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Deputy shoots and kills suspect in Tacoma

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Oct. 22, 2011 at 9:11 am with 58 Comments »
October 22, 2011 10:12 am
Photo courtesty Pierce County Sheriff's Department - Deputies today shot suspected car thief Aaron Westby, 39, in this reportedly stolen pickup truck.

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a 39-year-old suspected car thief at about 5:30 a.m. today in Tacoma.

Two deputies in a patrol car confronted the man in a stolen pickup truck parked in an alleyway near 19th and Yakima, according to sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.

Aaron Westby, the suspect, was wanted on warrants for assault and fleeing from an officer, Troyer said. A struggle ensued as the deputies attempted to arrest him. They tased Westby, but he continued to fight.

One of the deputies shot after Westby said he had a gun and reached for the glovebox, Troyer said. The man was dead at the scene.

Tacoma police are investigating the incident. The involved deputies are on administrative leave, as is normal in officer-involved shootings. Troyer said the deputy who fired his gun had 10 years of law enforcement experience, with five years in corrections and five years on patrol.

Troyer said the pickup, a new model Ford, was reported stolen out of the Puyallup area Friday. Westby had several briefcases he appeared to be loading in the truck. Deputies are awaiting a warrant to search them, Troyer said.

Leave a comment Comments → 58
  1. m9078jk3 says:

    Well at least the taxpayers won’t have to pay to have the criminal incarcerated plus it’s likely there will be less crime.
    I’ve had a vehicle stolen from me in the past.It was completely gutted of parts.It would be nice to find out if the thief that stole my car was shot dead.Always great to hear news about thieves being shot.

  2. colonelkurtz says:

    As the economy continues to falter I imagine the Sheriff deputies will get a lot of trigger time.

  3. Thank you Tacoma Police for making our community a safer place and preventing our tax dollars from feeding,housing, and educating another dirtbag.

  4. reaganart says:

    Let’s see…
    1. Announce you have a gun.
    2. Reach for it.
    3. Lose the ‘quick-draw’.
    4. Works for me.
    Good job Officers…!

  5. Earth_watch says:

    So… did the suspect have a gun in the glove compartment, or not?

  6. Wrapper98439 says:

    The only down time in the druggie thief economy is when they are in jail for a way too short stint. A mom grabbing a bag of diapers is a down economy. Stealing a truck and eluding is a desperate druggie.

  7. old_benjamin says:

    Uh, colonel, your honor, check the crime stats. They are going DOWN, not up, in this economy. I know that doesn’t jive with the leftist perspective. No doubt Joe Biden will have the explanation.

  8. Wrapper98439 says:

    Earth, I thinl they are waiting on a search warrant and a neutral investigation unit.

  9. GrandMaster says:

    All car thieves should be shot DEAD! All heroin dealers should be shot DEAD!
    I only wish that the laws here were more in line with the laws in Texas where a citizen can easily shoot and kill a car thief DEAD!

  10. Kevindot1 says:

    Good shot deputy!!

  11. It’s all good.

  12. colonelkurtz says:

    Old Benjamin I didn’t say crime would go up I said I would imagine deputies will get more trigger time. Imagine is only speculating. Glad you have the stats and for some reason think I am a lefty for saying what I did. Strange and inaccurate perceptions you have.

  13. chief2ret says:

    Earth-watch, would you prefer that they wait until he gets the gun in hand before stopping him? It really doesn’t matter if there was a gun in the glove box or not; the bad guy told them there was a gun, he reached for the announced gun and got shot.

  14. It’s unfortunate that this situation led to officer having, seemingly, no choice but to fire. That has got to be a tough thing. I don’t imagine individuals become cops to get in some “trigger time”. They want to serve and protect. It’s a rough job, especially in Tacoma. I’ll avoid the self righteous lecturing to all those in this discussion who seem horribly excited about the death of an unconvicted suspect. My thoughts are with Mr Westby’s family, and with the deputies who had to make a decision I wouldn’t wish on anyone. God Bless.

  15. fivecardstud says:

    Earth watch you wondered if he had a gun in the glove box? Well if he didn’t when they confronted him he did when they were done. I agree though that it saved a lot of dough and rid the gene pool of obviously flawed genes.

