A gunman who killed a veteran Tacoma police officer was fatally shot by authorities early Thursday after an hours-long standoff, in which he was using two children as shields.
The fallen officer is Reginald Jake Gutierrez, 45, who had been with Tacoma police since 1999.
Citizens placed their hands over their hearts during Gutierrez’s nine-minute long procession from the hospital to the medical examiner on Wednesday.
In addition to an outpouring of support on social media, people are paying respects by stopping by the Tacoma Police headquarters and leaving flowers and mementos to honor him.
Gutierrez was a model police officer with children and a fiancé, Tacoma Chief Don Ramsdell said.
“I had the privilege … to work around Gutierrez his entire career. He is a model police officer. He’s highly dedicated to his profession, he’s highly dedicated to his community. And he demonstrated that every day that he came to work," Ramsdell said.
Ramsdell said a fund for Gutierrez's family was being established, and flags would be at half-staff. Gutierrez's partner was given leave after the shooting.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool confirmed Gutierrez's death around 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
In an emotional gathering, dozens of people came together for a vigil on Thursday night to honor Gutierrez.
Police said the incident started Wednesday afternoon when animal-control officers were working near a house in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood. They were approached by a woman who said her husband had locked her out and taken her phone.
The officers called police.
Officer Gutierrez and his partner went inside the home. As Gutierrez reached the top of the stairs in attempt to speak with the man, the officer was shot, Tacoma Police Chief Tom Ramsdell said.
His partner led the suspect’s wife out of the house.
Croskey, who was letting the gunman and his wife live in the home until she sold it, was in the basement to collect items, she told KIRO 7 News. She barricaded herself in the bathroom during the shooting and escaped.
Croskey owns the home and said she attends church with the gunman. She said Bruce Randall Johnson, 38, fired shots first.
Croskey did not share much information as to not interfere with Tacoma Police Department's investigation, but she did share this:
“I don’t want to hear anything about black lives matter, because all lives matter. I want to say the Tacoma Police Department handled this matter with such professionalism... despite one of their own being shot," she said.
Gutierrez was pronounced dead hours after the shooting.
As officers saluted outside Tacoma General for Gutierrez’s procession, devastated law enforcement officers worked at the scene of the shooting where gunman Johnson refused to surrender.
By 4 p.m., officers stormed into the house. Johnson used two children, an 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl, as human shields.
SWAT officers were able to separate at one child from Johnson after he made threats against the children.
The relationship of the children to Johnson is not yet known.
A deputy got a clean shot at Johnson, firing one round that killed him.
Johnson was arrested in 2015 for investigation of assault/intimidation with a weapon.
KIRO 7's news partners at KIRO 7 Radio confirmed that Johnson was fired morning before the shooting.
His work sent him a voice mail saying he was fired.
Johnson apparently worked at a barber shop.
The deputy who shot the suspect, as well as everyone who was involved in the gunfight earlier, is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such investigations.
At one point there were 185 officers, deputies and troopers at the scene from surrounding agencies, including some outside Pierce county.
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