One shot after home invasion robbery in Midland

UPDATE as of 11 p.m. Both suspect vehicles have been recovered, Troyer said. One had been set on fire in Renton, and the other was found at an apartment complex in Tacoma, he said.

Further details were not immediately available.

INITIAL POST: At least one person was shot Tuesday in Midland during a home invasion robbery that targeted the owner of a marijuana dispensary, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

The robbery took place about 1 p.m. in the 8300 block of 19th Avenue Court East after two armed, masked men followed the dispensary owner home, forced their way inside and tried to tie him up.

A friend of the robbery victim was wounded during a “rolling gun battle” when he chased the robbers.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer gave this account:

After the robbers forced their way into the house, a handgun went off during a scuffle for the gun, but no one was hit. The homeowner eventually was pistol-whipped and tied to a chair.

His girlfriend arrived at the house during the robbery, and the armed men tied her up.

Investigators believe at least one person was waiting for the robbers outside the house. The group split up and fled in the gray Chevrolet Tahoe they arrived in and in a white Chevrolet Suburban with a black stripe that they stole from the residence. They also took an undisclosed amount of cash from the home.

As they took off, a man Troyer described as a friend of the homeowner arrived and chased the Suburban.

“We then had a rolling gun battle,” Troyer said.

The friend was shot in the exchange of gunfire on 80th Street East, about 10 blocks from the house that was robbed.

The robbers got away, and no arrests were made.

Harvard Elementary School on 85th Street East was placed on lockdown while detectives searched for the robbers.

The shooting victim’s condition was not immediately known. Troyer said he emptied a gun into the Suburban, so the robbers might have suffered gunshot wounds.

The robbery is similar to the assault of a 72-year-old woman last month in University Place, Troyer said.

In that robbery, two men entered the woman’s home Oct. 24, demanded cash from her at gunpoint, tied her up, and hit her in the head with a firearm, police said. They took money and a safe, where the woman’s grandson and son kept cash from a pot store they own.

“We’re definitely looking at that,” Troyer said, when asked if the robberies could be connected.