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Man killed in officer-involved shooting in Tacoma ID’d

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Sep. 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
September 1, 2012 4:42 pm

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man shot and killed by a Tacoma police officer in the city’s Hilltop neighborhood on Friday as 29-year-old Prince Jamel Gavin.

Prince was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest, it reported Saturday.

Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, spokesman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Saturday the individual killed in the officer-involved shooting was a soldier formerly assigned to the base who was the process of transferring to another base.

Dangerfield said he would not confirm the name released by the medical examiner’s office until the Army verified it had notified the soldier’s family of his death.

Gavin’s Facebook page indicated he was a combat medic and he was set to report to a military base in Colorado on Sept. 10.

Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said Saturday the name of the officer wasn’t being released to give him time to notify family members and others of the incident.

Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell said Friday the officer felt threatened by Gavin and fired two shots at him following a brief confrontation on the 800 block of South M Street.

Investigators later found a .45-caliber handgun by Gavin’s body, although it was unclear immediately after the shooting whether the man pointed the gun at the officer.

“My understanding was it (the gun) was in his hand when he got out of his truck and ran toward the house,” Fulghum said Saturday. “What took place after that, I don’t know.”

The officer, who has been on the force for about five years, is on paid administrative leave — standard procedure when an officer uses deadly force on the job — and will be interviewed by investigators later in the week.

The incident began when officers were dispatched to domestic violence call elsewhere in Tacoma. They found no one there but believed that one person reported involved lived at the M Street address.

Once a different officer arrived, he spotted Gavin getting out of a truck. Gavin spotted the officer and ran toward the house.

Gavin turned at one point, leading to the confrontation that led to the officer feeling threatened and firing his service weapon, Ramsdell said Friday. The officer was in the middle of the street, and Gavin was shot and collapsed on the porch of the house.

The police chief said initial indications were the officer acted reasonably and within department guidelines for using deadly force. It’s the second time the officer has been involved in a shooting, Ramsdell said, although he didn’t know the details of the prior incident.

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