  16. Grandmaster (I am guessing a wannabe of the K K K?)

    I think you are thinking of places like Iran where people can be killed for minor property crimes, not even in Texas is it legal to shoot car thiefs (if you are related to the local sheriff, maybe, but that is good old school police corruption of the south of the border type….)

    But if you really want to kill people for stealing, I think we can start with the while collar criminals, bankers who stole grannies retirement….but they are republican and RICH so they can do no wrong.

  17. Not trying to impugn anyones intergity but something does not sound right about the sequence of events being reported. First, a struggle occurs, suspect is then tased has the present of mind to make an announcement of intention to get his gun. Why would Pierce County Deputies be on patrol in Hilltop (19th and Yakima) within the City of Tacoma when the county doesn’t have enough officer to provide coverage for the county? Tacoma has a police substation very near St Joseph Hospital on MLK and was any assistance requested? Normally when a 911 call is made in this section of Tacoma they come twenty deep. Therefore, it warrants a through an impartial investigation be conducted by the WSP.

  18. brigadeer says:


    I guess your liberal arts education didn’t discuss the fact that Texas is in the United States and south of the border refers to Mexico. Probably know a lot about transgender contributions to founding the country though. Good job.

  19. Good….they never found the car thieves that stole my Celica GT out of my drive way last near at 3 am…just the car (which was a prime turbo GT) all stripped and totally trashed. Wish they would !! Maybe it was him…hope so!

  20. tribreader1966 says:

    Glad the deputies are safe and were able to go home safe. Another dirtbag off the streets!

  21. I feel sorry for the officers who have to face so many potentially armed people everyday. As someone who worked with law enforcement many police refrain from acting aggressively, at a risk to themselves, every day because they don’t want to shoot crazy people for example.

    As for the South of the Border comment, of course I am aware that MEXICO is south of the BORDER….I was suggesting that anyone who wants that sort of justice, like shoot first, corruption etc is anti-American

  22. We will never hear the other side of this story.

  23. concerned_onscene says:


  24. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I want the police to testify that they have the best cost cutting idea for the Dept. Of Corrections. Shoot the perps, save on trial cost and prison time. Works for me.

    All the time spent at the range is money well spent. Way to go TPD.

    It’s about time you showed who was boss in Tacoma. Keep up the good work, we have your back.

  25. trekontenner says:

    so the truck was sitting in the same place for 2 1/2 weeks, its was still a stolen truck. A cop is probably the judge and jury when it comes to making a life or death decision. The guy said he had a gun and was in the cops minds going for it. What would you do? I do agree with you that some of the people that posted here are heartless and it sickens me also some of the things that are being said. But we still are the US of America and I wouldn’t trade it for any other country. (yet)

  26. psycodug says:

    Its always understood by every thief anywhere in the world that thier decision to steal has risk. Some calculate that risk and proceed with a bad decision. The Sheriff’s office does not play games on Hilltop and I am sure no other officer would. The criminal is spontaneous and not co-operating, its an easy call for an officer on the Hilltop whether sheriff or TPD. The guy is reaching after being tased, its over for him, PERIOD! Its no surprise the police have weapons, its obvious they need them. The criminal having a weapon is not a good situation to be in when he is reaching and not responding, game over criminal. When the police are directing you, you have every right to question them and ask for identification and ask for thier supervisor, but to be tased, non complient, and reaching…. that is if the report by the Trib is any close to accurate….. Too bad for the deputies, its never exciting to shoot somebody, its just the damn job.
    At least it was them and not a homeowner.

  27. stumpy567 says:

    Concerned onscene, It sounds like you should have invited Mr. Westby to dinner and perhaps this would have never happened.
    Better yet, why not invite all the misfits out there to live with you.
    It’s people like you making excuses for idiots out there commiting crimes that makes me wonder where society is heading.
    Do you think the sheriffs should have allowed him to shoot first?
    How do you know he didn’t have a gun? were you there at the time?
    Seems you should be involved in the investigation.

  28. ShooterMcgavin says:

    Was he really reaching for the glove box? Was there a weapon in the glove box? This is a perfect example of why we need lapel cameras on all law enforcement personnel. It is interesting that the first response after any shooting is the number of years of service for the cop. What does that have to do with whether or not a shooting is justified? I hat to play the devils advocate but I have seen too many dishonest cops.

