Crime

Deputies shoot 2 people in separate confrontations. One died, one is in critical condition

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot an armed suicidal man late Thursday, about a half hour before different deputies shot and injured a man during a pursuit that ended in Port Orchard.
Pierce County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot an armed suicidal man late Thursday, about a half hour before different deputies shot and injured a man during a pursuit that ended in Port Orchard. KIRO-TV Courtesy

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies shot two people – one fatally and one critically – late Thursday when confronted with an armed man and another who led deputies on a high-speed chase into another county.

The incidents took place less than an hour apart and involved different deputies.

The first happened just after 10 p.m., when deputies tried to pull over a stolen Acura in the 5500 block of Key Peninsula Highway North.

The driver later was identified as a 35-year-old man with a state Department of Corrections warrant for unlawful possession of a firearm.

The Sheriff’s Department gave this account of the incident:

The driver took off at 80 miles per hour, ran several traffic lights and managed to swerve around sticks laid down by deputies in hopes of stopping the car.

As Acura entered Kitsap County, deputies there threw down sticks in the road that flattened the car’s tires and forced it to stop on Olney Road.

“During contact, a Pierce County deputy fired at the vehicle, injuring the driver,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

It’s unclear what prompted the deputy to shoot. Investigators have not yet interviewed him.

The wounded man was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he is listed in critical condition. A 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat was taken to the hospital with an unrelated medical problem. She was not shot.

Olney Road between Southeast Horstman Road and Beach Drive was closed until 6:15 a.m. Friday while the scene was processed.

Bremerton police are investigating that shooting.

The second confrontation took place about 11 p.m. in the 2000 block of 78th Street Court East near Midland.

Deputies were called after a mother reported that her son was suicidal, had taken methamphetamine and was armed with a knife. The 40-year-old, later identified as Matthew Wells, apparently was upset about a recent breakup.

Investigators said he cut himself with a knife just as deputies arrived. Although he spoke with deputies, he refused to come out of the room where he’d locked himself.

“We were trying to talk to him and de-escalate the situation but he was not cooperative,” Troyer said. “Then he busted through the door and charged one of the deputies with the knife.”

One deputy shot Wells, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I deeply regret the loss of this man’s life,” Sheriff Paul Pastor said. “Sadly, it sounds as if his family were unable to access the mental health resources which he needed.”

Deputies were not hurt in either incident, and those who fired their weapons have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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