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Officer-involved shooting in Tacoma

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Aug. 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm with 37 Comments »
August 31, 2012 6:07 pm

UPDATE: A Tacoma police officer shot and killed a man this afternoon in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, Police Chief Don Ramsdell said.

The officer, who’s been on the force for about five years, felt threatened by the man and fired two shots at him following a brief confrontation in the 800 block of South M Street, Ramsdell said. Investigators later found a .45-caliber handgun near the dead man’s body, the chief said. It was not clear whether the man pointed the gun at the officer.

Ramsdell said the investigators will interview the officer in the coming days to get his account of what happened. The officer is currently on paid administrative leave.

The incident began as a domestic violence call at an apartment building near Tacoma Community College, Ramsdell said.

Officers dispatched there found no one but knew that one of the people reportedly involved lived at the M Street address, the chief said.

A separate officer was sent there. He had just arrived when a truck pulled up and a man jumped out, Ramsdell said. The man saw the officer and ran to a nearby house, but turned at one point and a confrontation ensued.

“The officer felt threatened at a certain point in time,” Ramsdell said.

The dead man was in his late 20s and might have been an active duty member of the U.S. military, the chief said. He did not know what branch.

Ramsdell said initial indications were the officer acted reasonably and within department guidelines for using deadly force.

PREVIOUS POST: We are on the scene of an officer-involved shooting in 800 block of South M in Tacoma.

Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell confirmed that TPD officer shot, killed a man this afternoon. It might be domestic violence related.

The officer felt threatened and fired two shots, the chief said. Investigators found a gun at dead man’s side, he said.

Adam Lynn, The News Tribune
Leave a comment Comments → 37
  1. Thank you for your dedicated service to our great country, without young people like you protecting our families we could not enjoy our many freedoms and democracy.

  2. Pecksbadboy says:

    Who are you applauding?
    The police officer or the possible active duty military victim, shot by the officer?

  3. jjohnson67 says:

    Something is strange here. The article I read about 6 AM said the officer was with the department for about 5 years, and this was his 2nd shooting. What happened to that part of the article? Did TPD administrators complain about including that information in the article?

    Two shootings in 5 years. Hmmmm

  4. serendipity says:

    The officer “felt” threatened. There better be a clear reason why such as the dead person had a gun. It’s aim, shoot, kill down there in Tacoma.

  5. jj- two shootings in 5 years….and your point is what?

  6. First off let me just me just state that I know the young man that was murdered, have known him his whole life. He was in the US military, he loved this country and has put his life on the line for it, Only to come home and be killed by a trigger happy police officer? what sense does that make? hell he might as well stayed on city streets of Chicago! Anyone that knew him know for a fact that the this story does not sound right. He was not confrontational, he was very meek.

  7. Reason_enemy_of_faith says:

    jjohnson makes a very good point. Maybe nothing is amiss, but why was that info removed from the article? We have to remember though that the TNT is a very timid and scared newspaper. Rarely are there hard charging demand for answers in stories if you haven’t noticed. This is the same paper who had a major columnist opine that same sex marriage is “tender territory” to report on. (What in the world would the TNT have said about the civil rights marches of the ’60s?) This is the same paper that turns off the comment section on a front page article on same sex marriage. This is the same paper that won’t identify a man who goes to the police station and confesses to murdering his wife and child, the police confirm they are dead in his home and yet the TNT won’t identify him until he is criminally charged, even though next of kin had been notified. I guess if the TNT was in West Valley Utah, it would never have named Joshua Powell in any articles about his missing wife because he was never charged!

  8. salodave66 says:

    MAYBE ITS TIME FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO COME TO TACOMA LIKE THEY DID IN SEATTLE !!! It was stated in a news article that he had a gun however not once did the officer say anything about reaching for it or even having it in his hand where was it probably in its holster – since when is that against the law. so the officer felt threatend if the po po come to our houses and we feel threatend is it justified if we shoot????

  9. Although I agree that as of recently there have been more then a few unjust shootings by poilce in Washington state. I am tired of people thinking they understand what they go through. You have someone holding a gun, you draw on them yelling out specific directions…”drop your weapon or I will shoot you.” Seems pretty clear what your options are. The weapon doesn’t get dropped it is not the police dept’s stance to wait to actually be fired upon to shoot. The fact that he had the gun was enough to shoot him, that put the lives of the officer and everyone in those homes at risk. It doesn’t take a genious. When an officer is pointing a gun at you, even if you only have keys in your hand, you do exactly as they say, nothing more, nothing less. Find your local community academy for pierce county and you will actually have some education as to how and why officers respond the way they do.

  10. tdbeacham says:

    Mzneko I knew him too. Met him in korea. We were n the same unit. I KNOW it ain’t in his nature…..

  11. Soldier247 says:

    Okay so here’s the deal. I knew this Soldier and I know he is a very passive guy and had a concealed weapons permit. He was responsible and nonaggressive. He loved his country and had served in the Army at Ft. Lewis for over 5 years without incident. He was a father and deployed a couple times to Iraq. He was African American and I guarantee that he was stereotyped by this trigger happy officer. On his off time he used to wear semi baggy clothes and dew rags but this was not as a gangbanger it was just his style. You have to believe me that this guy was just purely a nice guy. He also was a father and has a beautiful little girl who he loved so much. He used to show her picture off to anyone who would look. I will miss him very much and may you rest in peace. Just as a side note this Soldier also didn’t drink alcohol as he had given it up and was sober for about a year.

  12. Soldier247 says:

    Beacham you are 100% correct. He didn’t deserve this you and I both know that he was a very passive guy and this cop has to be in the wrong. Gang members don’t carry concealed weapons permits.

  13. FrozenFish says:

    So all of you soldiers absolutely KNOW what happened? You were there, right? I understand how it is hard to accept what might have happened, but you don’t know. Look at the guy in Spanaway who killed his wife and daughter. Everyone in the neighborhood said the same thing, they couldn’t believe he would do it, just like you are saying about this man. Honestly, everyone needs to reserve some judgement until more details are released. Right now, no one on this comment board has any clue as to what actually happened.

  14. flyfishingfool says:

    this is pretty cut and dry.. officer arrives on domestic call and says to man “get out and away from house/wife NOW” man says “NO” .. Ok from there its all down hill for the man, when you start denying the officers orders the officer has EVERY right to do what he can to break up whats happening. Domestica calls are the WORST calls any officer can respond to because of tension and anger involved.

    It looks like when the officer saw the gun on him and more likely said with his gun pointed “GET ON THE GROUND NOW WITH YOUR HANDS OUT!!!” We he probably didn’t and for some reason made a movement as to reaching for the gun” then it was over..

  15. Soldier247 says:

    True but it isn’t the same thing. The spanaway guy was commented on by neighbors but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. This Soldier we lived with day on and day off and we knew him a lot more than my neighbors would know me after three years living next door to them. You are right in the sense that who knows what really happened. I’m only saying that it isn’t in his character and in my opinion this isn’t a thing he would do. Especially because he was on his way out of the area and onto a much better assignment. I have nothing against police but I had a great uncle who was throwing a knife in the ground on his property minding his own business when a passing officer shot him dead (my uncle had a mental problem and this was in the 50s). Many years later that officer was the chief of police in my city in Washington and had shot and killed many people in his career. One day he decided to shoot and kill his wife and kids and commit suicide. The point is you never know who is in the right.. I think that just because you have a badge and swear to serve and protect doesn’t mean that you should get the benefit of the doubt. Most officers would never join the military and deploy to combat. Remember this Soldier was also sworn to serve and defend the constitution of the United States. Just knowing him I can say this was not in his character. Just my two cents. That being said who knows.

  16. Soldier247 says:

    I always thought that officers were not supposed to shoot to kill unless they were in sight of the weapon? Just curious. I thought that they were to wound first. And doesn’t a tazer drop an unruly person just as fast as a gun?

  17. Soldier247 says:

    The story says that a 45 was found on the ground. Not that it was ever pointed drawn or even visible to the officer. It just feels like obsessive force to me.

  18. How is a soldier any less capable of ‘losing it’ and threatening an officer than anyone else in the community? You only think you know what someone is capable of. Also, ‘shoot to wound’? As a soldier, are you trained to shoot to wound or to kill? Officers shoot center mass when guns, knives, clubs, whatever are drawn and the officer determines his/her or others lives are at risk.

  19. tribreader1966 says:

    Either way, It’s sad…

  20. TaylorIs2Based says:

    You don’t know their race so don’t start that stuff. The cops did their job so who cares. I know if i had a gun on me id put it down before the cops approach me.

  21. Soldier247 says:

    Either way the truth will hopefully come out in the end and nothing will bring him back.

  22. justmyopinion01 says:

    Solider247- what exactly is “obsessive” force?

    Some people have already said this already, but, I’ll repeat. You weren’t there, you do not know what exactly took place. I’m not saying every shooting to ever take place is a clean shoot, but unless you were there, you simply can’t say what should have happened or what you would do.And its not “shoot to kill” or “shoot to wound” its “stop the threat.” And I would do some people a world of good to learn a bit more about the police and why they do what they do in certain situations. But then again, if they did that, they wouldn’t be able to shoot their mouth off, complain and criticize on message boards hidden behind a anonymous user name.

