Shoplifting suspect shot dead in Centralia

A 43-year-old Centralia man was shot and killed Sunday morning after being confronted by a Centralia Police officer, following a report that the man had shoplifted a burrito from an area store. After confronting the suspect, a fight ensued between the man, the officer and his German Shepherd K-9.

According to Centralia Police:

About 10 a.m. Sunday, the officer responded to a report of a man who had just shoplifted a burrito from a store at 520 South Tower Ave. The officer later found the man across the street from the store in a bank parking lot at 604 South Tower Ave.

Here’s what happened next, according to police:

“When the officer exited his patrol car the suspect became belligerent. The officer approached the suspect and when he attempted to place him into custody a fight ensued. The officer, a 15-year veteran of the Centralia Police Department, and also a K-9 officer, deployed his K-9 to assist with the arrest. While fighting with the suspect the officer called for backup. As the fight continued, the suspect attempted to reach into his pocket, but the K-9 grabbed a hold of the suspect’s arm preventing him from pulling his hand from his pocket. The K-9 momentarily released his hold on the suspect. The suspect then put his hand back into his pocket and pulled out a handgun. At this point, the K-9 bit onto the arm of the suspect again and the officer observed the weapon. The officer then drew his duty weapon and fired at least one round striking the suspect.”

The suspect died at the scene.

Centralia Police Officer John Panco said Sunday that the officer, as a result of the shooting, will be put on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete.