A homicide suspect shot by Pierce County sheriff’s deputies early Wednesday died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
James Wall, 21, was hit by at least two bullets fired by the deputies during a confrontation, but the fatal shot was from the pistol he allegedly used to kill an acquaintance an hour before his own death, officials said Thursday.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said investigators were still trying to piece together the events that led up to both shootings.
Wall died shortly after 3 a.m. inside the Drake apartment building, where residents had called 911 to report that a suspicious man was wandering the hallway and knocking on doors.
Detectives believe Wall went to the complex on 97th Street South looking for a place to hide after fatally shooting Marlon Williams, 23.
Two deputies responded to the Drake apartments to speak with the suspicious man, whose description matched that of the homicide suspect detectives were looking for.
They encountered Wall in a hallway and fired after seeing him raise a gun and fire, detectives said.
“The deputies saw the gun come up and fired,” Troyer said. “It all happens at the same precise moment.”
Investigators believe the initial shooting happened because of a drug dispute between Wall and Williams.
Deputies had been called to the Woodmark apartments, 2425 96th St. S., about 2 a.m. Wednesday after a report of a fight and shots fired. They found Williams dead.
It’s unclear how well the men knew each other.
“They were locked in some dispute over a drug deal,” Troyer said.
Although the department described Wall as a white supremacist and the victim was black, detectives do not believe race played a factor in the homicide.
Wall has prior convictions for unlawfully possessing a firearm, assault, robbery, residential burglary, custodial assault, theft and harassment.