A man was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies Friday in Frederickson after he allegedly carjacked a car, crashed it and emerged from the burning vehicle with a handgun, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.
The man, whose name was not released, was identified as a 33-year-old active duty Air Force member who lived in the neighborhood.
The string of incidents began shortly before 5 a.m. in the 18900 block of 23rd Avenue Court East.
“We had multiple reports of a man in a neighborhood waving a gun around and ranting and raving,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Troyer gave this account of the incident, which he said began when the man — who had a car in his driveway and had just returned home in it — tried to steal more than one vehicle from his neighbors.
“People coming out in the morning, getting ready for work,” Troyer said.
There were confrontations, and people fled from the man, who eventually commandeered a car from its owner.
“(The suspect) chased the guy down,” Troyer said. “The guy ran from him, and he took his car,” just as deputies were arriving.
“He disregards the deputies, drives straight at us over the sidewalk and curbs,” Troyer said.
The car went about two blocks before leaving the street and crashing into utility boxes and other obstructions outside a home in the 2500 block of 189th Street East.
“The car catches on fire,” Troyer said. “Our deputies try to get him out of the fire. He comes out armed. Shots are fired.”
Troyer said he did not know how many deputies shot the man, who died at the scene.
Neither the deputies nor others nearby were hurt, Troyer said.
Investigators from the Air Force were on the scene Friday.
“We’re sharing the information with them,” Troyer said.
So far, investigators are perplexed as to what led to the man’s bizarre behavior and why he would steal a car when he had one of his own, Troyer said.
“It was there in the driveway, but instead he carjacks a guy,” he said.
Christopher Andrade, 47, a loan officer, was asleep at his home a few houses from the shooting.
“I live by Fort Lewis, and they practice a lot, Andrade said. “I thought it was just practicing. Then I thought, it’s louder than that.”
He looked out the window.
“An officer was saying something like, ‘Put it down!’ Then I could see their flashing of fire,” Andrade said. “I heard rapid-fire shooting, at least 25 rounds, maybe 30.”
With the power out in the transformer between the two houses where the car crashed, the two families living there were told they couldn’t stay there because it was a crime scene.
Andrade decided to work from home Friday and invited the four adults and two children in the families to stay with him.
He said about what he witnessed this morning: “At 47, you’ve seen it all. To be honest, it wasn’t startling at all. It was just sad.”
The Seattle Times contributed to this report.