Man kills himself in South Hill parking lot as deputies approach

A 44-year-old man being investigated for allegedly molesting a young girl killed himself in a South Hill parking lot Tuesday as deputies approached his truck to check on him, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

The fatal shooting happened just after 6 a.m. in a parking lot at Meridian Avenue East and 162nd Street Court East.

“He was despondent because he was under a criminal investigation,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

One of the man’s friends or family members called 911 Tuesday morning to report that the man had called them and talked about suicide. The person requested deputies check on him.

Two deputies spotted the man’s pickup truck in the parking lot and began walking up to speak with him.

“When they got close, they heard a round go off and break a window so deputies thought they were being shot at,” Troyer said.

Each deputy fired a single round. One bullet hit the man, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined.

“It turns out the guy shot himself,” Troyer said.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said the man died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.

The man has not been charged with a crime. Details of the alleged child molestation were not immediately available.