LAKEWOOD, Wash. — An armed Lakewood man was shot and killed after police said he was terrorizing his neighbors with a weapon.
Police said he fired at them, and a Lakewood officer fired back.
The fatal shooting happened just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Western Terrace apartments in Lakewood.
Neighbors said the man was screaming threats, then firing his weapon.
So they called 911.
No one else was hurt. But those who could see him said he was standing on the balcony of his second-floor apartment, firing into the ground.
Police said when they arrived, he shot at them.
The memory of what happened overnight still rings in the ears of those who live at the Western Terrace apartments.
“Prior to any gunfires or anything, he was screaming and yelling,” said neighbor Kevin Michael.
Michael said he was inside his apartment when he heard his upstairs neighbor threatening to kill a female. But he appeared to be screaming into a telephone.
“And then it was quiet for a few seconds,” said Michael. “And then pop, pop, pop, pop. And that’s when everything happened.”
He and his dogs took cover inside. Then he heard a second volley of shots.
“That’s when I said, ‘Nope. This is a little more than just a pop-pop,’” he added.
“Just before 8:30 p.m. yesterday evening, September 4, South Sound 911 started receiving multiple calls of shots being fired,” said a Tacoma police officer, Wendy Haddow.
Haddow is a spokesperson for the incident.
“South Sound call receivers advised dispatch they could hear rounds being fired in the background,” she said.
Officers from Lakewood and surrounding communities descended on the complex. Within minutes, they reported the man was firing at them.
“And moments later,” said Haddow, “that an officer involved shooting had occurred.”
Neighbor Mister Slaughter said he had seen that the man was struggling. He knew that, he said, “because we live next door.”
Slaughter said the man seemed to be dealing with some mental health challenges.
“Sometimes, he would open the door and kind of be slamming his door,” he said. “He would kind of be sitting on his steps, drinking constantly day after day.”
Still, he didn’t expect what happened Saturday night.
“For him to just kind have that happen is just really, really sad,” said Slaughter. “Yeah, it is a surprise.”
He said police and medics were called here once before because the man had cut his hand. But he said the man lashed out at medics. And they didn’t try to get him further help.
The man did have a criminal history, mostly infractions in Pierce and surrounding counties.
Now the Pierce County Force Investigation, or FIT Team, is investigating.
The Lakewood officer involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
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