Crime

Two dead in homicide-suicide at McKenna Chiropractic Center

Two men died by gunfire Wednesday inside a McKenna chiropractic office in an apparent homicide-suicide, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Two men died by gunfire Wednesday inside a McKenna chiropractic office in an apparent homicide-suicide, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. KIROTV.com

Two men died by gunfire Wednesday inside a McKenna chiropractic office in an apparent homicide-suicide with a shotgun, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Dr. Robert Sowers, 46, of Yelm was killed, Pierce County medical examiners said. He was the physician at McKenna Chiropractic Center.

Medical examiners identified the shooter as Robert Knapp, 35, of Roy. Knapp was the husband of a receptionist who worked in the office who arrived moments after the shooting, officials said. A massage therapist inside the office at the time of the shooting was not hurt.

Witnesses called 911 about 8:25 a.m. to report the shooting at 9111 346th St. S.

“A man walked in, shot a doctor and then shot himself,” Troyer said. “At this point, we don’t have any clues what led up to it.”

On Thursday, investigators said they are still working to determine the motive.

After the shooting, someone left flowers outside the office beneath the crime scene tape.

Family members and friends sat on a curb across the parking lot, holding each other and crying. They declined to comment.

The chiropractic center has operated in the area for more than 21 years.

Sowers — who reportedly was married and had two children — was well-known in the community, said Lisa Gorley, who owns Tender Moments Daycare and Preschool two doors down from the center.

“It’ll hit everyone pretty hard,” she said.

When gunshots rang out Wednesday morning, few people realized what had happened.

“People are out here shooting all the time,” Gorley said. “There’s always someone shooting or practicing.”

But then they saw someone in the parking lot outside, distraught and crying into a cellphone, and they put the 10 to 15 children and teachers in the day care on lockdown.

“I’ve been here 11 years. I know him, I’ve been a patient of his,” Gorley said. “My prayers are with the family.”

Sowers was a 4-H shooting instructor at Upper Nisqually Sportsmen Club in Eatonville.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the death of Bob. Bob was a great 4-H volunteer who gave countless hours working with 4-H youth and volunteers,” Makenzie Good, the 4-H coordinator, said. “He had such a positive impact on so many youth. Our condolences go out to his family and the many people he had such a positive impact on.”

Staff writers Hannah Shirley and Kenny Ocker contributed to this report.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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