Crime

Chainsaw-wielding man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in Graham

Raw video: Neighbor heard shots that killed man wielding chainsaw

In this raw video clip, Marjean Sutton tells reporters about the events that lead to the fatal shooting of a 36-year-old man wielding a running chainsaw as he charged at Pierce County sheriff's deputies.
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In this raw video clip, Marjean Sutton tells reporters about the events that lead to the fatal shooting of a 36-year-old man wielding a running chainsaw as he charged at Pierce County sheriff's deputies.

A 36-year-old man armed with a running chainsaw was fatally shot Tuesday by Pierce County sheriff’s deputies who were trying to keep him from assaulting his parents at their Graham house.

The man, who has not been identified, has a history of mental health problems and methamphetamine abuse, officials said.

His parents filed for a protection order against him Aug. 22. The order had not yet been served because deputies couldn’t find the man.

About 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, his mother called 911 to report he was trying to break into their home in the 9000 block of 262nd Street East.

“He refused to leave and said that deputies would have to shoot him,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Deputies found the man coming up his parents’ driveway and ordered him to put down the chainsaw. He refused and deputies used a Taser on him.

“He went down temporarily, but it had no effect on him,” Troyer said.

When the man charged at deputies with the running chainsaw, several deputies fired simultaneously and killed the man.

It was not immediately known how many deputies shot the man, but all have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Marjean Sutton, who lives nearby, said she sleeps with her window open and was awakened Tuesday by a man talking and revving a chainsaw.

“This person with the chainsaw was screaming and yelling,” she said. “Within five minutes, it went from talking to screaming. By that time, I heard, ‘bam bam.’ I heard seven shots.”

Authorities said the man had threatened to kill his parents in the past and refused to take his medication.

Last week, his parents filed for an emergency protection order against him after he pinned his father to the couch by his throat and repeatedly punched him in the face, according to court records.

“He threatened that he would shoot me in the head if I called the cops,” his father wrote in the request for a protection order.

A judge granted the order the same day.

Records indicate the man and his parents have had an on-again, off-again relationship in recent years because of his mental health issues.

In March 2015, prosecutors charged him with felony harassment after he put his mother in a headlock and tried to drag her outside to prove they were being “imaged” from space, records show.

His fearful parents fled the home and called for help. When deputies arrested the man, he begged them to save his parents’ lives and insisted he was trying to protect them.

After being charged in that incident, the man was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and spend time at Western State Hospital.

Because of overcrowding, Western State wait-listed the man for a month before accepting him into the Lakewood mental hospital for a 45-day treatment.

A psychologist diagnosed the man with schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, records show.

The man apparently believed he had something implanted in his ear that allowed him to receive transmissions from various groups.

After pleading guilty to felony harassment, the man began receiving mental health treatment, and his parents requested that the protection order put in place last year be lifted.

“We feel that it is very important to have him be a part of our lives again,” his parents wrote to the court. “We feel that he does not pose any danger to our lives.”

The order was lifted and a new order imposed last week after the latest run-in with his parents.

It wasn’t just his mother and father who complained of being harassed by the man.

In 2013, he pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment and carrying a dangerous weapon after threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

He left 19 voicemails for his ex in one day, threatening to kill the new boyfriend’s family. He also drove by the man’s house and waved a handgun at the man’s sister, records show.

After being arrested, he repeatedly banged his head against the safety shield between the front and rear seats in the patrol car and vomited so much that the Sheriff’s Department had to take the car out of service.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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