Residents said their neighbor used to drive around Fife Heights on his orange tractor, acting as a sort of local handyman by cutting back tree branches and doing other favors for neighbors.
Just after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies said, he shot at one of them and at their homes up and down his street before surrendering hours later and being taken into custody.
No one was injured in the incident.
The man pointed a gun at one neighbor, took a shot at another and shot two cars and four houses in the 5800 block of 13th Street Court East near Northeast Tacoma, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
The man then shut himself inside his home, where he had rifles and handguns, Troyer said.
The man’s age was uncertain Tuesday night. Deputies said he is 67 years old, but public records put him at 65.
Authorities fired gas into the home to try to force the man out, and had friends on the phone try to talk him into giving up. When he was convinced that his two dogs would be taken care of and that a friend would be outside when he gave up, the man surrendered, Troyer said about 9 p.m.
The News Tribune is not naming the man because he has yet to be charged.
Deputies earlier evacuated some neighbors, and asked that those who remained at home stay inside and away from their windows.
Before the man barricaded himself in his home, he approached several neighbors sitting in a nearby garage, Troyer said. He pointed a gun at the head of one of the men, who asked him not to shoot him.
The gunman told him to run, Troyer said, “And he did.”
Deputies later found the neighbor safe.
Locals gathered near the police line shared stories about their neighbor as they waited to see what would happen to him.
“This time he just went off the deep end,” said Joe Strom, who said he went to Fife High School with the man.
He said a week ago, the man’s golden Labrador got loose, and as the man was walking the dog home, the pooch wrapped its leash around a neighbor’s legs.
When the neighbor asked the man to control the dog, Strom said, the man pushed the neighbor, who threw punches.
Strom said that neighbor’s home was one of the houses shot at Tuesday.
The man has two sons, but lives by himself, Strom said. A few years back, Strom said, when he and the man were both single, “we’d sit out on the porch and have a few beers.”
Morgan Stephenson said the man used his tractor to help him build a BMX track at his house in the neighborhood about four years ago.
The man seemed to drink more throughout the past year or so, Stephenson said. Troyer said alcohol apparently was involved in Tuesday’s incident.
Deputies contacted the man for investigation of driving under the influence a few blocks from his house last week, Troyer said.
“The alcohol has just gotten to him,” Stephenson said. “... It’s sad to see. It didn’t have to go this way.”
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268