VIDEO: Suspected robber fatally shot by off-duty police officer in Tacoma
Jason Galaviz owned several guns but his ex-wife asked a judge last year to take them away, expressing concern about how quickly he pulled a weapon when angry.
That very scenario led an off-duty Tacoma police officer to shoot and kill Galaviz, 40, on Wednesday after he allegedly stole a woman’s cellphone and pointed a gun at two men who chased him down.
The off-duty officer fired his personal weapon after he happened upon the aftermath of the robbery on South Tacoma Way near South 56th Street about 5:30 p.m.
No one except Galaviz was hurt in the incident.
The plea by Galaviz’s ex-wife concerning his guns came in the form of divorce papers that describe him as a controlling, abusive husband who hid money from the trucking business they operated and left his family without financial support.
She described how he left her in the hospital to give birth while he cleaned out their bank account and spent the money on cocaine and prescription pain medication.
She wrote about how he once moved out of their home but had to return after shooting several rounds into a friend’s coffee table. She spoke of an anniversary trip to Las Vegas during which he become so furious he destroyed all her belongings and security guards had to protect her.
Then she requested a restraining order, which was temporarily granted.
“I also want him to surrender his weapons as he has anger issues and used his gun this year to shoot at personal property when he was upset,” she stated.
There is no indication in court records that Galaviz was ordered to surrender his guns.
Attempts to reach his ex-wife Thursday were unsuccessful.
Galaviz died from a bullet wound to the torso.
He was shot after the off-duty officer, who has not been identified, saw a group of people who seemed to be fighting. When they took off running, the officer followed and found two citizens confronting Galaviz.
He allegedly snatched a cellphone from a woman waiting at the bus stop and pushed her to the ground. Two men who saw the robbery chased Galaviz to his pickup at South 56th and Washington streets and pinned him against the truck.
Police said Galaviz then pulled a gun and pointed it at the two men, who backed away. A woman waiting inside Galaviz’s truck got out and moved away.
The officer identified himself as such and drew his gun as Galaviz tried to get into his truck. Galaviz ignored several orders to drop his weapon and kept pointing his gun at the men who chased him, police said.
The officer then fired a single round that struck Galaviz.
“The officer confronted him, weapon drawn, identifying himself as a police officer, and then fired a round,” police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. “I don’t know what exactly the officer saw at this point.”
Though wounded, Galaviz was able to drive a short distance before his truck crashed into a sign.
Gary Keller said he was working inside Austin’s Pro Max when he heard a gunshot. When someone told him there was a crash outside, Keller ran out to help, believing someone had a heart attack behind the wheel.
The engine of Galaviz’s truck was racing so Keller opened the door to shut it off.
“I was surprised because it wasn’t someone with a heart attack,” he said. “It was someone with a gunshot wound.”
Keller rescued a dog in Galaviz’s truck and then directed traffic while police secured the scene. Animal control officers later retrieved the pup.
Galaviz died shortly after the shooting at a local hospital.
He did not know the woman he snatched the cellphone from and the woman who drove to the scene with Galaviz did not commit any crimes, Cool said.
The officer involved in the shooting is 59 and has been with the department for 23 years. He will not be identified until he has provided a statement about the incident, which could take longer than a week.
He was put on administrative leave, following standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653