Strapped with shotguns, handguns and knives, at least five men in camouflage clothing crept in the dark Thursday toward a Lakebay home.
They allegedly targeted the house because it contained a marijuana-grow operation. By the end of the ensuing gunfight, one man would be dead and at least two others wounded.
“They were heavily strapped,” said Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. “We have close to 50 rounds that were fired. This was an orchestrated drug rip-off.”
The first rounds were fired about 8:30 p.m., breaking the silence in the rural area that is a maze of private dirt roads.
Investigators believe up to 100 shots could have been fired. One suspect, still armed with a shotgun, was found dead at the scene.
The homeowner, who was wounded during the shootout, was taken to Tacoma General Hospital.
A second suspect who was spotted walking down the road also suffered gunshot wounds.
As deputies descended on Lakebay late Thursday, three or four armed suspects remained on the loose.
“We believe they may have been shot because of the amount of rounds that were fired,” Troyer said.
Neighbors were urged to keep their doors locked and call 911 if they saw or heard anything suspicious. Deputies were kept close on hand to respond to any calls that came in.
Detectives were trying to get a search warrant to look around the home and get a closer look at the pot farm. They planned to work through the night gathering evidence and looking for the remaining suspects.