Walmart shooting leaves 2 dead, 2 deputies hurt
Monday, January 24, 2011
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — A shootout in front of a Walmart in Washington state left two people dead and two sheriff’s deputies wounded Sunday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
One of the dead was a man who shot at deputies, said Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. The other victim was a young woman who died after she was taken to a Tacoma hospital, he said.
Tacoma police said the deputies were both shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition. They were being kept overnight at Tacoma General Hospital.
Details were still sketchy Sunday night, but the sheriff’s office received a call about a suspicious person at the store in Port Orchard, Wilson said. The man ran and started shooting when three deputies tried to talk to him, he said.
The deputies, including the two men who were wounded, returned fire, Wilson said.
Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, and Emmili Jones, of Federal Way, 20, told The Seattle Times that they noticed two deputies confronting a heavyset man in the parking log. The man, they said, took off running toward a wooded area. Then, in midsprint, he pulled out a gun and fired behind his back without turning.
The officers were about 30 to 40 feet behind the suspect when he started firing, witness Ray Bourge told KOMO-TV. “Five or six shots were fired. ... I just went and took cover,” he said.
Witness Victor Meyers told the station that he heard the first shot, then six more in rapid succession.
“I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire,” Meyers said.
He said he saw a female deputy running toward a victim on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.
The man who ran from the deputies died of his wounds in the parking lot, Wilson said.
Wilson said no other suspects were involved in the incident, which began at about 3:45 p.m. He didn’t know whether the woman was an innocent bystander or if she and the man knew each other. The woman appeared to be in her late teens but the identities of the two haven’t been released.
The store was immediately locked down. Customers in the store were being allowed to leave after investigators questioned them, and the store closed for the night, Wilson said.
The investigation “is real basic right now,” he said, adding that officers don’t know why the man fled and began firing.
“The big question of why is unanswered now,” he said.
Port Orchard, the county seat with about 8,250 residents, is about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound.
The last time a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the line of duty was in April 1978, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Deputy Dennis Allred stopped to help what he believed to be a stranded driver towing another vehicle. The vehicle turned out to be stolen, and Allred was shot and killed by the suspects.