Deputies identified in Spanaway officer-involved shooting, not clear which fired fatal shot

It’s unclear which of two Pierce County sheriff’s deputy fired the bullet that killed a man who had been shooting at them from a Spanaway storage unit in December, officials said Wednesday.

The pair who shot at 28-year-old Chase Houston were Scott Brown, a 48-year-old deputy with the department for 25 years; and Erik Clarkson, a 46-year-old deputy with the department 17 years.

“The fatal bullet was fragmented, and therefore investigators couldn’t connect it to a specific weapon,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “And further, the trajectory couldn’t be traced back to a specific officer.”

The Prosecutor’s Office office ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide last week.

Authorities went to check on Houston on Dec. 3 when his family said he was living in a storage unit near 216th Street East and state Route 7. He was making irrational comments, including threats to himself and others, prosecutors said.

Houston didn’t cooperate with commands from law enforcement officers, and at one point fired at them through the garage door, wounding one of the officers in the arm.

Brown and Clarkson then returned fire, the sheriff’s department said. Officers entered the unit when Houston’s gunfire stopped, and found him dead with a handgun next to him.

A gunshot to his abdomen killed Houston, whose death was ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner’s Office. He had methamphetamines, marijuana and oxycodone in his system at the time, according to the office.