Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Tacoma Police Department regarding the shooting death of 35-year-old Michael David Crawford have been completed. Crawford died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by Lakewood Police Officers Ryan Moody and Jon Waller.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide. “Mr. Crawford was in a stolen car, wearing body armor, and was packing a loaded handgun. Judging from these circumstances, the officers interrupted a crime about to happen,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Mr. Crawford fled from police and fired at them, leaving officers no choice but to return fire. The officers’ actions saved their lives and their intervention likely prevented another violent crime from happening.”
On Dec. 9, 2012, at approximately 9:35 p.m., officers Moody and Waller were in their patrol car northbound on Interstate 5 near Tillicum. The officers conducted a routine records check on a vehicle also traveling northbound. The car was reported stolen. When the officers attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, Crawford accelerated away and a high speed pursuit ensued.
Crawford took the Portland Avenue exit, lost control of the car and skidded to a stop in the center of the road. The passenger side of the patrol car collided with the driver’s side of Crawford’s vehicle, pinning both Officer Waller and Crawford inside their cars. The officers heard a gunshot and realized that Crawford had fired at them. Officer Moody exited the driver’s side of the patrol car and returned fire using his duty handgun. Officer Waller also returned fire from the passenger seat of the patrol vehicle. The officers continued to fire until Crawford was no longer a threat. Crawford was transported from the scene to the hospital and later pronounced dead.
The investigation revealed Crawford was wearing a ballistic type vest and homemade body armor including a helmet duct taped with metal plating. He fired a fully loaded 9 mm semi-auto handgun and had additional ammunition. According to Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Crawford died from injuries resulting from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso.