January 24, 2011 in Region

Two dead, two injured in West Side shooting

Jennifer Sullivan, Michael Berens Seattle Times
 

Two people were killed and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded in a shootout outside a Walmart in Port Orchard, Wash., on Sunday afternoon, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Kitsap County sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said the two deputies exchanged fire with a gunman in the parking lot. The man was killed outside the store and two male deputies were wounded; a female deputy who was present when gunfire broke out was not hurt, Wilson said. A fourth person, a female possibly in her teens, died after being taken to Tacoma General Hospital, Wilson said. It’s unclear if the young female had any connection to the man killed.

Wilson declined to name the deputies, only saying that one has been with the agency about 10 years and the other has been with the Sheriff’s Office about five years. He said the uninjured deputy is on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated.

Wilson said deputies went to the store around 3:45 p.m. after someone inside dialed 911 to report seeing a suspicious man carrying a gun outside the store. The two male deputies found the armed man in the store’s designated smoking area, authorities said.

When the gunman saw the deputies, he took off running through the parking lot, but he soon stopped, turned and opened fire, Wilson said. Deputies returned fire, killing him. “This situation is all very, very fluid and somewhat chaotic,” Wilson said during a news conference.

Both deputies were shot in the torso area, said Mark Fulghum, Tacoma police spokesman. He said both were in satisfactory condition Sunday night, with families present, and would remain at the hospital through the night. Neither of the deceased has been identified.

The Washington State Patrol will investigate the shooting because of the deputies’ involvement, said State Patrol spokesperson Krista Hedstrom.

About 100 customers were kept inside for about 20 minutes after the shooting before being allowed to leave, a Walmart employee said.

Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesman for Walmart in Bentonville, Ark., said they are cooperating with the police investigation. He said the store was placed on lockdown immediately after the shooting to help retain possible witnesses for deputies.

Witness Victor Meyers told KOMO-TV that the first shot he heard was followed by six more in rapid succession.

“I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire,” Meyers said.

Meyers said he saw a female deputy running toward someone on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.

The injured deputies are the first Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies to be shot in the line of duty since Deputy Dennis Allred was killed in an incident in 1978.

It is the sixth officer-involved shooting in a year in Kitsap, a county where prior to 2010, the last person killed by law enforcement was in 2006.

Port Orchard, the county seat with about 8,250 residents, is about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound.

The Kitsap Sun contributed to this report.


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