  23. loveleeniiko says:

    I’m so happy to see the comments from the people that knew him and are speaking up on his character. This man was my boyfriend and we had been dating for 6 months. He spent his last month with me and my family was by my side daily. He did have a concealed weapons permit and was very responsible with his gun. He wasn’t a thug, he wasn’t abusive nor was he violent. He was trying to deal with an ex girlfriend who put him thru hell, from what I saw him dealing with and what he told me. He was a loving and caring man who was not a threat to anyone and I don’t know how he could have even been perceived as a threat. I can’t and won’t believe he drew his weapon, nor was that stated. He didn’t have a problem with authority and he was a law abiding citizen. He was african american and his ex was caucasian. I feel that there might have been some racial profiling and stereotyping going on. And what is TPD doing, is this shoot to kill? They took away the man I loved and the man my children adored and cared for. He became a part of my family. We never had an argument, a fight, and he never showed signs of abuse or aggression to me. He was a great boyfriend and friend to me. My heart hurts so much. I pray that everyone whose lives he touched speaks up about his character. He wasn’t anything bad. He was a respectable and just man who minded his business and did not entertain confrontation or conflict. He was very mature and considerate of the people around him whether he knew them or not. He was beautiful inside and out. He was just leaving to move to Colorado since he got orders and he and I did get a chance to say our good byes for now, not knowing it would be for good. We talked about having a baby and a future together and he wanted to further his career in the military. I can say his last days here with me were wonderful and he was so happy and smiled every day. He made me the happiest I’ve ever been. He did show signs of being a victim of abuse and admitted he had been in not so many words. All I wanted to do was love him and be loved by him. He loved his daughter so much and spoke of her often. He will be missed, loved, and remembered for the man I knew he was.. He was an angel and a proud soldier.

  24. pikgitar says:

    Tacoma News Tribune was told how to write this story by the Tacoma Pigs. There is no doubt in my mind that the cop was just another of Tacoma’s pack of lying thugs that shoot because they know they will get away with murder. I know exactly how the TPD operates because I have been through the court system there and every cop in my case lied and then when I won the case Piglet Officer Douglas Quantz threatened to kill me. The whole of the TPD is corrupt. If their lips are blurting out words you can be guaranteed they are lies.

  25. Thunderpump says:

    I don’t know why he ran when he was in front of or when he saw the cop,
    but I am thankful that cops have more pressing duties like this than pulling people over for no bike helmet.

  26. Like I said, I know this young man. Like the person that posted before there has been a lot of unjustifiable shootings by the police in the past! what does that say about the justice system? especially in that community!I guess just because you are the police that makes you judge, jury, and executioner?! give me a break. the officer did not state that the SOLDIER pointed a weapon at him. they don’t know what he is on paid leave!I have no faith in the police at all. this young man does not have a violent or criminal background, he served this country as a medic for soldiers and was there for them when that cop was still in training. please give me a break. there is no excuse.

  27. lovethemountains says:

    pikgitar, you are a real piece of…

  28. I would like to know more about this story. I am Prince’s aunt from IL on his father’s side. We just found out in IL what happened to him and thought he was one of the casualties of the war in Afghan. If someone could please email me at: to provide me with more information, I would appreaciate greatly. Thanks.

  29. ALADINO says:

    Do not judge until you walk in an officers shoes!!! We must remember that they protect us as citizens and they are not out there to be trigger happy. That is the last thing they want!! Officers are not taught to kill they are taught to protect unless they feel a threat!!

  30. justmyopinion01 says:

    Oh good…Pikgitar is back…haven’t heard his paranoid rage filled rants for a long time…

  31. There is something definetly wrong with this story. If the officer told the soldier to put his hands up or get on the ground, it’s reasonable to think the soldier would have. It’s possible the soldier was reaching for his gun to show the cop and put it down on the ground and the cop acted too quick and just shot, assuming the soldier was going to shoot him. I say this only because nowhere does it say what the officer said prior to shooting. Since the first thing you would want to reiderrate about would be that “I told him to blah blah blah and he didn’t and he blah blah blah and so I shot him. The officers statement of what happened that led up to the shooting should have been stated along with the original article, not that he will be investigated and get his story in the following days and we will learn what happened later. This sound like a cover up, give the cop a few days to get his story straight, make sure his partners story matches and his department head matches etc. What a crock this is, this cop should have a reason immediately on why he shot to kill another person! and not make us wait so he can memorize a bogus story. God bless the soldier and may he rest in peace. I know if it was me, I would not rest in Peace, I’d be one hell of a mad ghost

  32. GrimHorseman says:

    I have to agree with forzap, this seems a little off to me. I know that when I was in Combat and I had to shoot I had to fill out a mountain of paper work directly after, accounting for EVERY round that was fired, and WHY I did fire, never mind the rounds of enemy weapons dinging off my vehicle and turret. I was not given any time to “Get things straight” “Be sure of the event”. My statements were taken immediately afterwards. So yeah I smell cover up, and it wreaks like weeks old hot garbage.

