PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Newly released video captures the chaos one year ago during a raid in Pierce County that ended in the death of Deputy Dom Calata. Tacoma police released the body camera footage this month after a judge determined it merited legitimate and substantial public concern.
The video shows a barrage of gunfire within seconds of the SWAT team cornering suspect Jeremy Dayton to issue a warrant.
Both Calata and Sgt. Rich Scaniffe were shot during the exchange, leaving Scaniffe to call for help. “I’m hit! I’m hit!” he’s heard repeating in the video, as the gunfire continues, eventually killing Dayton.
KIRO 7 spoke with Jim Fuda of Crime Stoppers about the newly released video. He says it highlights how quickly a SWAT operation can escalate.
“No matter how much you prepare, especially trained SWAT guys, they know what they’re doing but they’re only one half of the equation,” said Fuda. “They’re going after somebody else that was prepared for them. It looked like a set up or ambush on them, and … you saw the outcome.”
But in the video you also see a show of heroism, as the SWAT team rushes to assist their fellow officers.
“This SWAT operation quickly went to worst case scenario when the deputies were immediately met by gunfire by the suspect,” said Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. “And every single one of our deputies stepped up and did what they could to stop the threat and to gather around our fallen deputies and bring them to safety to try to get them the medical care that they needed.”
Calata and eight fellow deputies were each awarded a Medal of Honor last week in Olympia. It’s the state’s highest honor for a member of law enforcement.
“It is the one occupation that I know of, that off-duty we can not like each other, but yet when you’re at work, you’ve got that uniform on, you’ll die for each other,” said Fuda.
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