  29. corsoluv4 says:

    If this was your child who was guned down would you still feel the samethis was a freand who new the cop had it in fo. by the way hay mark dos the kind comunity know your sister was fired frome the prison for having sex with a imate yes im asking youu mark man.

  30. I believe that is the way he wanted it. We will wait for the report of glove box contents too. This is what I’m talking about when I say “gun control”. Shoot to kill is how they roll.

  31. Pineridge says:

    Hey Shooter—How many honest thieves have you met?
    Let’s get this straight–How many honest people are driving around in stolen vehicles?
    Let’s set a little scenario–Here I am sitting in a stolen truck, the cops are confronting me, they have just tasered my azz, I mention to them that I am reaching for the glove box to get my gun, and I want them to make damned sure that I have a gun and really have the intention to shoot them to protect my rights as an honest thief BEFORE they shoot me! Good idea that lapel camera to protect ME!

  32. xcop1951 says:

    It’s funny I can set here and see the people from the far right Tea Party shoot everyone dudes. I can see the far left the cops must have set this whole thing up?
    There needs to be an investigation true. The officer that pulled the trigger will have to live with this his whole life. God forbid he find himself in another situation where he has to shot again. Then people will accuse him of being trigger happy.
    I’m sorry for the officer because I know what he will go through in the coming years.
    I’m sorry for my country because we have Right Wing Nuts that want to bring a little Hitler to power here in this country. I’m sorry we have Left Wing Nuts that see everything as bad cop killing some innocent scumbag!!!

  33. Uh, pandie, it’s time to stop spouting lies.

    Your darling president of Kenyan heritage holds the record for Wall Street donations and bankster donations.

    Wall Street execs vote 3-1 in favor of the donkey party. The richest neighborhoods in western Washington are overwhelmingly ruled by the donkey party.

    Educate yourself.

  34. I feel the Officer probably felt it was him or me and decided, since I didn’t steal a car,then it should be him.Good Choice!I think it would be a real eye opener for some of the people that sympathize with the lawbreakers To go on a ride along with one of the officers to see what they have to endure on their shift.

  35. Earth_watch says:

    I’d still like to hear back about the last fellow who was shot after the slow-motion chase to his apartment parking lot (just last week or so). Has anything more been learned about that?

  36. God Bless those deputies.

  37. concerned_onscene says:

    yes i know for fathe didnt have no one has the right tio run his nme in the ground any more as gun and te storyt they are telling s far from te truth as faras inviting fo dinner suck yu self you know nothig he wasn i tdan truck to begin with, hat side are you on any was sure th hell it for the us go toirag or somting an do your killing aaron didnt deseve t be shot and KILLED thank you heas kind oving careing soul yesiknew him personaly so bash some one else the man is dead he isn this beast hat every one is trying to make hm out to be so go find some other poor soul to degrade .fuck hes dead ok lt his friends and family remeber him for the man s was and not for the s or trash you try tomake him out to be soBACKTE HELL OFF DONT YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANYTHING FREAKNGBETER TO DO …. RES IN PEACE MY FRIEND MY BROTHER INLAW WHER YO ARE NOW IS A MUCH BETTER PLCE WE WIL MISS YOU AND ALWAYS LOVE YOU. LISA WILL NEVER FORETR YOU HEART IS SHATTERED ND HER SPRITE BROKE TE SMILE FADED YU WERE HER EVERY THING HER ONCE NA LIFETIME HAPPLIY EVERAFTER TA S THE WAY IT WAS TO BE BUT OUR WORLD DONT UNDERSTAND THAT U CAN SHOT AND WOUND BUT TNO THEY HAD TO KILL……BUT W KOW YOULL WATCH OVER HER …BRING HER HOME .WHERE SH AARON YOUR WITHER ALWAYS GUIDE HER SHOW =HER ITIS GNNA BE OK ….YOU BASHERS OUT THER NEVER HAVE KNOWN TRUE LOVE OR TRUE MEANING OF FAMILY…SO GO BASH YOUR FAMILY OR UR FRIENDS LEAVE AARON ALONE ……R.I.P AARON WESTBY FOREVER LOVED AND MISSD……

  38. serendipity says:

    I just don’t believe in shooting people. I need to get out of this overly armed country. I am accepting donations. Please someone get me out of this country.

