5 arrested in Pierce County for allegedly using firearms, not fireworks
Here is a piece of Fourth of July etiquette advice from Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.
Do not gather your pals, your beer, your assault weapons and a few handguns and shoot up a quarry in a no-shooting zone, especially if you are a felon and/or have warrants out for your arrest from Spokane to Seattle to Tacoma.
Do not assume law enforcement officers will be so busy busting fireworks offenders that they will not notice your afternoon entertainment.
Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, people near Waller Road and East 48th Street started calling 911 to report automatic weapons fire. The shooting was so heavy, random and widespread that the first deputies to respond thought they were under attack.
They radioed for backup.
“I got the call, and it sounded pretty bad,” said Pastor, who always works on the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, the department’s busiest days. “By the end of the evening, there will be between 2,000 and 3,000 calls.”
If the members of the shooting party thought no one would notice them because they’d gone over a hill and down into a quarry with only a few houses nearby, they were wrong.
“There were 10 or more units at the scene, including people from Tacoma and Puyallup,” Pastor said. “We back each other up and cooperate with one another.”
The extra units came in handy. There were 11 men and one woman at the scene. Only six would go home on their own.
“We ended up arresting five people and confiscating seven guns,” Pastor said. “There were a couple of assault rifles, and the rest were handguns. There will probably be four more arrests as we investigate.”
Several of the shooters had arrest warrants, Pastor said, including the guy who, as he was being helped into the back of a patrol car, mentioned that he was wanted, and not in a good way, in Seattle and Spokane.
Others were felons who were not allowed to have firearms.
Before the law arrived, they had enjoyed many beers.
“These people thought they should celebrate the nation’s birthday by cranking off rounds from assault weapons in a quarry,” Pastor said. “I am not sure that gunfire is the proper means of celebration. They do that in downtown Beirut.”