Courthouse operations disrupted by camping transient claiming to have a gun

The opening of the Marion County Courthouse in Salem was disrupted Wednesday when a transient camping on the courthouse porch claimed he had a gun after police directed him to leave, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was camping in a tent set up overnight just outside the courthouse front entry when security deputies approached about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The entry is used by jurors reporting for their service and some employees working in the building.

Police put the courthouse on a lockdown status with deputies, Oregon State Police troopers and Salem Police Department officers responding, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

“A trained negotiator from the sheriff’s office was on scene and attempted to get the suspect to surrender peacefully,” the statement said. “Ultimately, the suspect refused to surrender and was tased prior to being taken into custody.”

No gun was found and the courthouse was open to normal business shortly after 8 a.m.

James Allen Boyles, 54, was lodged in the Marion County Jail on charges of menacing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, obstructing judicial administration and second-degree trespass.

Boyles already was facing charges of second-degree trespass, third-degree criminal mischief and initiating a false report for an incident last October at the Salem Police Department headquarters on Northeast Division Street.

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Les Zaitz is editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. He co-founded the news organization in 2018. He has been a journalist in Oregon for nearly 50 years in both daily and community newspapers and digital news services. He is nationally recognized for his commitment to local journalism. He also is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.