Man pleads not guilty to helping pair suspected of shooting at Fife police

A Puyallup man has pleaded not guilty to charges of rendering criminal assistance to two people accused of trying to run down a Fife police officer and shooting at another officer during a high-speed chase on Interstate 5.

Andrew Kuntz, 23, on Tuesday was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Police said he is the brother of one of the shooting suspects, both of whom are still at large.

He also faces charges of possession of methamphetamine after police said they found a gram of the narcotic in his vehicle.

Kuntz was arrested Aug. 14 as he left his Puyallup house. According to charging papers, he was carrying a medical bag he told officers he was bringing to his sister, one of the two suspects in the police shooting.

Police said Kuntz admitted knowing the two suspects from the Fife incident and that they’d been shot. He denied hiding or helping them.

The incident started in the early hours of Aug. 11 after a woman called 911 to report she’d nearly been robbed at gunpoint. She provided the description of a Ford Explorer, which police found in the parking lot of Love’s Truck Stop on Port of Tacoma Road East.

Two officers approached the vehicle. One was standing in the driver’s side door when the woman behind the wheel suddenly drove the Explorer backwards, hitting and dragging the officer. Both officers fired at the Explorer, which sped off.

Another officer in the area followed the Explorer onto I-5 but stopped chasing it when someone inside the vehicle fired two shots at him, records show.

The two suspects, who police said they have identified, have not been arrested. Police have said they believe one or both of the people was shot during the incident.