Submitted by Chief Mike Zaro, Lakewood Police.
On January 15 at approximately 9:00 AM officers responded to the Springbrook neighborhood in Lakewood for a report of a suspicious fire with the suspect still in the area.
Officers located a male matching the suspect’s description along with another male in the 12600 block of Lincoln Ave. When officers arrived and attempted to contact the suspect they recognized him as a suspect in a recently reported child rape.
The suspect was non-compliant with officers and within minutes one officer fired a single shot that missed the suspect and embedded into a wall behind him. In continuing their efforts to take the suspect into custody, the other officer fired a less-lethal beanbag round at the suspect. Shortly after that the suspect was taken into custody.
The suspect was uninjured, but was taken to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation. After release from the hospital the suspect was booked into the Pierce County Jail for Rape of a Child 1st degree and Arson 2nd degree.
On January 20 the Pierce County Prosecutor formally charged the suspect with Rape of a Child 1st degree but referred the fire to Municipal Court for review for Reckless Burning charges.
The subsequent investigation into the actions of the suspect and officer leading up to the officer firing his pistol support the following account:
The officer approached the two males in the alcove of the apartment building where the shooting occurred. The officer approached and gave verbal commands to both males to come out where he could see them. The suspect was non-compliant and verbally confrontational. At one point the suspect made a statement similar to “I have something for you” and pulled up the front of his shirt and reached into the front of his pants. The officer saw the suspect pull out a dark object and extend his arm in shooting stance. The officer then fired one round that missed the suspect. No firearm was found but a black cell phone was on the ground in the area where the officer said the suspect was standing when the shot was fired.
There will be further administrative review of the shooting.