Crime

Robbery suspect waved at cops during car chase that ended with gunfire in Tacoma, charges say

A man suspected of robbing two barista stands and leading police on a lengthy chase Friday has been charged in Pierce County Superior Court.

Dennis Gordon Van Dyken, 34, pleaded not guilty at arraignment Wednesday to two counts of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree attempted robbery and one count of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Court Commissioner Craig Adams set bail at $500,000.

The state told the court that Van Dyken has multiple felony convictions and misdemeanors dating back to 2002, including vehicle theft, assault and driving while intoxicated.

According to charging papers, the State Patrol and the Mount Vernon Police Department:

Van Dyken allegedly robbed a Mount Vernon coffee stand Friday morning and one in Bremerton later in the day.

Then he eluded Kitsap County officers in what they believed was a stolen BMW on state Route 16 toward Pierce County — the officers estimate Van Dyken was driving more than 100 miles per hour.

Van Dyken crossed the Narrows Bridge, got out of his car and used a knife to threaten a driver who was stopped at a red light near Route 16 and Pearl Street. He yelled at her to get out of her vehicle. She was able to drive around him and flee and saw in her rear-view mirror that Van Dyken got back in his car and onto Route 16.

Troopers waited for him near Sixth Avenue and Pearl Street. He waved at them through the sunroof of the BMW as he drove by.

Troopers then set up spike strips at the ramp from Route 16 to northbound Interstate 5.

Van Dyken swerved directly toward a trooper who was setting out the strips, and the trooper jumped out of the way. Then Van Dyken almost hit another trooper, who fired shots at Van Dyken. No one was injured.

Van Dyken continued north on I-5 and headed toward the City Center merging lanes.

“(Troopers) watched as (the vehicle) slowed and did a hair-pin turn around construction jersey barriers and began driving the wrong way into the construction zone, hitting another car in the process,” the charging papers say.

The vehicle was finally stopped in the construction zone. Van Dyken left the car and ran a short distance until taken into custody by a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy and troopers.

Van Dyken was found with nearly $300 in mostly $5 bills in his front pocket, as well as a receipt from a strip club from that day. While in custody, Van Dyken said he had been using meth within the past 48 hours.

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