Gig Harbor man charged with starting fire at hospital

A 28-year-old man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he set fire to a wastbasket in the men’s room at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, after “clicking” a Taser at people entering the hospital

Jared Evans was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him to stay away from the hospital unless he was seeking medical attention.

Pierce County prosecutors allege the 28-year-old man aimed a Taser at people going into into the hospital Feb. 27.

Hospital staff members asked Evans to leave but he refused. Police were called, and an officer tried talking to the man, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

Evans allowed the officer to search his satchel. Inside, according to the police account, was a partially consumed bottle of vodka, a small hammer, folding knife, Taser and lighter.

Before police could ask Evans about the weapons, a fire alarm went off and attention shifted to the men’s restroom, where a small blaze had been lit in the trash can.

A bystander put out the fire with an extinguisher. No serious damage was reported.

Police this week reviewed surveillance footage from the hospital and confirmed Evans went into the bathroom shortly before the fire started, prosecutors said.

This isn’t the first time Evans has run afoul of the law.

Police noted in charging papers that the officer at the hospital recognized Evans, who is on state Department of Corrections supervision.

Evans has prior convictions for unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and second-degree trafficking in stolen property for trying to sell a Pierce County jail uniform on Craigslist.