Crime

11 officers who fatally shot suspected killer cleared in Tillicum shooting

Jessica Ortega was fatally shot by her estranged boyfriend on Feb. 20.
Jessica Ortega was fatally shot by her estranged boyfriend on Feb. 20. Courtesy

Marcos Perea shot and killed his estranged girlfriend in University Place, led authorities on a high-speed chase and shot at police before 11 officers returned fire, fatally shooting Perea.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the Feb. 20 shooting was “clearly as justifiable as it gets.”

On Wednesday, his office concluded that officers and deputies from the Lakewood Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department and the Steilacoom Department of Public Safety acted within the law.

Perea, 41, went about 6:15 a.m. to the University Place Care Center to confront 27-year-old Jessica Ortega at her workplace.

She obtained a restraining order against Perea the day before her death, saying she was leaving him because he’d recently held a gun to her head.

Perea fatally shot Ortega and fled toward Lakewood.

Police spotted the car he was driving and tried to pull him over, but Perea fired a handgun out of the driver’s window toward officers.

The pursuit continued on Interstate 5, where Perea again fired out of his car window, “endangering officers and citizen drivers,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

One bullet hit a patrol car.

Perea got off the freeway in Lacey and got back on I-5, traveling north before an officer maneuvered his patrol car to spin out Perea’s vehicle near the Thorne Lane exit.

Perea got out of his car and began shooting at police. Eleven officers returned fire and Perea dropped to the ground.

“While on the ground with his gun still in hand, Perea raised the gun despite the officers’ commands telling him to drop the gun,” according to records. “The officers fired their guns at Perea, striking him numerous times.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation closed I-5 for most of the day and caused a 10-mile traffic backup.

The officers who fired their weapons at Perea were Lakewood police Sgt. Andy Estes, Sgt. Jeff Paynter and officers Darrin Latimer, Ryan Moody, Jon Anderson and Max Criss; sheriff’s deputies Michael McGinnis, James Oetting, Matthew Smith and Casey McEathron; and Steilacoom officer Gregory Feleppa.

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