South Sound News

University Place home invasion suspect turns out to be victim's father

UNIVERSITY, Place, Wash. — Police say a man who broke into a University Place home Sunday turned out to be the victim’s father.

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in University Place at 12:40 a.m. after dispatchers received a call from a child who said someone armed with a shotgun had just broken into their house and the child believed his father was dead.

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As deputies were on their way to the home, a second 911 call came in from a neighbor who reported hearing multiple gunshots coming from a house in the in the 6300 block of 35th Street West in University Place.

When officers arrived at the home, they found that a glass door had been broken out and a long black metal bar was next to the broken glass.  They also found four shell casings and a crack pipe in the home’s driveway.

The homeowner told police he was sleeping when he awoke to the sound of his wife yelling that someone was breaking into their house.

The man told police that he armed himself with a rifle and his wife armed herself with a shotgun.  He then ran toward his front door, where he found what he believed was a gun and a man squeezing through the broken glass door. Police later found that what the man believed was a gun was actually a long black metal bar.

The man said that all he remembered was moving toward the man, firing shots and then ending up in his driveway.

As the deputies were initially responding to the 911 call, a Fircrest police officer was also dispatched to assist on the home invasion.

As the Fircrest officer was pulling out of a parking lot onto 19th Street West, he saw a white Nissan Versa drive past him traveling westbound at about 80 to 90 mph.

Because it was close to the address of the home invasion, the officer decided to follow the speeding car. The officer said the car ran a red light at 19th Street and Bridgeport Way, veered into a driveway and crashed through a closed garage door at a home in the 2100 block of Bridgeport Way West.

The driver then reversed the car and rammed the garage door again, fully entering the garage. He then got out of the car and entered the house.

When multiple deputies came to the house to back up the Fircrest officer, they found a woman on the sidewalk who said her boyfriend had just crashed his rental car into her garage door. She told deputies that her boyfriend was acting crazy and talking about people trying to kill his family.

Deputies said when they took the man into custody, he was sweating profusely, acting paranoid and told the deputies that he had "been smoking crack" and "probably 5 to 10 rocks.” He said that "the voices in his head and coming from the walls were telling him that his family was not safe" and that he had went to his son's house and had used a metal stick to try to get into the house to protect his son and grandkids.

The suspect was identified as the father of the home invasion victim. The victims told detectives that they did not recognize him as being the person who was breaking into the house and that they had recently received several odd phone calls from the suspect that indicated he may be using drugs.

Deputies found a crack pipe on the deck where the suspect had been handcuffed. There were five bullet holes in the suspect's Nissan Versa rental car.

Though deputies told the suspect that his family was safe, he continued to insist that "the people inside the walls were going to kill his family" and they were not safe.

While inside the patrol car, the man became highly agitated and began to kick the doors and windows of the patrol car.

The man’s legs were then placed in a hobble, but he was able to kick out both rear passenger windows and bent the window frame of the patrol car, spraying glass onto deputies who were standing nearby. He then tried to jump out the patrol car window and said that he "needed to go get eaten by a dog so that he could save his family.”

The 54-year-old man was again placed in a hobble and then transported and booked into the Pierce County Jail for investigation of residential nurglary, malicious mischief and violation of a protection order.

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