SEATTLE (AP) — Investigators face a difficult puzzle to piece together as they work to determine why a Utah man bolted and began shooting at sheriff's deputies in a Walmart parking lot, leading to a gunfight that left him and a young woman dead and two deputies wounded.
A day after the shootout in Port Orchard, Wash., a small city about 15 miles west and across Puget Sound from Seattle, officials said Monday they still couldn't say why Anthony A. Martinez, 31, of Salt Lake City, suddenly ran and opened fire during what began as a routine contact by deputies.
“That's going to be the million-dollar question,” said Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson. “We certainly can't talk to him anymore or to the young woman who is believed to be with him.”
Despite a number of attempts using photos and other methods, the young woman's name and age could not immediately be determined, said Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Washington State Patrol, which is leading the investigation.
“So far, we've come up with nothing,” she said.
She said an autopsy Monday might provide more clues, but doubted that a positive identification and notification of next of kin could occur by the end of the day.
The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported last week that police had issued an endangered persons advisory for a 13-year-old runaway believed to be traveling with Martinez. The girl, who fled from a South Salt Lake foster home on Tuesday, also had run away last fall and was found in Sacramento with him, the newspaper said.
Hedstrom said investigators learned of the advisory Monday morning.
“I don't want to speculate whether it's the runaway girl because we don't know that,” she said.
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(Sgt. Russ Clithero and Deputy Chris Andrews of the Kitsap County Sheriff's Department are pictured above exiting Tacoma General Hospital after visiting their wounded colleague.)
During his arrest last fall, Martinez attempted to flee but was captured, the Deseret News said. In November, he pleaded not guilty to a first-degree felony charge of child kidnapping in 2nd District Court in Farmington, Utah. Martinez posted bail and was released from custody.
Martinez had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on an order to have no contact with the girl. Court documents describe antagonism between him and the girl's family.
Hedstrom said a blue minivan found in the parking lot was identified as Martinez's. It has been impounded and will be examined carefully for evidence, she said.
An autopsy also was being conducted on Martinez Monday.
Deputies responded to a call Sunday about a suspicious person at the Walmart store. Wilson said they approached the man later identified as Martinez and tried to talk to him when he began running and they gave chase.
“For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots,” Wilson said.
Both officers were hit and unable to return fire, but a female deputy arrived and shot and killed the gunman, he said. The young woman who ran to the suspect also was hit and died later at a Tacoma hospital.
It's not yet clear who shot the woman. Ballistics tests on the bullets could provide the answer, Hedstrom said.
Wilson said investigators had not determined the relationship between Martinez and the woman. However, witness Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, said they appeared to be a couple.
“As soon as she saw him get shot, she ran for him,” she told The News Tribune of Tacoma. “She put herself in the line of fire.”
The wounded deputies also were taken to the Tacoma hospital. Tacoma police said both were shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition.
The female deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative assignment until the investigation is completed, which is standard practice