Men shot by Fircrest officer charged, plead not guilty

Two men shot by a Fircrest police officer investigating reports of someone brandishing a gun outside a pub have been charged with second-degree assault and vehicle prowling.

Manuel Javier Urrieta and Jose Ramon German, both 22, have pleaded not guilty and are jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail each.

German was arraigned Monday after being hospitalized since the April 22 incident, thought to be the first officer-involved shooting in Fircrest history. He was wheeled into Pierce Superior Court in a wheelchair. Court records indicate he was shot in the back and upper right arm.

Urrieta was arraigned three days after the shooting. He suffered a flesh wound to the face, court records show.

Prosecutors contend Urrieta and German were seen breaking into cars at Charley’s Pub in Fircrest. One of them allegedly waved a pistol at two security guards who went to check it out. Fircrest officer Chris Roberts was one of several law enforcement officers sent to investigate.

Roberts, 43, later spotted Urrieta and German sitting in a car parked outside a Fircrest apartment complex. He drew his pistol and ordered the men to remain where they were, records show. Instead, the men ran into a nearby townhouse.

Not knowing if the men lived in the townhouse or if innocent people might be in harm’s way, Roberts gave chase without backup, records state.

He knocked on the door and then kicked it in when he got no answer, records show.

It was dark inside, and Roberts had his flashlight in one hand and his gun in the other as he searched for the men, who he spotted standing near the back sliding-glass door, records show.

The men did not comply with Roberts’ commands to show their hands, the records state, “and began fidgeting with their waist area while attempting to open the sliding-glass door.”

Roberts ordered them again to show their hands and fired three shots when they did not and continued fidgeting with their waistbands, the records show.

Police later searched the house and found a 9mm pistol near a wall in the front room, records state. It appeared the gun had been thrown there, the records show.

Urrieta was being sought on an arrest warrant charging him with violating the terms of his community custody from 2011 assault and burglary charges, the records state.

He and German are thought to be members of a local street gang, prosecutors contend.