    @ ALADINO, Maybe you should know your comrades before you start speaking for their character like the rest of us have/are doing. The police have a lot of power at their disposal on a daily basis. They need to be as responsible as any other Soldier doing their duty. Protecting and serving is warm, wonderful, and great. However, there should have been warning or instruction before shooting. Escalation of Force anyone? That applies to cops too. More than once the cops in this area have been questioned for their treatment/apprehension/shootings of the public they protect and serve. Anyone remember the Tacoma PD’s treatment of a 15 year old girl in their custody about 4 years ago? I’m sure that officer was fully in his Public given right to closed fist hay-maker that girl he out weight by about 150 lbs. Right?

    Last but surely not least, The Soldier, as MOST everyone has stated prior to me, was very calm, unshakable if I was to use one word. Very sensible, even headed and cool. Never raised his voice, quiet spoken and good natured. I wouldn’t for a moment even come close to thinking that this Soldier threatened, much less SHOT at a Police Officer. Rather show the Officer his weapon to let the officer know it was there, yes I can see that entirely. Rest In Peace my fellow Soldier.

    Remember Officer, all things good or bad do eventually catch up with you. Sleep well.

  33. grimshoneybee says:

    I myself did not know this particular soldier but from speaking with my better half I feel completely discussed with this situation. How is It the “officer” killed this man threatened or not? Not disarmed not! slightly injured, but KILLER/MURDERED/DEAD??? Why was this force necessary? why isn’t the city questioning this bullshit call by this officer? I believe when this issue is investigated any and all military should attend and state how this man was not in the least bit threatening towards anyone but terrorist. I feel the military should stand up for one of their own who was wrongfully executed and if those in uniform cannot stand up for this then the families and friends who stand behind our troops each and everyday should stand up in their places… I myself will do so with the information following this case!!!

  34. MaryKrumrey says:

    i agree with an earlier comment that it’s time for the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE to come in and investigate and review TPD. It certainly helped in Seattle. A gun on the side of a dead man sounds like a police throw down. A local force with honor is the Pierce County Sherifs department. Perhaps they could review and investigate TPD.

  35. lakeslancer68 says:

    I hope the Dept of Justice or some other organization investigates ALL the officer shootings that were “in fear of their life”….My brother in law, Larry Buck, was executed in the back of the head by a cop who said he had a weapon (turns out he did not have a weapon) Any one who knew Larry knows the kind of person he really was…not violent at all! The thin blue line all stick together when it comes to a cover up!! Sure there are decent cops but it seems that they are getting fewer and farther between! The families that are left behind experience the loss and have to live with the various stories that are put out in the media that are sometimes no where near being accurate!

  36. I was his neighbor.. I did not know him well. I do know there was lots of shouting and yelling within the home. But I agree with his friends and fellow soldiers. He was very polite and respectful and a decent neighbor. Always offering to help bring in my groceries and what not. The neighborhood was crazy that night and for weeks after. The neighborhood made it a black and white issue. Which is sad. Someone lost their son, their husband, their dad,and or their neighbor. Black or white this guy risked his life for our country so we could sleep at night! Being his neighbor I can say this man layer on his front porch dead in his uniform. For all to see. I’m disappointed no one had the respect to cover him up and have some respect for himnas a person and a soldier. God bless you good neighbor. May you rest in peace

  37. I was his neighbor.. I did not know him well. I do know there was lots of shouting and yelling within the home. But I agree with his friends and fellow soldiers. He was very polite and respectful and a decent neighbor. Always offering to help bring in my groceries and what not. The neighborhood was crazy that night and for weeks after. The neighborhood made it a black and white issue. Which is sad. Someone lost their son, their husband, their dad,and or their neighbor. Black or white this guy risked his life for our country so we could sleep at night! Being his neighbor I can say this man layer on his front porch dead in his uniform. For all to see. I’m disappointed no one had the respect to cover him up and have some respect for him as a person and a soldier. God bless you good neighbor. May you rest in peace

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