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UPDATED: Deputies shoot, kill man who allegedly rammed their car in Spanaway

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on June 7, 2012 at 5:53 am with 58 Comments »
June 7, 2012 1:28 pm
The stolen pickup truck suspected of ramming a Pierce County sheriff's patrol car early today/Courtesy of sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer

UPDATED at 1:26 p.m.

Two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man early today after the man allegedly rammed the deputies’ patrol car twice in a stolen truck.

John M. Hull, 31, was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Meanwhile, the two deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. Neither deputy was injured.

The scene of an officer-involved shooting early today in Spanaway/Courtesy of PSCO spokesman Ed Troyer

Hull had lived most recently in the Pierce County area. He was on active supervision by the state Department of Corrections and had recently been released from prison after serving a 44-month sentence for intimidating a witness and taking a motor vehicle without permission, the Sheriff’s Department reported.

Troyer gave the following account of the shooting:

The deputies were working together in a patrol car when they spotted a pickup truck doing doughnuts and smoking its tires about 1:15 a.m. near 168th Street and B Street East.

The deputies got behind the truck and ran its license plate number. They discovered the truck had been reported stolen about 4 p.m. Wednesday in University Place.

When the deputies tried to stop the truck, the truck drove about 10 blocks down B Street, turned around and drove back to 168th. The driver eventually turned onto 167th, drove through a yard, hit a parked vehicle and hit the patrol car head on near 167th Street and B Street East. The patrol car was on the shoulder of the road at the time.

John Hull/Courtesy of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department

“He had plenty of room to go around the patrol car,” Troyer said. “It appears the guy intentionally drove through the yard and went head on with them.”

The truck backed up and hit the patrol car again on the front left side. As the truck tried to ram the patrol car a third time, the deputies got out of their vehicle and both fired their guns.

The truck went about 10 yards and hit a pole. Deputies pulled Hull from the truck and started CPR.

The truck came to rest against a power pole. Power crews responded to the scene to shut down the transformer so deputies could work on the truck.

Representatives from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office responded to the scene, which is standard procedure in deadly officer-involved shootings.

Troyer said investigators were looking into why Hull might have been driving erratically and whether he was involved in stealing the truck.

“We don’t know what was going on with him,” Troyer said. “We will have to wait and see if drugs and alcohol were involved.”

B Street was shut down from 168th to 167th. Six homes were without power.

Leave a comment Comments → 58
  1. guidocarmasi says:

    He may have been disoriented.

  2. clearconscience says:

    Darwin at work.

  3. Uh, allegedly? What’s up with that? Is there some reason to think the deputies are lying? They said the guy rammed their car twice. That’s a fact, not an allegation.

    It’s bad enough we have problems with some government agents here in Pierce County – we do not need to imply that none of them are trustworthy.

  4. SPanaway1 says:

    There is no “D” Street at 168th. Both locations are “B” Street.

  5. birdbraino1 says:

    They may be trustworthy, however, they are blameworthy too. Only aggrevated murder is penalized by the death penalty.

  6. surveyor1 says:

    Birdbraino….So what would you have the deputies do? Just pull aside and let the guy be on his merry way?

  7. sara518 says:

    This sounds oddly like something that took place last November in an ally in Tacoma. How many times can the Pierce County Police Department do this and get away with it? Just because the News Tribune says it, does not mean that they are the true facts in a story. Hope the family of this guy doesn’t have to wait for the lie of a report they are going to receive on this incident. Remember there are three sides to every story. Theirs, his and the truth. I’m betting we only hear one side of it.

  8. dsutton says:

    How about gettin out the vehicle and shootin the tires out or somethin different….too much death…if they were on the side of the road he had to be to to hit them…juzsayin

  9. SoCalPunk62 says:

    PGROUP and SARA518

    Geez you two are stupid. I don’t think that people could have such diametrical points of view on what is relatively straightforward reporting. We don’t have all the facts yet, thus the word “alledged.” There’s nothing here that suggests any inappropriate actions on the part of the deputies. Let’s all be reasonable adults with open minds and wait for the final, official report before spouting off such ill-informed, emotionally charged opinions. You only make yourselves look stupid by prejudging.

  10. rawdibob says:

    There has got to be easier ways to commit suicide.

  11. Ever since the “Lakewood Four”, local cops have been in a “shoot first, ask questions later” mode. Whatever happened to “controlled force”. Seems cops these days don’t want to do the dirty hard part of their job to take down a bad guy. They just shoot. Then, when they lose, they want a State Funeral in a Dome at taxpayer expense.

    Do your job properly, with professionalism and rationale.

  12. dinseattle says:

    Great job PCSO! Good riddance to bad rubbish. You should do this more often.

  13. Some sympathy for the person whose car was stolen. Surely, they would never want it back after someone had been killed in it. Don’t know how the man got hold of it but people need to be very careful about securing their vehicles.

  14. Tracianne says:

    Sure hope they arrested the truck as the headlines states: stolen pickup truck suspected of ramming a Pierce County Sherriff’s patrol car

  15. georgerosie4u says:

    Just one less for my Tax Dollar support. Thank you to the Deputies, and the fact you were able to safety go home to your families. Whatever his reason for ramming your patrol car, why did he steal someone elses vehicle? But whatever his motive, we won’t have to worry about him stealing or ramming another vehicle! Good job and thank you – PCSD.

  16. SoCalPunk62 says:

    A motor vehicle can be used as a deadly weapon, just ask anyone in EMS. If you ram a police cruiser TWICE, it’s no mistake. The deputies felt threatened by this deadly weapon and responded with deadly force.
    Stop revising headlines in a lame attempt at humor. The headline doesn’t read as you stated.

  17. georgerosie4u says:

    One more comment to those with the negative comments about the Police and their actions. Until you have been in their shoes, don’t judge in a negative way. Yes, I have been there and it is a hard job, and sometimes requires a heart wrenching decision! Think, if this Deputy was your spouse, whether male or female!! Thank you!

  18. onetuffgrandma says:

    Another street execution by local law enforcement. I can only imagine the joy of those officers when they ran the plate, learned it was stolen – and knew they could kill the driver without question.

  19. pungentsound says:

    Ever since the “Lakewood Four”, local cops have been in a “shoot first, ask questions later” mode. Good maybe these Jack-wagons will start catching on………..just kidding they won’t. Does that sound racist?

  20. justridin says:

    Sounds like it was the doughnuts that lured the cops in….ah yes…the usual suspects

  21. You ram a police car twice, that’s no accident, it’s an attempt to kill those officers. Hell, if somebody kept trying to ram my car I’d shoot them too. Self defense, plain and simple. I have no love for the police, but trying to run them down is a good way to get dead real quick. Gotta side with the PCSD on this one unless more info comes out…..

  22. SoCalPunk62

    How about you do not call me stupid.

  23. Wrapper98439 says:

    Shoot first, ask questions later ended after ramming the car once. It went from shoot first, to protect yourself and others at that point. if he would ram a cop repeatedly, he would have no problem taking out a family at a red light a block away on highway 7. The law clearly says that police can even shoot a guy in the back if there is reason to believe that the person can harm others. No doubt here.

  24. george82331 says:

    So, now we know. At least as to these two deputies having a patrol car rammed twice warrants the death penalty. It will be interesting to see whether more facts are forthcoming and as to whether the Sheriff and the Prosecutor agree with inflicting the death penalty under the circumstances.

  25. thebestofthebest says:

    You’ll all know what to expect, (if you didn’t already) if you ever decide to smash a stolen vehicle, twice, head-on, into a police cruiser. Drunk, depressed, angry at “the man”, “the system”, or snorting something that belongs in your bathroom, the outcome will be pretty much the same.

    If you try to “permanently injure” police officers (or anyone else) with two tons of steal, expect a swift response.

  26. veritatem says:

    From KOMO 2009:

    TACOMA, Wash. — Police here say two of their busiest car prowlers are off the streets, thanks to the work of alert high school students.

    John Hull and Autumn McKay are accused of stealing $35,000 worth of merchandise from dozens of people by snatching purses, breaking into cars and burglarizing homes.

    Police searched the couple home in Puyallup and a storage locker in Parkland. They recovered expensive cameras, big screen TVs, video games and holiday gifts still in their shopping bags, and thousands of dollars in gift cards.

    “They were very prolific,” said Det. Mark Fulghum. “They have no regard for anybody’s property. They were out there to get it as quick as they can, turn it. Who knows how much other stuff they’ve already gotten rid of?”

    Police say the pair would still be on the loose if it weren’t for the work of the students at Stadium High School.

    Hull returned to the scene of an earlier crime at the high school parking garage when students spotted him in a vehicle, detectives said.

    They tried to prevent him from fleeing while they called police. But when the man pulled a gun on them, the students backed off, according to investigators. They did managed to get the license plate number off of the man’s car.

    “The Stadium kids were instrumental in breaking this case — seeing the guys in the parking garage, recognizing the friend who had been victimized earlier, getting a license plate for us, which was a big part in getting these guys and getting things started for us,” Fulghum said.

    Hull and McKay had an outstanding warrant for violating terms of an earlier prison release. Corrections officers helped police track down the pair.

    Now police are busy trying to track down the rightful owners the stolen loot.

    Hull has been charged with vehicle prowl and intimidating witnesses. McKay has been booked into the Kitsap County Jail to face the charge of escaping from community custody.

  27. WashingtonTheState says:

    One less scum bag roaming the earth and taking up space. Great job PCSD, glad you are both safe.

  28. surveyor1 says:

    Sara518…while I won’t go so far as to call you stupid, why is it that you have already determined that this was blatent murder by the police and that they will lie to cover it up???? Were you there? Did you witness what happened? Or is it that you just hate the police and have a special fondness for criminals who make their way through life vicimizing anyone that can? Please read the post by veritatem above this one and tell me that the guy was not trying to harm the officers. Anyone that will threaten kids with a gun when he is caught stealing would most certainly try to run a cop down to keep from going back to jail. On that note, why in the heck wasn’t this guy still locked up?

  29. HawkBat1 says:

    Clearly the truck owner should be locked up for leaving a loaded truck out in the open, where any old guy could wander by and steal it. It’s a travesty that anyone would leave their vehicle unattended and fueled up… we all know trucks kill people.

    Where are the calls for stricter and more heavily enforced anti-truck laws? If trucks weren’t available to so many people, then this poor man wouldn’t be dead.

    Damn those trucks.

  30. HawkBat1 says:

    ***Sarcasm switched off now***

    Please let me add this: well done PCSD, well done. I’m sorry that this idiot put you guys into this position, but his actions clearly precipiated yours and put you both in a tough spot. Well done, and thank you for your quick actions this morning, my family and I appreciate the efforts you and your brothers and sisters in blue make on our behalf.

    Stay safe and keep shootin’ straight.

  31. surveyor1 says:

    So in 2009 John Hull had a warrant for his arrest for violating the terms of an earlier prison release. He was then arrested by the police for a string of purse snatchings, car and home burglaies one of which he threatened kids with a gun, sending him to prison for at leats a second prsion term. All of that and they couldn’t keep this guy in jail more than a couple of years thereby allowing him to be on the streets this week stealing cars and running the police down? Seriously?

  32. concernedfamily says:

    ok did this young man have a weapon? why does the truck look like it was going at least 45 mph when it hit the pole? why does it also look like it had been RAMMED in the drivers door? things that make you go HMMMMM!!!!! how did he get shot in the back if they fired at at his chest????? Why will they not let his local family identify his remains??? And why do they won’t him cremated??? investigate that !!!!!! anybody with any crime scene training can see from your photos that something smells fishy. Please follow this for his family!!!! also if they where in there car why didn’t they pull away until BACK-UP arrived???????? show us that you are good reporters.

  33. concernedfamily says:

    if you serve you time when you do a crime then you have PAID your dept according to the law!!!

  34. Yuppers John was Shot close range in the back. If he was ramming the front of their car, how did they go about shooting him in the back? plus if he was ramming the car, what kind of trajectory would you have to have to miss all the other obstacles and hit that pole. IMO this kid was trying to run and running isn’t a death sentence worthy crime.

  35. I hope all of you lovely people have one of your children do something stupid and have a natural flight or fight reaction and run, then they get shot in the back as well. I will congratulate those police officers. Cause once that happens only the cops “story” can be what i use to crucify you.

  36. Comput3rguy says:

    he didn’t deserve to get shot to death, they could have used other means, this is so typical of cops to shoot to death unarmed people. those cops were in a car and not in any real danger other than getting their car smashed up. And this is “allegedly” anything that anyone is accused of by the state has to be proved in a court of law, that’s why it is called “allegedly” (group)

  37. concernedfamily says:

    Thanks to everyone who does understand the law! How did everyone know that he was shot in the back at close range? Wow I hope I never have to go through that town knowing that they have those kind of officers. They give good officers a BAD name.May god bless all of you! No matter what your oppinion is!

  38. mdawg2110 says:

    Concerned family what is the law? Help me understand…..I think they Deputies showed great restraint. They got rammed twice and did not engage the lethal threat. They only responded with deadly force when this f***tard came after them a third time. Having only seconds to make a decision, they engaged threat. I think any reasonable person with a lick of common sense would have one the same thing.

