A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot Sunday was responding to a drug-related armed robbery in the Frederickson area, the sheriff’s department said Wednesday.
Deputy Daniel A. McCartney responded to a 911 call after two masked intruders broke into a mobile home that the agency said was frequented by heroin users and dealers.
Shortly after he arrived, McCartney radioed that shots had been fired, and minutes after that back-up deputies found him with a bullet wound to his neck near the home, sheriff’s officials said.
“Deputies, paramedics, doctors and nurses all attempted life-saving measures, but per the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office his life was taken instantaneously,” the department said in a statement.
Never miss a local story.
The bullet hit McCartney above his protective vest, hitting his carotid artery, and severing his spine, the statement said.
The agency gave this account of what happened, based on interviews with witnesses and victims:
Four adults and two children, ages 2 and 3, live in the mobile home near 200th Street East and 45th Avenue Court East. The home had no beds and was filthy.
In the past two years, deputies responded to 18 prior calls there.
“They put the situation together, the people that live there, to let this happen,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said of the residents. “To let our deputy get shot, to let these kids live in squalor.”
He said steps are being taken regarding the children’s well-being.
The children and all but one man who lives at the residence were home shortly before midnight when the intruders broke in by breaking a kitchen window.
Both robbers had guns, and one had a large knife.
As one resident called 911, another hit one of the robbers in the head with a baseball bat. Meanwhile, the second robber searched the home.
Investigators believe the robbers targeted the residence to steal money, heroin and safes.
McCartney arrived at the home at 11:29 p.m., and four minutes later told dispatchers he was chasing two suspects across the yard, to 200th Street.
About 20 seconds after that, he reported shots had been fired, and then stopped responding to dispatchers.
Deputies found one suspect, 35-year-old Henry Micheal Carden, dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
Authorities said they were unsure whether Carden committed suicide or accidentally shot himself.
“Whether that was intentional or accidental, we’ll never know,” Troyer said Wednesday at a press conference.
McCartney fired five shots, most hitting the body armor Carden was wearing, Troyer said. One shot that hit Carden would have been fatal, he said.
“Our deputy did engage with the suspect or suspects — that’s still yet to be determined,” Troyer said. “... The bullet fired that killed him came from one of the suspects.”
The deputy’s response to the robbery — chasing the suspects despite being alone — followed department procedures, Troyer added.
Carden had a .45-caliber handgun in his possession, and a can of bear spray and a bag with two-way radios were near his body.
Investigators found another handgun in the area, along with a safe and backpack stolen from the home.
Authorities launched a manhunt for the second suspect, who was arrested Monday when a Washington State Patrol trooper found him wet, dirty and apparently hypothermic.
The man, later identified as 32-year-old Frank William Pawul, was carrying a bear spray holster and a pocket knife.
The trooper found Pawul in the 20300 block of 42nd Avenue East, and he initially was booked into jail for outstanding warrants.
Later, investigators realized he was a suspect in the shooting.
Text messages Pawul sent and received about the robbery and the shooting helped link him to the crime, as did video of him hiding in an industrial area and a trash can.
He’s being held without bail for investigation of first-degree murder, pending his arraignment.
Also arrested in the case was 52-year-old Brenda Troyer (no relation to the sheriff’s spokesman), who is accused of driving the robbery suspects to the home. She’s being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Prosecutors are expected to make a charging decision for Troyer and Pawul by Thursday afternoon, when both are scheduled to be arraigned.
The sheriff’s department said others may also be arrested.