A Lewis County deputy and reserve deputy shot and killed a man wanted on a warrant out of Pierce County early Sunday morning after the man pointed a weapon toward them, authorities say.
The name of the deceased has not been released, and an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Both deputies will be placed on administrative leave as the encounter is investigated.
According to a press release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, at 1:14 a.m. Sunday, a deputy and reserve deputy were patrolling in east Lewis County. They spotted a “suspicious vehicle” parked at a dead end in the 100 block of Rainey Creek Road in Glenoma.
Online satellite maps depicting the area show a brief stretch of roadway just off U.S. Highway 12, with forest and wooded terrain lining much of the rural road.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, deputies made contact with a man in the vehicle — its sole occupant. They checked the man’s driving status, and found he had a no-bail warrant from Pierce County for one count of first-degree rape of a child and two cuts of second-degree child molestation.
The man was still sitting in his vehicle when deputies found out about the warrant. Deputies asked the man to step out of the vehicle. When he did so, the man reportedly brandished a weapon and pointed it at the deputies. The press release doesn’t specify what the weapon was.
When asked in an email whether the weapon was a firearm, Chief Bruce Kimsey — who is listed as the press release’s author — said he was advised to “release the man brandished a weapon at the deputies.” He also wrote that they’re waiting on more information from the investigating agency.
Both deputies fired their guns at the man.
“Aid was rendered on the man, but he was later pronounced deceased at the scene by medical personnel,” reads the press release.
Kimsey said the interaction between the deputies and the man is a subject to an investigation by a Critical Incident Investigation Team (CIIT). The sheriff’s office isn’t privy to CIIT’s findings or the contents of their investigation, he said.
Kimsey said, while the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office maintains a liaison between it’s office and the CIIT, the team is comprised entirely of law enforcement from Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pacific counties and Washington State Patrol.
The results of their investigation will then be sent to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for review, to determine whether the deputies actions were justified.
A press release indicates an autopsy of the deceased will take place 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Lewis County Coroner’s Office will release the man’s name in accordance to their procedures and policies.
“It just reinforces our vigilance that there is no such thing as any routine contact with anybody,” said Sheriff Rob Snaza.
Snaza said there are services available for deputies who were involved in tough situations who may be dealing with any sort of emotional fallout.
“This is an unfortunate incident. We never wish for this to happen upon anybody, but it just goes to show that our men and women are trained to deal with these situations,” said Snaza.
The last fatal deputy-involved shooting in Lewis County was on Nov. 1, 2012, when a deputy shot a knife-wielding man twice after the man lunged at him. The prosecutor’s office ruled later that month that the shooting was justified.