    Based on your comments it is obvious you live in a bubble that is filled with sunshine and lollipops where unicorns run freely pooping out rainbows.

    It is obvious you don’t have the training, experience, or the common sense to comment on this topic.

    The police do not show up to your job and tell you how to pull down the slurpee handle. Don’t tell these brave deputies how to stay alive.

  39. CarbonLifeForm says:

    I support the actions of these officers after what I have heard on the Ron and Don Nation and what I’ve read.

  40. concernedfamily says:

    just to give you some insight on law…. the officers also had the choice to move out of range until BACK-UP arrived. and i do have law enforcement training!!!! that is why i know the choices that have to be made daily!!! so…. now that i would like you to not judge on this. or are you closer to the officers?? and then do you really know what happened? if so tell me! but in all honesty. I want to thank you for being so kind with your comment!

  41. Comput3rguy says:

    never trust cops by law they are aloud to lie to get an arrest, no good can ever cop from talking to cops or being around them, they will arrest their own mother to get up in ranks. i don’t care what any P*G says in this thread, everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
    and besides I have seen cops use a bean bag gun on someone coming at them with a sward, shoot a gun out a guys hand. then well there’s that american Indian who was shot in the back in Seattle, way to go P*gs

  42. F the police I knew John he was a great person.. don’t they have tazer gun. But instead of saving a life they want to take life.they pulled me over in my drive way .for no reason. The good guys give me a break the bad guys.

  43. Comput3rguy says:

    sorry for your loss midnite

  44. If I u have time to shoot him then u have time to shoot the engn block or tires..the car would have been disabled and then maybe a better choice to preserve life could have been made..who the best ppl to share the ability to save and preserve life with the use of none leathal force..?. The police duh……atleast that’s what u would think right..come on guys..we need more supermen on the force..not rambos..a car. Used as a ram is a weapon hands it enough to kill a man..I don’t think so..and it shouldn’t be the end of most chase storys u hear..but it is..I feel things could have been done a lil diferent..I don’t know everything..but I do know the diference between a person trying to get away and a person trying to kill me..this sounds like a person trying to get away not kill..another life taken by the ppl we pay to save us..will i be next..??..THESE DAYS THIS IS A REAL VALID QUESTION..RIP MY EX COWORKER..MY HEART GO OUT TO HIS FAM.AND TO THE POLICE THAT THIS OPENS THERE EYES AND HELPS TO MAKE SOME CHANGES…

  45. veritatem says:

    It didn’t take long to get that “I knew him, he was a great guy” post. An ex-con, someone who threatened teenagers with a gun, and probably a car thief. He does sounds like a great guy. Now we will hear about how he wasn’t understood, or that he had a sad childhood. The fact of the matter is that he set things in motion when he was in a stolen car driving in an erratic manner. He sealed his fate when he rammed the officers’ car.

    The ignorance and hate expressed in recent posts is unbelievable:

    Shoot him with a taser. Inside his car?

    Shoot the engine block. Even if they had armor piercing bullets, that would be quite the shot.

    Shoot out the tires. Another shot that only happens in the movies.

    The police want to have him cremated, won’t let family see body. Where did you get this from?

    I hope you have … one of your children shot in the back. Really? Why?

    Police will arrest their own mother to advance in the ranks. Must be a lot of moms in prison.

    Granted, we do not have all of the facts at this time. We do know that he was in a stolen car, had a criminal record, had used a gun in a crime in the past and rammed the officer’s car repeatedly. The article says nothing about where he was shot.

    It is not up to us to pontificate on which person deserves to live and which one deserves to die. What we can judge is whether the actions of John Hull justified the actions of the Pierce County deputies. Based upon the information available, it seems reasonable the the officers felt that they were in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. As such, they were fully justified in using lethal force. The other options of tasers, shooting out the tires or engine block are total fantasy.

  46. you know times are bad when cops are shooting white folks, whats the world coming to?

  47. veritatem, you appear to be the most intelligent person that has read or commented on this topic. Police do a very hard job that most men & women are incapable of doing! Anyone that thinks otherwise either support bad people who break the law and terrorize society or are those bad people who are stealing peoples vehicles or breaking into peoples homes. If you try and run over anyone, especially a police officer, you deserve to be shot.

  48. uwhusky82 says:

    Comput3rGuy- you cannot be serious right? “Never trust a cop by law they are ALOUD to lie to make an arrest” Let me help you out her okay? First off cops are not ALLOWED by law to lie.

