BUCKLEY, Wash. — A 70-year-old man is in critical condition after Pierce County deputies opened fire while responding to a 911 call.
Police said at around 1:45 p.m, they responded to a 911 call in the 14900 block of 272 Avenue East for a domestic violence incident involving a weapon. When deputies arrived and made contact with the suspect, he was armed with a handgun.
One deputy opened fire. Investigators have not released what happened in the moments that led the deputy to shoot the suspect and have not said if the suspect fired any shots.
“Deputies immediately started lifesaving measures, and the subject was airlifted to the hospital,” said Wendy Haddow with the Tacoma Police Department.
Pierce County Force Investigation Team (PCFIT) is investigating the shooting. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office will not be part of the force investigation.
Neighbors in the Buckley neighborhood said Thursday afternoon that they heard yelling.
“From inside the house, it sounded like there was anger behind the words,” said Micheal Cole, who lives nearby. “Shortly after, I heard some shots, which isn’t terribly unusual around here, but they were closer than normal,” Cole said.
Multiple neighbors said they heard two gunshots and were surprised the violence that unfolded involved their 70-year-old neighbor.
“I’ve met him only one time — seemed like a nice guy, outgoing person. Nice, sweet person. And it’s just crazy this happened. It sucks, but it happens. It’s sad,” said Patrick Smith, another neighbor.
Tacoma police said domestic violence calls can be among the most challenging to respond to.
“Any call where someone is in crisis,” Haddow said. “In these times of high stress with a lot going on in all of our communities, if you need help — if you know someone who needs help — please reach out,” she said. You can call or text the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day at 800-799-7233.
No deputies were hurt in this incident. The deputy who opened fire has been placed on administrative leave, as per standard practice.