A 71-year-old Puyallup man was shot and killed Tuesday while working on a rental home he owned, when he confronted a man who appeared to be prowling his truck, police said.
The alleged gunman shot at officers and bystanders, and stole a car as he fled, according to police.
Officers captured the suspect and took him to the hospital after a detective shot at him and an officer hit him with a patrol car.
No one else was hurt in the incident, law enforcement officials reported. Police captured the suspect near the Washington State Fairgrounds.
Police reported that they were investigating at least eight crime scenes and had found firearms at several.
Puyallup police spokesman Scott Engle and multiple police press releases gave this account of the incident, which he said spanned eight minutes:
Calls to 911 began around 2:30 p.m. reporting gunshots in the 500 block of 14th Street Southwest.
That’s where the 34-year-old suspect, from Tacoma, had apparently been inside the 71-year-old’s truck trying to steal things, when the older man approached and the younger man immediately shot him.
Police described the suspect as a skinny, white, and wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans.
Officers arrived, and the gunman started shooting at them. One officer reported six shots fired. Gunfire hit a patrol car, but no officers were hurt.
He also fired at multiple citizens.
“There were multiple reports of the subject actually walking down the street and firing a gun,” Engle said.
It was not clear why he was shooting.
As the gunman fled, he fired at a family, hitting their home near the 1600 block of Sixth Avenue Southwest.
He tried to steal a car in that area but failed.
“It doesn’t appear he was successful finding keys,” Engle said.
Next he headed to the 1300 block of Sixth Avenue Southwest, where he fired at some teenagers on a porch.
He had better luck lifting a vehicle when he proceeded to enter a house in the 600 block of 13th Street Southwest, where he stole a white SUV and drove it through the house’s garage door.
As he drove off, he kept firing at officers and hit another police car with the bullets, but did not hurt the officer inside.
The gunman eventually crashed into some vehicles near Fairview Drive and Ninth Avenue Southwest, near the fairgrounds, which is where officers captured him. He got out of the car when it crashed, and exchanged gunfire with a plainclothes detective. A uniformed officer hit the suspect with his vehicle.
It was unclear whether the detective shot the man, but the man appeared to have a gunshot wound, police said. .
He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries, which were not life-threatening. He was monitored by police.
Engle said there does not appear to be any connection between the suspect and the 71-year-old killed. Their names were not released.
Engle said the suspect has a “significant criminal history, and appears to be on active supervision.”
Multiple residents in the area heard the gunfire.
“The shots were kind of sporadic,” said Chris Yager, who was near Seventh Avenue Southwest and 14th Street Southwest about 3 p.m. “I heard a couple, and then I leaned out the window and heard more.”
He said he saw an officer with a rifle from his back window.
James Schaffner and Christine Whitten heard the shots fired near where the man was apprehended, from the apartment where they live with their 17-month-old grandson.
Schaffner said he could see a cluster of police cars from his deck.
“That poor man,” Whitten said of the truck owner.
Nine-year-old Dylan Pullen was outside his home near Seventh Avenue Southwest and Fifth Street Southwest about the time the suspect was arrested.
“I saw like three or four cops in a row going down, then I heard gunshots, and I ran inside crying,” he said.
Several agencies were investigating the incident. Most came from the Metro Crime Response Unit, a coalition of small local law enforcement departments.
Anyone who witnessed the incident and has not spoken to police is asked to call the department tip line at 253-770-3343.
Police scheduled a community meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Aylen Junior High School to give updates about the investigation.
Staff writer Bruce Drysdale contributed to this report.