A Tacoma police officer shot and killed a man early Wednesday after he reportedly pulled a gun during a traffic stop on Key Peninsula.
It was the fourth officer-involved shooting involving Tacoma police this year.
The 35-year-old patrol officer was on her way home from work just after 2 a.m. when she spotted a pickup being driven erratically on state Route 302 near Purdy, authorities reported.
She suspected the driver might be drunk and stopped him near 97th Avenue Northwest, said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the shooting. The officer also asked that a Washington State Patrol trooper respond to the scene, Troyer said.
Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said it is not uncommon for officers to make traffic stops on their way to or from work if drivers do something to catch their attention. Tacoma officers have the authority to make stops outside of the city limits.
The officer, whose name was not released, got out of her patrol car. The driver, identified as Brooks Papineau, reportedly got out of his truck and wielded a semi-automatic handgun, Troyer said.
The officer then shot Papineau. Paramedics took him to St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, where he died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Troyer said investigators found Papineau’s handgun at the scene. They were investigating whether he fired the gun at the officer.
Investigators talked to a witness who drove by as the action took place. The witness reported seeing the man outside the truck and holding something in his hand, Troyer said. The witness saw the officer pointing her gun at the man.
“Then (the witness) heard the shots,” Troyer said.
Papineau, 54, lived in the area and left work two hours before the incident, saying he wasn’t feeling well, Troyer said. He has had a history of alcohol-related issues and drunken-driving arrests, Troyer said.
Troyer noted that the man smelled of intoxicants.
The officer, who was not injured, has been with Tacoma police for seven years. She was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting because it occurred in the county. The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office also will investigate whether the shooting was justified under state law.
The Tacoma Police Department will evaluate whether the officer’s actions were within department guidelines.
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/crime
Wednesday’s was the fourth shooting involving a Tacoma police officer this year. In the other three:
• A 42-year-old man was killed after he shot at two officers Jan. 28.
• A 24-year-old man was injured May 24 after a confrontation with an officer outside a home where the man had crashed a car after taking part in a burglary.
• A 25-year-old man was grazed on the elbow after police officers shot at his car May 31. The man had hit an officer with his car.
Stacey Mulick, staff writer