    Second “I have seen a cop use a bean bag gun on someone coming at them with a SWARD” Well I can only imagine that it must have been quite entertaining to watch, but you do know it is SWORD not sward right? And last but not least cops only ahoot guns out of people’s hands in Hollywood flicks where it is not reality. Come on man even though reading your posts you appear to be a teenager (just a guess after reading the spelling and grammer) even a teenager is smarter than that.Police are trained to shoot center mass translation: chest/abdomen. Why you ask? Although most cop haters believe this is because they are taught to shoot to kill they are wrong. They are trained to shoot center mass because it is the largest part of the body. WOW what a concept huh? An officer does not and will not shoot a gun out of a perp’s hand because the hand is too small of a body part and the likelihood if missing and having an errant bullet is high. I hope this helps!

  49. uwhusky82 says:

    Midnite- I’m sure John was a great guy and just was misunderstood this shouldn’t have happened to him at all right?

    Guess who else was a good guy? Ted Bundy was a nice and gentle soul just ask local writer Ann Rule that is except for the fact that he murdered many women. Oh and Gary Ridgeway was a good guy too co-workers loved him he was great except he murdered many women.
    Your friend John was a great guy except he was a thief, burglar, car prowler, points guns at teenagers like a coward and could not stay out of trouble even after doing prison time. But he was a nice and great guy problem for him is the people he chose to victimize this time fought back and the coward lost!

    You do see the common theme here correct? They were all good guys other than the crimes they contstantly committed without regard to thier victims. Glad I could help and put things into perspective hope you have a great day!

  50. Comput3rguy says:

    veritatem I have two brothers who are cops! I know what they do, none of are family will hang out with them, they come in to are homes and nit pick at everything, they are like freakin Nazis. They think they are better than everyone else, & one brother is half brother and had his mother arrested for being under the influence of marijuana after she told him she had smoked some with a co-worker after work in the parking lot. I had Cigars from Cuba & I mistakenly told him they were when I offered one to my brother, he told me I had 24 hours to get rid of them. So I did, ok yes they are illegal to have, I would have taken it as a joke but he stomped out of my house in anger yelling at me at how could I be so stupid as to ask him to partake in braking the law lol.. so don’t give me all your stupid righteous BS, cops are horrible people trained to protect the state and the ruling class they can lie to get you arrested! it is legal for them to do that…

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,
    But Not to their own facts.

  51. concernedfamily says:

    If he was in the truck and getting ready to ram them again how is at he was shot in the back at close range?? what was he doing looking out back window on his knees to give them a better shot at way they would not miss there shot what did he do say here i am empty out TWO clips on me please kill me? How could he have been shot in the back and only shot from behind if he was facing them ready to ram them a third time please explain that to me if you can because if they shot while he was in the truck and had to be pulled out to start CPR there is no way that i can see him being shot in the back can you?

  52. uwhusky82 says:

    Comput3rGuy you crack me up. First off it is our family not are family and second I doubt your story if those horrible brothers who are cops, but even if it is a true story you are mad at your brother who is a officer of the law because he will not partake in the smoking of illegal cigara with you? Get a clue dude they are illegal!

    Concernedfamily question how do you know he was shot in the bavk? None of the publications I have read has stated such. So how do you have supposed information of him alledgedly shot in the back?

  53. Comput3rguy says:

    Yeah I had to ask my brother to get the hell out of my house as he was walking around and searching my place. none of our family can have them over at parties people will just leave. cops can hang with cops or should i say pigs. & no I am not mad because he wouldn’t smoke a cigar with me, I never told him before where they came from, and he smoked them. I know fist hand what pigs are like… I studied Law, because I was going to be a lawyer, but got side tracked and became a dad instead… and you not knowing how he got that info is laughable!

  54. Comput3rguy says:

    Bad cop no donut!

  55. concernedfamily says:

    to uwhusky82 if you are a cop as you say then you should know how i got my info I am a concerned family member after all, think about smart boy. I am just wondering how other people in the area know it was at close range in the back did they see what happened?

  56. concernedfamily says:

    I think god that in my state we do not go into something like what they say happened here without backup and go out of our way to go by the book and not shoot first and ask questions if they are still alive.

  57. sincere says:

    Another one bites the dust!The only complaint I have is the Officers doing CPR on the criminal.Those that feel the Officers actions were too harsh should let someone in a truck ram them twice in the complainers auto.

  58. delia2069 says:

    I bet if he wasn’t white no one would be defending him. Criminals no matter what race deserved to be punished and sounds like karma got this guy. Sad.

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