Thurston deputy shoots man during traffic stop early Saturday

A Thurston County sheriff’s deputy shot a suspected intoxicated driver in the arm on Reservation Road about 3 a.m. Saturday after the driver rammed the deputy’s vehicle multiple times, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The incident began when a sheriff’s unit was dispatched to assist Nisqually Tribal Police who were pursuing a driver who they suspected was under the influence of intoxicants, Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said.

When the deputy, in a marked sheriff’s vehicle, tried to intercept the fleeing suspect, the suspect’s vehicle crashed into the sheriff’s unit, Elwin said. The suspect was driving a sedan and the deputy was behind the wheel of a marked Chevy Tahoe, Elwin added.

“The suspect drove right into the oncoming lane and drove right into the front of the deputy’s car, basically hit him head on,” Elwin said.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the deputy got out of his vehicle and, as the sedan continued to ram the Tahoe, the deputy felt he was “at risk of injury or death,” Elwin said. The deputy fired a single round into the suspect’s vehicle and the bullet struck the suspect in the arm, Elwin said.

The shooting will be investigated by the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigative Team, headed up by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Elwin said.

The 29-year-old suspect was being treated Saturday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Elwin said. When he is released from the hospital, he will be booked into the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, he said. The suspect has not yet been charged, Elwin said.

The deputy suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from an area hospital. He will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard practice in officer-involved shootings, Elwin said.