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Prosecutor: Deputy’s fatal shooting of Yelm man ruled justifiable, ‘suicide-by-cop’

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on April 9, 2013 at 8:58 am with No Comments »
April 9, 2013 8:58 am

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy acted justifiably when he shot and killed a Yelm man who pulled a gun on him during an ordinary traffic stop, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced today.

Deputy Martin Zurfluh feared for his life when Wayne Craddock pointed a handgun at him during the Oct. 12 confrontation alongside state Route 702 near 64th Avenue South.

“His actions at the time of the shooting indicate this is another sad case of suicide-by-cop,” Lindquist said in a written statement.

Craddock, 50, died of gunshot wounds to his head and torso. He was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Zurfluh, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department for six years, pulled Craddock over and realized Craddock’s license was suspended. The deputy ordered him to get out of his truck, which Craddock did but then abruptly got back inside.

Investigators said he was “worked up.”

When Craddock stepped out of his truck again, he allegedly raised a gun toward the deputy. Zurfluh opened fire out of fear for his own life, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

A .45 caliber handgun was found near Craddock’s body. He never shot at the deputy.

Witnesses told deputies Craddock was upset about his financial situation and said “I’ve had it. If I get pulled over, I’ve got my gun. This is it,” prosecutors said.

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