SHELTON, Wash. — Shelton police are working to identify and find a shooter after someone opened fire on a Washington Department of Corrections officer Thursday morning.
The incident happened at 6:15 a.m. in the 500 block of North 4th Street in downtown Shelton, which is right next to the prosecuting attorney’s office, Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the county courthouse and the Shelton DOC’s field office.
The community corrections officer was parked next to the DOC field office. A DOC spokesperson said he was getting out of the car when someone shot the officer in the torso.
Neighbors in the area were just waking up for the day.
“I’m drinking my coffee and I’m standing there, and all of a sudden I hear like, ‘Powww!’ And I duck and I went, ‘That’s a gunshot!’ That was awful close,” said James Paschall, who lives nearby.
Multiple neighbors said they only heard the one gunshot.
“It sounds like an ambush, I mean, which is really unfortunate,” said Michael Hooton, another neighbor.
The Shelton Police Department is stopping short of using the same description.
“It has the characteristics of that, but I wouldn’t label it that at this time — we’re still investigating,” said Lt. Chris Kostad with the Shelton Police Department. Kostad said the officer was at Mason General Hospital and is expected to be OK.
Police are continuing to investigate the motive behind the shooting, and they’re searching for the suspect as well. Investigators spent the day looking for surveillance video and interviewing people in the area. Police secured a perimeter of several blocks around the crime scene and had K-9 teams canvassing the area, but the suspect was not located.
Some neighbors said they did see a person running away from the scene.
Hooton says he and his wife didn’t hear the shooting, but heard a noise from their backyard, then saw someone near a fence and some bushes.
“She poked her head out, and there’s (this) guy standing two feet from the window,” Hooton said. He said from the angle they couldn’t get a good look or description of the person.
“Then he was just gone, booked it as fast as he could,” Hooton said.
Hooton says he then went outside and saw lights and sirens heading toward the area.
Whatever the motive of the shooter, it’s a crime that’s hitting home.
“It’s unfair, completely unfair,” Hooton said. “They deserve so much more respect, and they do so much for us. They protect us on a daily basis.”
“When a DOC officer gets hurt, the Mason County Sherriff’s Office feels that, the Shelton Police Department feels that, we all do. We are a close-knit community and we work together tightly,” Kostad said.
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