Man shot by police after using child as human shield


FIFE, Wash. - A police SWAT team shot and killed a Fife man after he held his son hostage and even used him as a human shield, police said.

Fife police said Leonard Thomas, 30, called his mother to get his son Thursday around 10 p.m. because he was drunk and despondent over the death of a close friend.

 But Thomas changed his mind and, according to police accounts, he assaulted his mother and took the boy back into the home. Investigators said she called 911, and when officers arrived at the scene, Thomas refused to let the boy go. Police said Thomas claimed he was armed.

The Pierce County Metro WAT team was called and surrounded the home in the 200 block of East 55th Street.

Fife police Lt. Dave Woods said a negotiator tried to convince Thomas to let the boy go unharmed, but he was incoherent and irrational.

Woods said Thomas used the boy to prevent officers from shooting at him.

 “For several hours, he was actually holding the child as a shield, walking around the residence and at one point, even holding the child out a second floor window,”  Woods said.

Police said Thomas finally agreed to release the boy around 2 a.m., and brought him to the front door, but suddenly changed his mind. 

When he tried to go back into the home, a SWAT team sharp shooter opened fire, fatally wounding Thomas.

Police also shot and killed a dog that ran from the home, threatening officers. 

 Thomas’ 4-year-old son was not hurt. He has been returned to the custody of his mother.