Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Tacoma police.
April 12: The man roared into the urgent care clinic, complained that the staff was messing with his family’s prescriptions, threatened to slit a worker’s throat, declared he was with the CIA and threatened to bomb the place.
A sheriff’s deputy picked up the call and drove to the 200 block of South 176th Street. Two witnesses gave similar accounts of the incident, and said the man had driven away in a gold sedan. They didn’t have his name, but they wrote down his license plate.
A second deputy picked up the call and ran the plate. It was associated with two recent calls: one from a local bank, another from a motel.
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The man, 46, had a long history. He had cycled through the mental health system after prior criminal charges that led to findings of incompetence, placing him beyond the reach of criminal courts.
The diagnoses from psychological evaluations tagged him with schizophrenia. His fixations included the CIA and shadowy forces. Lacking treatment, he had drifted back to the streets.
The deputy returned to the clinic and viewed security footage. He compared it with mugshots on file, and showed them to two witnesses. One said she was 50 percent sure the man in the mugshots was the man who made the threats. The other witness was firmer: 80 percent confidence.
The man had no listed address and his location was unknown. The deputy filed a report listing him as the suspect, and forwarded the information to county prosecutors.
April 13: At 3:04 a.m., the red truck, a 2008 Ford F150, rolled northbound through the 8400 block of South Hosmer Street with no lights.
A Tacoma officer heading south noticed and flashed beams at the driver, who didn’t respond and drove on, lightless.
The officer followed with emergency lights. The truck weaved a little, turned right two blocks later and veered into an apartment complex, stopping next to the tennis court.
The driver jumped out, ran and disappeared. The officer, still driving, marked the man’s route, called for backup and checked the truck.
A woman, 31, opened the passenger door and stepped out. The officer told her to get on the ground.
“Do I have to?”
She did. The officer cuffed the woman and seated her in the patrol car. She gave her name. The officer ran it through records. The woman had a pair of active arrest warrants.
The officer asked about the driver. The woman gave a name and said he was “just a friend who picked her up on the corner.”
The officer said he didn’t believe it. The woman gave another name for the driver, and another. Finally, she gave a real name and said the man, 32, was her boyfriend and they lived together. He ran because he had warrants, she said. The officer checked and confirmed it.
Inside the truck, on the front seat, the officer found drug debris: pipes, foil, straws, lighters and the whiff of heroin. The woman said she’d used earlier that day.
The officer booked the woman into the Pierce County Jail on the warrants, and logged the missing driver’s information for future reference.
April 13: The Tacoma officer wanted to talk about threats and a knife. The 33-year-old man wanted to discuss the shambles of his life.
The dispatch call reported intimidation with a weapon. The officer drove to an apartment complex in the 1800 block of South 93rd Street.
She soon spotted the suspect, who wore a red hat and a black jacket. The officer cuffed him and found no weapon.
What was going on?
The man started crying. He said he did nothing wrong, and this was so messed up. Asked about the present, he talked about the past, reeling off a cycle of stories.
What about the knife?
“I normally have a knife, but I don’t have it on me now,” the man said. “I was just holding my phone charger and all the cords.”
The man blamed the man who called police for his troubles.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” the man said. “I was about to leave. I was just packing my things to move out to Spanaway.”
The officer spoke to the 25-year-old man who called 911. The man said the trouble started with an argument: He’d told the 33-year-old to leave the residence. The guy was a meth user and had to go.
The 33-year-old got mad and pulled a knife from his pocket, the younger man said, and threatened to cut him.
The younger man said that it wasn’t the first threat. He wanted a no-contact order that would keep the older man away.
The officer hadn’t found a knife, but the reported threats were enough for an arrest. She booked the older man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of harassment.