The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office will lead a regional team of law enforcement agencies in the investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting Tuesday night at Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester. 

According to a release from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday Thurston County deputies were dispatched to a request for a welfare check in the area of U.S. Highway 12 and Anderson Road Southwest near Rochester after receiving a report from a family member that a 55-year-old Lakewood man left his residence acting erratically and armed with a pistol. 

The man was identified Wednesday as Daniel James. 

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Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security guards work with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office to contain the scene of a police-involved shooting in the casino parking lot Tuesday night in Rochester.

A Thurston County deputy found the man’s vehicle in a parking lot at the Lucky Eagle Casino.

The man reportedly exited his vehicle with a pistol and approached the deputy. He allegedly refused the deputy’s orders to drop the weapon. 

The deputy fired his service weapon and struck James several times, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. 

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Medical personnel and officers fill the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

Aid crews were dispatched and the man was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia where he was later pronounced dead. 

The deputy was not injured. 

“The Casino and Tribe are focused on the safety of the guests, casino employees and the community,” according to a statement on the Lucky Eagle Casino’s Facebook page. “Tribal Police, casino security and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department are working together in the investigation and we will have further comment when we are able to share more information.”

The incident is being investigated by the Region Three Critical Incident Investigation Team, composed of law enforcement officers from Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has been designated as the lead agency for the investigation. 

“If one of the counties in the region 3 has an incident occur they can activate the team — resources from the other four counties come to investigation the incident and the home agency stays out of the investigation,” said Chief Deputy Dusty Breen of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. “That way there’s impartiality.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office will act as lead agency, but detectives from Mason, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties are also working on the investigation, which will focus on the shooting and events leading up to it, but will not investigate policies and procedures of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. 

“The role of the team is to look at any criminal elements that could be involved in the investigation,” Breen said. “We’re looking at the criminal element by anyone involved.”

After the critical incident team is finished, the home agency, in this case the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, can do their own investigation on “internal processes,” Breen said. 

In an interview with The Olympian Wednesday, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said the shooting was a tragedy.

“How horrible is that for the family and the deputy that went through that?” he told The Olympian. “I’m sorry it happened … where there were a lot of civilians trying to enjoy the night, and we had to be involved in something like this.”

Breen told The Chronicle investigations such as this typically take three to four weeks. John Snaza’s twin brother, Rob Snaza, is the sheriff in Lewis County, but Breen said no special steps would be taken in the investigation because of that connection, according to The Olympian.

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An officer watches as Thurston County medical personnel use a gurney to move a man near the back of an ambulance to prepare for a critical care helicopter to transport the suspect from the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

In Washington, an officer is only guilty of using deadly force when prosecutors prove the officer acted with malice and without good faith, The Olympian noted. 

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A Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security guard puts of police tape around the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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A Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security officer guards the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino on October 10 in Rochester.

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Police officers fill the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Thurston County medical personnel use a gurney to move a wounded suspect near the back of an ambulance to prepare for a critical care helicopter to transport the suspect from the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Thurston County medical personnel use a gurney to move a wounded suspect near the back of an ambulance to prepare for a critical care helicopter to transport the suspect from the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Shooting

Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security guards work with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office to contain the scene of a police-involved shooting in the casino parking lot Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Shooting

Medical personnel and officers fill the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Police tape surrounds the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino on Oct. 10 in Rochester.

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Shooting

A Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security guard puts police tape around the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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A critical care transport helicopter leaves the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Shooting

A Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel security officer guards the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Shooting

An officer watches as Thurston County medical personnel use a gurney to move a man near the back of an ambulance to prepare for a critical care helicopter to transport the suspect from the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Shooting

Police officers fill the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino Tuesday night in Rochester.

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Medical personnel and officers fill the scene of a police-involved shooting in the parking lot of Lucky Eagle Casino on Oct. 10 in Rochester.

(2) comments

sachmo9

It is a bad place to be after dark, some of the people that come and go there will make you stay away late at night. I have seen people so intoxicated there they have fallen off of game playing chairs. Also there is more than cigarette smoke drifting around in there. Seniors are for the most part better going of a day and leaving early. The tribe had better clean it up there or could eventually be in trouble.

national

"The tribe had better clean it up there or could eventually be in trouble." In trouble with whom, exactly? They'll claim sovereignty. It's sort of like a dual citizenship of convenience.

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