Prosecutors charge armed man struck by Tacoma cop car

Staff writerFebruary 28, 2014 

There was a jaywalker, a gun and a short chase down a Tacoma alley that ended with a police officer striking a man with his patrol car.

It turns out the jaywalker, Curtis Escalante, was out on bail after being charged last month with first-degree burglary.

After Wednesday night’s encounter, Escalante is now charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Pierce County prosecutors said Escalante, 23, could also face charges of assault and making a false statement.

Charging papers tell this story:

An officer tried to stop Escalante and another man for jaywalking in the 1500 block of South J Street. One man cooperated; Escalante ran.

“The officer saw a gun and called that out,” Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

The officer followed Escalante in his patrol car into an alley and saw the handgun drop as Escalante ran.

When Escalante “squared up to the officer and reached back into his waistband,” the officer struck Escalante with his patrol car, court documents show.

Escalante flew over the passenger side of the car and landed on his feet. He then took off running again.

The officer stopped to recover the dropped handgun, which he had driven over during the incident, and placed it in his trunk.

Other officers who were responding stopped Escalante as he tried to shrug out of his jacket in a nearby doorway. He was taken to a hospital after complaining of leg pain and later booked into the Pierce County Jail.

Police said the handgun was reported stolen.

The officer remains on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a use-of-force incident.

Escalante pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal trespassing in August. His burglary case has not yet been resolved.

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