Pierce County deputy's fatal shooting of Yelm man ruled justifiable

Staff writerApril 10, 2013 

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy acted justifiably when he shot and killed a Yelm man who pulled a gun on him during a traffic stop, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced Tuesday.

Deputy Martin Zurfluh feared for his life when Wayne Craddock, 50, pointed a handgun at him during the Oct. 12 confrontation alongside state Route 702 near 64th Avenue South.

“His actions at the time of the shooting indicate this is another sad case of suicide-by-cop,” Lindquist said.

Craddock died of gunshot wounds to his head and torso. He was drunk at the time of the shooting, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Zurfluh, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department for six years, pulled Craddock over and determined that Craddock’s driver’s license was suspended. The deputy ordered him to get out of his truck, which Craddock did, but then abruptly got back inside.

Investigators said he was “worked up.”

When Craddock stepped out of his truck again, he allegedly raised a gun toward Zurfluh, who opened fire out of fear for his life, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

A .45-caliber handgun was found near Craddock’s body. He never shot at the deputy.

According to prosecutors, witnesses told deputies that Craddock had told them earlier in the day that he was upset about his financial situation and said, “I’ve had it. If I get pulled over, I’ve got my gun. This is it.”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653 stacia.glenn@ thenewstribune.com

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