Crime

Long car chase ends with gunfire and crashed BMW on SR 16 and I-5 in Tacoma

Washington state crimes by the numbers

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs 2017 Crime in Washington Annual Report details crimes against persons, property and society statistics from agencies that serve about 92% of the state.
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The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs 2017 Crime in Washington Annual Report details crimes against persons, property and society statistics from agencies that serve about 92% of the state.

A Washington State Patrol trooper fired five shots at a robbery suspect’s car during a police pursuit Friday night in Tacoma, according to the State Patrol.

Nobody was injured and the suspect, wanted in connection with two robberies, crashed his car and was captured.

The pursuit involved numerous police agencies and covered two counties, freeways and surface streets before ending at the state Route 16 and Interstate 5 interchange.

The South 38th Street on ramp to I-5, eastbound SR 16 exit to Northbound I-5, Northbound I-5 exit to Interstate 705 and the Sprague Avenue exit to northbound I-5 were closed while police investigated.

The series of incidents began at 8 a.m. Friday when the driver of a white BMW exited his car at a Mount Vernon coffee stand, allegedly displayed a knife and demanded money, said State Patrol spokeswoman Johnna Batiste and the Mount Vernon Police Department.

At around 5 p.m., the same suspect allegedly robbed a Bremerton coffee stand while again displaying a knife, Batiste said.

Shortly thereafter, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies began a pursuit of the suspect’s car east on SR 16.

The State Patrol became involved on SR 16 at South 19th Street in Tacoma at 5:30 p.m., Batiste said.

The BMW exited on Union Street where Tacoma police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department took over the chase.

Eventually, the suspect reentered the freeway and took the exit to northbound I-5, Batiste said.

Troopers attempted to set up a spike strip — a device that punctures and deflates a vehicle’s tires. Its deployment requires troopers to leave their vehicles.

In this case, the strip failed to work, Batiste said.

“A trooper feared for his life,” Batiste said. “Five shots were fired at that point from the trooper to the suspect’s vehicle.”

At least some of the rounds hit the car but Batiste didn’t know how many.

The suspect tried to turn his car around in the opposite direction but struck two other vehicles. The BMW soon became trapped in construction barriers.

The driver fled on foot up the 38th Street on ramp but was soon taken into custody. Mount Vernon police described him on Facebook as a 34-year-old resident of that city.

The Tacoma Police Department will conduct the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.
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