Man booked for defending himself exonerated

In a city where the Police Department has been warning residents of an increase in vehicle prowling and break ins, a Ridgefield homeowner was arrested on Saturday for arming himself and demanding that a suspected prowler leave his property.

Mr. Daniel Baisa, a big rig diesel mechanic who has been living in his home since 2010, was working in his garage when he noticed a suspicious individual who appeared to be prowling behind one of his cars. Alarmed, Baisa retrieved his handgun from inside the house. When he returned, the suspect advanced between Baisa’s two cars and towards Baisa in his garage. Baisa demanded the intruder get off his property. When the suspect did not immediately do so, Baisa displayed his weapon by pointing it at the ground and demanded a second time the man leave.

The intruder, a Mr. Ed Owens, left, but in a twist of irony, contacted the Ridgefield Police Department to accuse Baisa of criminal conduct. Owens reported that Baisa had possessed a handgun and assaulted him with it while he was handing out literature for Maria Salazar’s campaign for Ridgefield City Council.

Owens, was recently fired from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office after an internal investigation showed that he misrepresented material facts.

Despite Mr. Owen’s questioned credibility as a witness, and knowing of the increase in vehicle prowlers in the area, Ridgefield Police responded by arresting Baisa, who they found still working in his own garage.

Mr. Baisa was booked into jail on Saturday and held until his first court appearance on Monday morning. In an unusual move for a first hearing on a criminal case, Vancouver criminal defense attorney, Angus Lee, filed a written argument challenging the lack of evidence to establish Baisa was not acting in self-defense. Lee also called into question the reliability of the complaining witness.

The judge remarked that the legal argument was “interesting” and continued the hearing until later in the day to study the issue, hear further argument, and make a ruling.

At the later hearing, however, the deputy prosecutor handling the case did the right thing and presented the court a motion seeking to exonerate Mr. Baisa and order him to be released from custody.