Details on the Lakewood shooting

From the WA-CCW email list:

Coffee shop was owned by a retired Tacoma pd officer. It was considered a “safe” hangout for cops waiting to go on duty, or to stop by for a break.

Lakewood Pd (officers that were killed) was a new department recently formed.  Almost all of the deputies were hired from Peirce co Sheriffs office.  The deputies were hired from the jail. Most were sworn deputies, but had primarily worked the jail. Sounds like they had little time on road.

The four deputies were drinking coffee before shift and working on laptops with heads down. Table was approximately 15 feet from counter/check out register.

Shooter came in and smiles and acknowledges the two deputies facing the door way/entrance. They return greeting. Shooter goes up to counter like he is going to order. After stepping up to counter, he pulls semi-automatic pistol from under his coat. Shooter takes a couple of steps toward table, where the deputies are seated. Distance is now approximately 12 feet.

Shooter shoots first deputy, who is facing him across table. He is shot in head. He is killed instantly. Shooter then shoots nearest deputy, that is seated away from him, in the back of the head. He is killed instantly.  Shooter then shoots across table at third deputy, who is facing him, and misses. Fourth shot is fired and strikes third deputy in face, killing him instantly.

Last deputy is a Sgt. He stands, while drawing weapon, and charges shooter.  Table knocked over in attempt to stand. Sgt grabs shooter by coat and engages shooter. First round strikes shooter in mid-section and goes through and through. Second round is fired and strikes shooter in front pocket. Round hits keys, but penetrates about 1.5 inches into shooters thigh. Deputies carry 180 grain gold dot ammunition (unknown at this time what kind of pistol).

Shooter raises gun and shoots Sgt in face. Sgt falls to ground. Shooter kneels/bends over Sgt and does a CONTACT shot to the right eye.  Shooter then shoots Sgt in the other eye, once again a CONTACT shot.

Shooter takes Sgt’s wallet and steals credit cards and Sgt’s duty weapon.
Shooter does not rob the store or hurt or threaten anyone else.

The shooting lasted approximately 3-5 seconds for the first three deputies.
The Sgt’s encounter lasted another 5-7 seconds.

Accomplice waiting outside and gets into car. They leave the area.  Accomplice is a former cell mate he did time with in Arkansas prison.

Federal agents track shooter by cellphone “pinging” to locate phone/area.  Five more additional accomplices help shooter with medical issues, food, money ect. Feds find driver and get the name of shooter.  All accomplices are arrested and general area where shooter is headed is found out.

Tuesday approximately 3:00 a.m. shooter turns off phone and takes battery out, so that Feds can no longer track phone.

Short time later, Peirce county deputy checks 10-46 abandoned car. Car running with lights on and drivers door open.

As Deputy was walking back to squad he sees movement from behind squad.  Once he clears his headlights, which were blinding him, he sees shooter recognizes him. Shooter is crouching behind squad now. Deputy orders him to ground and other commands. Shooter attempts to draw weapon and to run.  Deputy fires five rounds. Three strike the shooter. Shooter falls to ground.  Deputy covers shooter until back up arrives. Unknown how long this took.  Once back up on scene, shooter is cuffed. He is dead at this point.

Deputies find slain Sgt’s duty weapon on shooter. The round recovered from the shooters body is traced to the Sgt’s weapon, confirming the Sgt shot the shooter.

Some lessons to learn from our fallen brothers.

1. Just because you are “off duty” or in a “safe” restaurant, keep your head up and your eyes and ears open.
2. Do not sit close to the register or other focal point (entrance doors, bathrooms, hallways ect). Try to sit where you can scan the area.

3. Leave devices that distract you, like laptops,ect in the car. Do your reports and other things that take your mind off your safety, at post or far away from the public.
4. Even at lunch or break, don’t let your guard down. You should always be in condition yellow.
5. Keep your distance. Take those lateral steps or diagonal steps and move. It is a lot harder for the bad guy to shoot a moving target, let alone alot of distance.
6. Each time you train, train as if your life depends on it.

When the time comes, you will not arise to the occasion and be a hero, you will fall to you level of your training effort and perform at that level.  I do not think they could have done anything different after the contact, do your best at whatever training you attend. Lose the mentality of “It will never happen to me” and train as you wish to fight, fight like you train.

There also is speculation that the “abandoned car” was a trap enable another police killing.

People get all wound up about the guy using a gun to kill. I think fewer lives were taken and he was caught because he did use a gun. In this situation walking in with a lite road flare in your hip pocket and a five gallon bucket of gasoline to soak them down with would have been just as effective and probably less risky for the murderer.

Even with all the shooting I have done and being able to put aimed shots in a stationary man sized target 10 feet away at the rate of about five per second I wouldn’t take on four people, all armed, in a situation like that. It’s just too risky. Had they been in the middle of an empty parking lot and I was concealed 500 yards away with a scoped rifle then maybe the risk would be acceptable to use a gun.


2 thoughts on “Details on the Lakewood shooting

  1. Joe,

    This email is not factual. I will paste in an email sent out by Lakewood P.D. command staff.

    Posted 30 December 2009 04:44 Hide Post
    The following, from command staff, is what KUTF mentioned above:

    From: Mike Zaro
    Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 3:17 PM
    Subject: false story

    From the sounds of it, that false story has been forwarded from one coast to the next. The people I talked to seem to have the best intentions but nobody thought about the accuracy of the story. I am having Ryan e-mail the following out to all his intel groups:

    There is a very misleading and false account of events surrounding the murder of our 4 Lakewood Officers being circulated. We do not know the origination of the report but it has apparently been circulated among law enforcement “intel” groups as a true account. This report is NOT TRUE. No factual account of the events surrounding the murders has been released so anything that has been published up to this point should be assumed false.

    I doubt this will get sent around as much as the story, but it should help a little.

    Assistant Chief Michael Zaro
    City of Lakewood Police Department
    9401 Lakewood DR. SW
    Lakewood, WA, 98499

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