  39. Alaska47 says:

    I hope that this career criminal didnt screw up the Ford F150.His brother -in -law should pay for all the damages that his family member did prior to spending a dime for burial or cremation.Nice work,PCSD!

  40. jofish10 says:

    After reading the update on this story, it is very clear that this guy got what he deserved. Looking at his criminal history, it is beyond me how ANYONE can defend this p.o.s.

  41. concerned_onscene says:

    It sickens me to think that this garbage is what my husband fought and died for ,this is a country where its ok for a man to steal a child and shove a gun in a womens face .its acceptable for a child to be ripped out of its mothers arms because some idiot decided to assault her or have her tied up and beaten down .its accepted that children are molested beaten druged and left for dead but dam let someomne who was trying to get their life together after haveing had a time in his life when there were issues with the law and by the way someone let the cat out of the bag .wasnt it said that the accused tryed to run over an officer hubert .wasnt there just the accused and the officer supose to be there at that time funny how things just slip out at a moment of anger which proves my point ;it was PERSONAL NOT JUSTIFIED….thats why they waited like snakes in the grass for him to come out ..let the truth speak for itself must feel very satisfying to know that we are protected by what ? well guess what slick the search warrant proved there was no gun so lets see thats pre meditaited murder ,,,,det troyer and fulghum you cant even keep your stories straight from one news cast to another all the yrs on the force and none of you can keep your lies straight,wow and officers on foot and just the two of them yea sure from where we were standing the whole dam tacoma police force and sheriff dept were there again ask the neighbors! as for the the so called person who who says they called in and said the truck was stolen on fri and he is murdered on sat morning well another bit of truth is a liar point blank that truck sat in the same place over 2 and 1/2 weeks so how could it have been reported stolen fri and how could he have driven to where they say he did trying to get away when it wouldnt run ???dam you really should have done your home work and gotten all your stories straight before you decided to kill an unarmed man we stood by watching all of you taking those people out of their house at gunpoint after you shot in cold blood again an unarmed man why cant you idiots admit it that that this was your own personal vendetta… whats next gonna gun down women you took out of house with guns pointed in their faces yea your a bunch of hero all right more like a bunch of cowards hideing behind your guns and badges

  42. ginahopk says:

    If the guy says there’s a gun and he reaches for it. It’s self defense if the officer shoots him.

  43. concerned_onscene says:

    do any of you fat mouths realize that our fore fathers gave us our constitutional and civil rights for a reason ,those rights and amendments were written to protect the people from the goverment not the government from the people do any of you fat mouth jerks even know what your rights are do you know that they had no warrant on them the search warrant proved there was no gun did you get that one NO GUN NO WEAPONS WELL DAM NOT ONLY DID THEY KILL HIM BUT VIOLATED HIS RIGHTS THE 4TH AMENDMENT SEARCH AND SEIZURE hell no NOT WITH OUT A WARRANT IF YOU DON;T KNOW AND RESPECT YOUR RIGHTS THEN YOU HAVE NONE !!! KNOW RESPECT AND HONOR YOUR RIGHTS

  44. Our fore fathers used to hang horse thieves. We’ve had two cars stolen, and I think we should STILL hang car thieves!

    It wasn’t his car, it was stolen. I’m not sure, but I don’t think he had any search and seizure rights from the beginning. A stolen vehicle is a crime scene.

    At the point that he resisted and fought with the cops he lost his search and seizure rights – the vehicle became part of a crime scene.

    If you’re fighting with cops and yell “I’ve got a gun the glove box” the cops aren’t gonna say “oh crap – ok – but we’ll be back tomorrow with a search warrant”.

    I’m sorry, but at every step this guy did the wrong thing, and it got him killed. And at this point I have to say the cops were justified.

