SWAT standoff shines spotlight on domestic violence

BAKERSFIELD, Calif - Law enforcement responded in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a call that involved a man violating a domestic violence restraining order, which led to the standoff.

This, as the Kern County District  Attorney's office, unveiled a new program aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. 

KCSO deputies arrived on the scene early Wednesday morning on Dixon street, near the 99 and 58 interchange.

"The report was that an individual, an adult male had arrived at a home, in violation of a domestic violence restraining order," KCSO spokesperson Ray Pruitt told the press.

Officials say the man, 50-year-old James Stephens, entered his ex-girlfriend's house, breaking the restraining order. 

He then barricaded himself in a motor home outside the house, and threatened deputies. 

"He was brandishing a knife, at one point it appeared he was holding the knife to his throat," said Pruitt.

SWAT, K-9's, and crisis negotiation showed up to help, and ultimately a flash bang and gas were used to enter the motor home and arrest Stephens. 

The ordeal coincidentally happened on the same day Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green's domestic violence restraining order clinic began holding sessions. 

"This is just another tool for domestic violence victims to access and to get the help that they need," explained Green

Victims of domestic violence can come into the county's Victim Services Unit Wednesday mornings between 8:30 and noon to receive aid in filling out and filing restraining orders in court.

"For a victim to actually take this step which might be the first step is huge for them to break the cycle of violence," added Green. 

The service is free and the individual meetings are intended to act as a navigational tool through the process. 

Stephens was arrested on 100,000 bail for counts including stalking and violating a domestic violence restraining order. 

To get involved in the DA's new clinic, they simply ask that you call ahead to let them know you're on your way. 

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