SPANAWAY, Wash. — Two deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office were shot by a man during a SWAT operation in Spanaway on Tuesday.
One of the deputies, Dom Calata, died on Wednesday from his injuries.
The suspect, described by Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer as a “three-strike violent felon,” was shot and killed by deputies.
Investigators with the Tacoma Police department said the operation started at around 8:30 a.m. Members of South Sound Gang Task Force were looking to arrest a man who had a warrant for second-degree felony assault.
Due to the man’s prior felony convictions, the task force asked the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team for assistance.
Troyer said the suspect was in a stolen car and deputies closed the road to ensure citizens wouldn’t get hurt.
Around 11:50 a.m., they pulled him over in a mobile home park in the 19000 block of Pacific Avenue South just north of the Roy Y. The man didn’t want to cooperate.
>>Photos of Pierce County deputies shot, wounded in Spanaway
Troyer said there was a gun battle and two deputies who are members of the SWAT team were shot.
Deputies fired back, striking the suspect and killing him.
Shortly after, there was a massive law enforcement response as officers, deputies and medics from multiple agencies responded.
Both deputies were rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.
According to Pierce County Sergeant Darren Moss, one of the deputies was in “grave” condition after the shooting.
That deputy is Dominique “Dom” Calata, who is 35 years old and served in the military and the National Guard. He was shot in the head.
Calata died on Wednesday morning, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
>>What to know about the 2 Pierce County deputies shot in Spanaway
The other deputy is Sergeant Rich Scaniffe, who underwent surgery and is expected to survive. He was shot in the leg.
Scaniffe is 45 years old and a 21-year veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
On Wednesday, KIRO 7 spoke with Moss about the deputies.
He said both men are phenomenal deputies, phenomenal people and great friends.
Moss used to be a member of the SWAT team himself. One of the deputies trained him and the other replaced Moss after he took a new position.
He became emotional when speaking about Calata.
“Dom is a great dude, I’ve never seen him angry. I’ve never seen him yell at anybody. I know he probably has, but that’s not his personality. From being on the SWAT team you think of big, mean tough guys — and not that they’re not tough or brave or anything — but they’ve got big hearts,” said Moss.
The family of the man shot and killed by Pierce County deputies identified the suspect as Jeremy Dayton.
Dayton’s sister, Angela Dayton, told KIRO 7 her brother was looking at possibly serving 17 years in prison because of a bar fight he was involved in.
“I would never have wanted my brother to shoot at anybody. I wouldn’t want their family to feel how I feel right now,” said Dayton.
The sheriff’s department said Jeremy Dayton had a long criminal history in the Tacoma area.
His sister said she’s convinced her brother snapped when officers moved in to arrest him.
“My brother had nowhere else to go because nobody would listen to him, because he couldn’t afford a $15,000 lawyer just to take on his case,” she said.
Angela Dayton said she still has many questions about her brother’s death, but they come with constant prayer for the two deputies he’s accused of shooting.
She’ll be arriving in Washington Wednesday from Colorado to start the process of burying her brother.
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