Puyallup: News

Puyallup man convicted of stalking homeless couple whose motorhome broke down near school

A Puyallup man was found guilty earlier this month of stalking a couple living in a mobile home who he threatened would “feel the wrath.”

A Municipal Court jury convicted Gary Wyatt of misdemeanor stalking, and he was sentenced Oct. 16 to a $250 fine or community service. Wyatt also was ordered to have an anger management evaluation within 90 days.

Wyatt had been accused of harassing Samantha Blackwell and Brian Heath in September 2018.

Blackwell and Heath had parked their motorhome across the street from Shaw Road Elementary School after the vehicle experienced mechanical difficulties.

Calls came in to the Puyallup Police Department complaining about the RV. When an officer went to investigate, the couple told him they had been harassed by passersby. Drivers had yelled at them, and one man in a black Jaguar had driven by several times, according to police reports.

The Jaguar driver cursed at them, banged on the side of the motorhome and called them derogatory names, The News Tribune reported.

While the officer was there, the driver, Wyatt, returned. He denied harassing the couple and pointed at the officer, saying, “If something happens to any of the kids at this school ... if those people (Heath and Blackwell) get over the fence and kidnap a kid and rape them, it will be on you!”

Court records show no allegations of child sex crimes against Heath and Blackwell.

Wyatt reportedly made social media posts about Blackwell and Heath and called his interaction with the police officer a “Mexican standoff.” He called on other drivers to honk as they passed by and included photos of the mobile home. He said he was upset the city hadn’t done more.

Tim Mellema, a Puyallup business owner and vocal critic of the city’s response to homelessness, donated up to $1,000 for Wyatt’s attorney’s fees.

“He flipped them off while driving,” Mellema told The Puyallup Herald. “That may be mean, but it’s not a threat.”

Efforts to reach Wyatt for comment were unsuccessful.

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.