Suspect allegedly fires rifle towards DOT workers

A 51-year-old man who said heavy machinery operating nearby was keeping him awake fired a rifle into the ground near two state Department of Transportation employees, then warned them "that if operations did not get shut down for the evening he was going to 'spray some lead' in their direction," court papers state.

Randy Leroy Thiesfeld, 51, was arrested on suspicion of felony harassment and two gross misdemeanors – illegal discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

The DOT employees were filling in a gravel pit near 169th Avenue and Gibson Road Southwest about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, court papers state. They were filling the pit with excess soil from a nearby road-widening project.

Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy James Chamberlain said Thursday that the deputies’ reports suggested the workers had a permit for the nighttime work.

The workers told responding sheriff’s deputies that they had heard a gunshot strike the ground near where they were working, then saw a man walk to the edge of the pit and announce that “people were trying to sleep,” court papers state. They said the man then threatened to “spray some lead.”

The DOT employees “appeared to be shaken up by the incident,” court papers state.

Thurston County sheriff’s deputies who responded went to a home in the 16000 block of Gibson Road. The deputies noted that when Thiesfeld answered the door, he had a mark on his eye from where the rifle’s scope had recoiled into his face, according to court papers.

Thiesfeld told the sheriff’s deputies that “it’s me you’re looking for,” court papers state, and told them that he had fired a shot toward the construction lights.

Thiesfeld agreed to let deputies search the mobile home, and they found a rifle beneath couch cushions. Chamberlain said deputies also found ammunition, and a spent shell casing also was recovered. Thiesfeld was being held Thursday at the Thurston County Jail with bail set at $7,500.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465