Crime

2 deputies kill driver in Spanaway

Two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 31-year-old man early Thursday after he allegedly rammed the deputies’ patrol car twice in a stolen truck.

It was the second fatal shooting this year involving sheriff’s deputies.

The deputies said they had tried to stop John M. Hull after spotting him doing doughnuts and smoking the truck’s tires on a Spanaway street. Instead of stopping, Hull continued driving and eventually drove into the deputies’ car, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

As Hull tried to ram the patrol car a third time, the deputies got out of their vehicle and both fired their guns. The bullets went through the front windshield, hitting Hull.

Neither sheriff’s deputy was injured. Both were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. Their names were not released.

“We don’t know what was going on with him,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said of Hull. “We will have to wait and see if drugs and alcohol were involved.”

Troyer gave the following account of the shooting:

The deputies were working together in the patrol car about 1:15 a.m. when they spotted a pickup truck driving erratically near 168th Street and B Street East. The deputies checked on the license plate number of the truck, which turned out to have been reported stolen about 4 p.m. Wednesday in University Place.

When the deputies tried to stop the truck, the driver drove about 10 blocks down B Street, turned around and drove back to 168th. The driver eventually turned onto 167th, drove through a yard, hit a parked vehicle and hit the patrol car head on near 167th Street and B Street East.

The patrol car was on the side of the road at the time.

“He had plenty of room to go around the patrol car,” Troyer said. “It appears the guy intentionally drove through the yard and went head-on with them.”

The truck hit the patrol car again on the front left side and, when it moved to hit the car a third time, the deputies shot the driver. The truck went about 10 yards and hit a power pole. Deputies pulled the driver from the truck and started CPR. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Power crews came and shut down the transformer so deputies could work on the truck. Six homes were without electricity for part of the day.

Prosecutors also came to the scene and were investigating, which is standard procedure in a deadly officer-involved shooting.

Hull had lived most recently in the Pierce County area. He had a lengthy criminal history and recently was released from prison after being sentenced to 44 months for intimidating a witness and taking a motor vehicle without permission, the Sheriff’s Department reported.

In the 2009 case, Hull was charged with stealing $35,000 worth of items by burglarizing homes, snatching purses and breaking into homes. He was caught after returning to the scene of a car prowl at Stadium High School, where he pulled a gun on a group of students after they tried to stop him from escaping.

After his release from prison, he was being supervised by the state Department of Corrections, Troyer said.

The other fatal shooting involving a sheriff’s deputy was Jan. 31 when Raymond G. LaMadeleine, 50, was killed after he opened fire while a SWAT team served a search warrant at his home near Roy.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268 stacey.mulick @thenewstribune.com

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