The 54-year-old Hoodsport man Tumwater police shot during a Tuesday afternoon hostage situation is in critical but stable condition at Harborview Medical Center, according to police.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, Tumwater Police Chief John Stines said two officers opened fire on the suspect after he held a hostage at knifepoint at the Jack in the Box restaurant on Trosper Road near Capitol Boulevard.
“I believe that our officers did the best they could with the information, their training and their experience,” Stines said.
The hostage, a man in his 20s, sustained minor defensive injuries.
Stines identified the two officers who shot the suspect as Lt. Steve Barclift, who has been with the department for 25 years, and Detective Chris Tressler, who has been with the department for 16 years. Both officers are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Barclift conducts field training for the department and heads the K9 unit. He previously worked for the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and the Aberdeen Police Department. Tressler is the department’s firearms instructor and previously served in the U.S. Marines. He was awarded a police department Medal of Valor for his work in a hostage situation a few years ago.
Police were called to the Jack in the Box at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after restaurant employees reported that a man was holding a knife, Stines said. Officers entered through the front door, and the suspect took a hostage in the back of the building.
Officers believed the hostage’s life was in danger, Stines said.
“He did make threatening movements toward the hostage,” Stines said of the suspect.
The suspect didn’t comply with police orders to release the hostage, and more officers entered through the back door of the restaurant. Those officers also commanded the suspect to release the hostage, but he didn’t comply.
Stines said the hostage was able to break away from the suspect, and officers opened fire.
Two Jack in the Box employees hid in storage rooms during the incident.
The suspect didn’t appear to have any connection to the restaurant, Stines said. “(His presence in the restaurant) appears to be rather arbitrary,” Stines said.
The suspect’s acquaintances told police that the suspect had mental health and substance abuse issues, and that he had been acting erratically.
The remainder of the investigation will be conducted by the regional Critical Incident Task Force, a team made up of the Tumwater Police Department, Olympia Police Department, Lacey Police Department, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.
The Olympia Police Department will lead the investigation, and Tumwater officers will not participate.
“We’re not in the loop. ... It creates some distance,” Stines said.
He said that investigators have obtained access to the server containing surveillance footage of the incident.
Olympia Lt. Paul Lower said the task force is in the “early stages” of the investigation.