  45. mamalovebug14 says:

    Shame on all of you who think they have the right to wish anyone dead. How dare you believe yourselves to be any better than him. Aaron is one of my best friends, and his death is sad and heartbreaking. I’m not for one second defending his actions…he was wrong. But for you guys to say the cold and heartless things you are saying is even more disgusting. The ones of you that talk about him like he is deserving of death, should be embarrassed. I would rather have Aaron (and the thief he was) as a friend any day; over the quality of people that commented. Aaron was an amazing person, he will be missed. And to those of you who believe themselves to be worthy enough to look down so far on him…I truly hope you never know and love someone in his situation. And if you do, please don’t get upset when someone wishes death on them…and even worse, don’t be hurt when they high five over the wish come true. I hope none of you ever have to feel the way me and dozens of other people feel today…

  46. psycodug says:

    is NOT an African Name !!!!

  47. psycodug says:

    Mamlovebug just throwin some Truth out……….
    Rock-On Mama

    1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

  48. concerned_onscene says:

    to those of you who believe the bull crap they are putting out there did anyone read that aaron was unarmed did any of you see that those cops waited for him in the alley to come out of house do any of you realize what pre meditated murder is aaron may have been a thief but what i know for positive is that he wasnt a liar he wasnt violent he did not i repeat did not steal that truck he never thought or portrayed him self as better than anyone else he never acted or talked like he was holier than thou as some of you aaron was kind loving would do anything for most anyone he was a protector and when he loved he loved deeply he was trying to put his life together he and his wife were having a baby he was happy he was a kind loving man who made mistakes in his life that he had already paid for your all so judgmental i hope that each of you have a chance to have a run in with a corrupt cop what will you say then ? arron was loved by many and used by many but for those of us who loved him he will be missed and always hold a special place in our hearts and his child will know what a loving kind man he was and of the mistakes he made in his life for those of you who used him well you know karma and your time will come for the ones who sat and waited for him murder is murder i don;t care if you do carry a BADGE it does not give you the right to kill an unarmed man stop your lieing and admit to what you did what you don;t know can bite your ass damage control lol not done soon enough to save your ass and i wont just shut up your gonna have to stand accountable for your actions ‘

  49. SkeleTony says:

    I am a rationalist which puts me solidly on the Left on MOST of the issues.

    However, this is not one of those issues. Have the Conservatives here been making embarrassingly stupid comments? A few have, yes. But most of the comments left by Liberals here are at least as bad(for slightly different reasons). If you cannot spell, type without the caps lock button on or posit a logical argument and instead resort to calling people “heartless” and such then just don’t post here. You embarrass the rest of us ‘Leftists’.

    Secondly, a bad cop is an incredibly rare thing in spite of what irrational conspiracy theorists on the Left would have you believe and trying to characterize every single action a cop takes against a criminal as being ‘suspicious'(conspiracy theorist buzz-word) or an act of ‘police brutality’ or some such is stupid.

    Not every life is valuable and not every death is tragic. When you make the decision to live(meaning you did not turn 16 and kill yourself) you agree to a sort of contract with the rest of us. You agree to NOT steal from, murder, rape etc. and when you either commit the most serious/heinous of these forbidden acts or you make life-threatening moves against our police, you have to be taken out to protect the innocent.

  50. NonBeliever says:

    Aaron was my friend…….I know he didnt have a gun.But I also know that he knew this was all gonna end up one way…..him dead by the polices bulletts.He told me this,just hours B4 his murder…And a # of times prior2that also.
    I would like2know were either 1of the officers involved in his murder were also involved in any prior arrest of Aaron?
    Later dogg…..miss you already..say hi to the fellas,(Mac,Eastside,Mike&Price)REST IN PEACE….GONE BUT NEVER 4GOTTEN. your dogg,Nick

  51. concerned_onscene says:

    non believer you know me this is his girls mom we need to talk ..i was there ,you know where to find me .kaili

  52. concerned_onscene says:

    sounds to me like skele tony above is one of the cops that was after aaron after reviewing all the court files oh dam yes i have access there was only one warrant it was a bench warrant no where was he ever arrested for manufacturing or distributing no where in any of the records does it state he was arrested for trying to run over cfficers ,,most all of his cases were out of district or municipal courts as for you skele tony any loss of life is tragic the lies are surfacing and they can’t cover their asses it was murder `and now it will be proven as for tony i find that you must be a pompus ass .

