Miller has displayed “controlling, violent behavior, is unemployed and has attempted or threatened suicide in the past,” authorities said.

Authorities said deputies attempted to talk to Miller at the home, a travel trailer, but he was uncooperative.

Deputies established a perimeter and notified the school district to restrict bus routes and notify parents in the area as students were to be arriving at nearby homes, authorities said.

Authorities got a warrant for Miller’s arrest, but he held a knife to his throat and threatened to kill himself.

SWAT and negotiators were called in to try to persuade Miller to drop the knife – non-lethal munitions and chemical agents were used in an attempt to get Miller to drop the knife, authorities said.

He was arrested and taken into custody around midnight – Miller was booked in jail around 4 a.m.

Authorities said Miller suffered minor, self-inflicted cuts to his neck during the incident.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt