Drug-related robbery that killed deputy involved home with children inside

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office discussed new details Wednesday about Sunday night’s fatal shootout revealing a troublesome house filled with drugs, money, and feces with two young children in the middle of it all. It led to the death of one suspect and a deputy.

Two armed suspects entered a home in Frederickson late Sunday night. Deputy Daniel McCartney responded to the incident and was killed during a shootout with one fleeing suspect. That suspect died at the scene. The second suspect was apprehended a short distance away later Monday morning. A woman was also arrested; detectives believe she was a getaway driver but fled the area when police responded to the scene.

What Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer revealed Wednesday is that the robbery was likely to obtain money or drugs at a house well-known to police.

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“This is a new world out there and we have suspects arming themselves, breaking into houses where there’s little kids, wearing body armor, and carrying .45s,” Troyer said. “This is something that is unfortunately happening a lot. As quickly as we shut these houses down, they open back up. The problem needs to be addressed.”

The shootout

Deputy McCartney fired five shots at the first suspect who fled the scene — a 35-year-old man. One of those shots would have killed him, according to Troyer, but the robber was wearing body armor underneath a hooded sweatshirt. Multiple rounds struck the man. The suspect was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Troyer said it is unclear if the man intentionally killed himself.

>> PHOTOS: Scenes from aftermath of Pierce County deputy's shooting

Evidence obtained during an autopsy indicates that the bullet that killed Deputy McCartney came from one of the guns left at the scene by the suspects. The wound, just above the deputy’s body armor, was severe and he likely died instantly.

The second suspect

A second suspect, a 32-year-old man, fled the scene during the shootout leading to a daylong manhunt.

“Containment worked,” Troyer said. “… the containment plan we put in place put him into the woods. He came out and a trooper caught him … We do have video of him climbing a private fence and hiding in a neighbor’s garbage can. He cut himself up climbing over the fence.”

That suspect is being held without bail. Formal charges of first degree murder are expected when he is arraigned on Thursday. Troyer said that they believe one of the two guns left at the scene belongs to the second suspect.

The house with children

Troyer said that the house was known to police. Two boys ages 2 and 3 were in the home at the time of the robbery.

“This was a drug house,” Troyer said. “They were going there armed, disguising themselves in order to get drugs or money.”

“There are some victims that live in this house, and that’s the 2- and 3-year-old,” he said. “There are no beds in that house; the house is filthy. We’ve been to that house 15 or 16 times for multiple reasons over the last 14 months. That is a well-known area out there called ‘trap house,’ and people know it. There’s heroin that goes in and out of there. I don’t care what anyone tells you from that residence, they put the situation together — the people that live there — to let this happen. To let our deputy get shot. To let those kids live in squalor.”

Troyer noted that there was feces on the ground in the home where the children were living. He said that information about the children will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies once the investigation is completed.

“We are doing what we can do to figure out where those kids belong, who the parents actually are,” Troyer told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “It was 11:30 p.m. at night and they were both up when this occurred … once we get in there we discover there are no beds, there’s no proper clothing for the kids. And the kids are not wearing diapers or anything they should be. Most of anything that is coming out of them, being little kids, was on the floor without sugar coating it. It was squalor.”

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said there were multiple people in that house and there is no excuse for allowing children to live there.

“Even Helen Keller would have known what was going on in that house,” Sheriff Pastor said.

Other details

Troyer said that two safes were removed from the home and have been recovered by police. He believes this is not the first such robbery for the suspects.

“When you are a convicted felon and you are out running around with body armor and .45 semi-automatic handguns and kicking doors in where there’s 2 and 3-year-old kids, this isn’t going to be their first time,” Troyer told Ron and Don. “In fact, one of them was in prison recently in Ferry County for using a sword or something and taking a guy’s arm off. We’re trying to figure out why he was out of jail and how he got out on that charge so easily … they have long, colorful histories and they are very-well versed in the criminal justice system.”