  53. littleshawtyduece says:

    agree with m907 people are tired of having things they worked for stolen by thieves. Not too many are going to be sympathetic to theives and burglars getting shot when they resist arrest.

  54. aaronsaunt says:

    To anyone who knew Aaron personally and knew about his tragic death….his family is hurting terribly. We don’t know anything. Reading all of this is very upsetting but we do want to know exactly what happened. Can any of you help me? There’s too many conflicting stories being told. We just want the truth. It sounds like some of you were actually there? What can you tell me?

  55. SkeleTony says:

    NonBeliever, even ignoring the fact that you are offering hearsay and anecdote(which cannot be scrutinized and so is worthless as evidence) and assuming you are right that Aaron did not have a gun…

    So what? The COPS did not know that and when someone announces they are going for their gun and reach into a glove box the cops HAVE TO SHOOT! This is bot a debatable point here. Just a couple years ago we had four officers ambushed and assassinated in Lakewood while they drank coffee before work. THAT is the world we live in.


    I know how hard it is to be objective when you know or loved the person killed in such a way. The human brain is wired by evolution in weird ways. About %70 of our memories are completely made up by us to suit our own presuppositions. Our brains do not store memories the way a computer hard drive does. We quite literally ‘fill in the blanks’ with whatever our beliefs dictate so if one is already inclined to believe cops are evil in general then one will recall even incidents where the police go out of their way to help you as ‘another episode of police brutality/corruption/etc.’.

    You can speculate and engage in bizarre conspiracy theories which do not jive with the facts until you die of old age but here are the facts:

    The suspect was in possession of a stolen truck.

    He was wanted by the police for his crimes.

    When the cops approached him he decided to fight, even shrugging off a tazer while declaring an intent to use a firearm to kill the police while reaching into the glove box.

    If it makes it easier for you to sleep by calling me a “pompus[SIC] ass” then so be it but you can’t refute evidence and argument with nonsense and personal attacks and atrocious grammar/spelling.

  56. SkeleTony says:

    And really …every life is valuable and no one should be killed? Is that what you are saying?! So if cops had managed to find and shoot Ted Bundy before he was able to rape and kill the last few dozen girls he killed, that would have been another tragic act of out of control cops wasting a “valuable life”? What about Hitler or Stalin? Osama Bin Laden? What about the guys who take small children, rape and torture them for days and then kill them? Are their lives valuable? Why? And at what cost? Right now overpopulation is the biggest threat facing our species.

  57. My condolences to Aaron’s family and friends. He will undoubtedly be missed by all those who *truly* knew and loved him. I’m disheartened to see all of the cold, hateful, ridiculously judgmental commentary coming from people who didn’t know his name yesterday… and will have forgotten it by tomorrow. There was way more to Aaron than his troubles. SO.MUCH.MORE. Look, I’m in no way defending his transgressions. Did he make some extremely poor decisions throughout his life? Clearly. That’s not up for debate. All I know, is there were moments of real brilliance.(Years, actually.) Times that made me hopeful. Hopeful that he would be able to overcome his battle with personal demons, not only for himself, but for his family, also. Everyone has their struggles. Some more so than others. Aaron was no exception. That doesn’t mean that his life was expendable.

    RIP, Buddy. You are free, now. I will never forget you.

  58. Needtruth says:

    This is so unbelievable. The article does not make any sense, how can the police wresle with him, taser him and he is still in the truck? So they shot him at point blank range? Are any of you who are cheering this able to read and comprehend what you are reading? Did you go to school at all? IF and I say IF, he was fighting back the taser would have made him weak, and if,IF it hadn’t why oh why would they kill him instead do shooting him in the leg? HELLO wake up those that are happy about this. I hope, pray and ask the officers involved in this to speak the truth. And I also beg you to do so, for the sake of this beautiful spirit that should not have passed and for your own spirit and soul, cause if you do not, what awaits you in the afterlife isn’t very pretty. Confession is good for the soul. Whatever you face for doing this terrible act is worth not being haunted during your life and when you pass on. I join those who have posted kindness on this and love for Aaron in sending love to him and his family. These are difficult times that WE all are in, and we need to love one anouther

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