Witnesses report man posing as police officer firing gun at pair of military helicopters in Lakewood

LAKEWOOD — A Pierce County man is facing charges after reportedly firing a stolen gun at a pair of military helicopters above American Lake in Lakewood, all while posing as a police officer.

Witnesses say Andre Wright Jr. shot off two rounds at two Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Wednesday evening. The choppers were performing low-level exercises over the lake at the time.

“We heard a couple gunshots ring out like pow pow and I thought it was something wrong with the helicopter,” Blake Patjens, who was out on the lake at the time, said. “I thought it was the helicopter because it was hard to make the sound with the helicopter above our heads, we didn’t realize it was gunshots until we got off the boat.”

Police found a stolen Glock on Wright, as well as “two metal ‘security’ badges, and handcuffs that were in a holster.”

“The defendant had a ‘detailed story’ about how he was a Lakewood police officer with the Special Operations Unit,” charging documents said. “He also claimed to be a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy, indicating that he was the ‘air commander’ of their helicopter unit, and was also the commander of an airborne military unit.”

Wright is a former convicted felon and isn’t allowed to have a gun.

He’s now being charged with first-degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of a stolen firearm.

“It’s disappointing because these our are active members of our military branches and they can’t even conduct training without being shot at in their own backyards,” Patjens said.