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SWAT team arrests a murder suspect

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Residents of the Cedarview neighborhood were awakened by the tactical sounds of the Metro/Pierce SWAT team and Bonney Lake Police Department April 13.

The officers were in the process of arresting Timothy Engh, 27, suspected of murdering his wife, Brenda Engh, 31, of Yelm, the night before.

The incident in Bonney Lake began about 5:30 a.m. when officers spotted a 1994 Honda Accord at 9404 205th Street.

According to Chief Criminal Deputy Dan Kimball of the Thurston County Sheriff's office, the Bonney Lake Police Department was alerted that Engh could be at his uncle's house in Cedarview.

Engh was accused of shooting his estranged wife four times, once in the neck and four times in the abdomen, while she held their 7-month old daughter.

"We believe he shot her about 6:30 (p.m.)," Kimball said. "A 6-year-old girl and her aunt were riding bikes by the residence and heard the baby crying. They called 9-1-1. The victim was deceased. She lay outside on the back porch with a 7-month-old girl covered in her blood. We believe she was holding the girl when he shot her."

The SWAT team began moving into position at the Cedarview residence around 6 a.m. April 13.

"The uncle, who lived in the house, was contacted and the grandfather, who lived next door," Kimball said. "They both said he was in the house. The SWAT team got both of them out of the area before they moved in."

According to Bonney Lake Officer Rob Kearney, Engh had lived with his uncle for the past month.

At about 9 a.m., officers detonated "flash bang" distraction devices as SWAT team members moved into position around the house.

Officers used a megaphone to communicate with Engh and a phone was thrown through a window.

After getting no response, around 10 a.m. SWAT team officers fired tear-gas canisters into the residence and within 30 minutes rammed the front door down.

"He had been ingesting pills and had superficial cuts on his wrist," Kimball said. "He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, released the next day, and booked into Thurston County jail."

Kimball said Engh has initially been charged with second-degree murder and domestic assault.

A .38 caliber handgun was recovered in Orting, which was believed to have been used in the murder, according to Kimball.

"We think he went to another family member's residence after the crime and stashed the weapon," Kimball said. "The relative didn't know Engh had hidden the weapon there."

Engh was arrested for driving under the influence two months ago, Kimball said.

Police officers had responded to two domestic disturbances at the Yelm residence, according to the Thurston County Sheriff's office. The first call came in March 2004 and the second in January 2005.

Kimball said a domestic violence detective contacted the victim, but she declined assistance.

"We have over 2,500 domestic violence calls in Thurston County," Kimball said. "It is our number one call for service."

Engh appeared in Thurston County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing Thursday.

The investigation into the crime is continuing and Kimball said the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney might add other charges this week.

Investigating officers suspect Engh had gone to the Yelm residence to sign papers relinquishing his parental rights.

"We believe the papers were signed by him before the crime," Kimball said. "But he wasn't there at 5:30 p.m. when the grandparents brought the child back."

Swat team members included officers from Bonney Lake, Buckley, Sumner, Puyallup, Fife, Milton, Lakewood and Steilacoom police departments.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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