A 24-year-old man suspected of shooting at a Lakewood police officer during a pursuit has been charged with first-degree assault and other crimes.
Gabriel Salvador Ramirez of Tacoma pleaded not guilty Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court to the assault count and charges of drive-by shooting, unlawful possession of a firearm and attempting to elude police.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $1 million.
No one was hurt in the shooting or chase, which occurred Sunday.
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Charging documents give this account:
A Lakewood police officer tried to pull over a minivan near South Tacoma Way and state Route 512. Instead of stopping, the driver sped onto Interstate 5 with the officer in pursuit. The officer reported someone inside the vehicle was shooting at him.
At one point, the minivan exited I-5 and made a U-turn back toward the officer, who fired shots of his own, a number of which hit the minivan.
The minivan drove on, pursued by another Lakewood officer. The fleeing vehicle drove at high speed through a construction zone and an apartment-complex playground before it hit a building. The driver finally stopped, got out and ran.
Ramirez ultimately was identified as the driver and arrested.
Video obtained from a camera in the first officer’s patrol car “supports the account of shots being fired from the suspect vehicle he was pursuing,” deputy prosecutor Hugh Birgenheier wrote in a declaration for probable cause.
In addition, forensics experts found six spent shell casings inside the minivan, Birgenheier wrote.
A warrant for Ramirez’s arrest had been issued two days before the chase after he failed to show up for a court date stemming from a felony drug charge he’s facing, court records show.