An off-duty Tacoma police officer fatally shot a man Wednesday who drew a gun after robbing a woman of her cellphone in South Tacoma, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.
Cool gave this account:
The officer was driving on South Tacoma Way near South 56th Street about 5:30 p.m., when he saw a group of people who appeared to be fighting then take off running.
He followed the people, who it turned out were two citizens confronting the alleged robber, after he pushed the woman to the ground and took her phone as she waited at a bus stop.
The pair chased the man to his truck nearby at South 56th and South Washington streets, then got into a physical confrontation.
The alleged robber pulled out a gun and pointed it at the citizens who chased him, who then backed away. The officer drew his gun as the man was getting into his truck, identified himself as an officer, and told the man to “drop it,” multiple times. The alleged robber kept pointing the gun at the men who chased him.
The officer shot him with one round in the torso, and the man drove a short distance and crashed near South 56th Street and South Tacoma Way.
“The officer confronted him, weapon drawn, identifying himself as a police officer, and then fired a round,” Cool said. “I don’t know what exactly the officer saw at this point.”
Crews took the man to the hospital, where he died shortly after 6 p.m.
Cool said she thinks he was in his 40s, about 6 foot 3 and 250 pounds.
The gun the officer used was his personal weapon, Cool said.
Further information about what happened and what caused the officer to fire won’t be available until he is interviewed. He is on administrative leave, per procedure.
The officer is a 59-year-old black man who has worked at the department for 23 years, and has 29 years of police experience, Cool said.
South 56th Street was closed between Washington and South Tacoma Way as crews investigate.