Law enforcement officers swarmed to an east Pierce County neighborhood the morning of Dec. 15, frantically searching for a suspect who earlier had been involved in a confrontation with police.
The effort, which involved personnel from multiple agencies, came up empty. With patrol vehicles aplenty, a K-9 unit on the ground and a helicopter in the air, the suspect apparently slipped through their fingers.
The incident began at 10:14 that Tuesday morning when a Bonney Lake police officer spotted a vehicle – which had been stolen the previous evening in Tacoma – in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store. The officer approached the 1997 Honda Civic and that’s when the real drama began to unfold.
As the driver began to flee the silver Civic struck the officer, prompting shots from a police weapon in return. Sgt. Darren Moss, public information officer for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, reported the Bonney Lake officer suffered “minor injuries” that did not require a hospital visit.
A manhunt quickly involved units from Bonney Lake, Pierce County, Puyallup, Sumner and Fife.
Part 2 of the saga came to light 18 minutes later when a citizen called 911, reporting a man had abandoned a vehicle in her driveway and left the scene on foot. Officers responded to her home – south of state Route 410 and just east of 234th Avenue East – and confirmed it was the vehicle involved in the Bonney Lake incident.
The area was soon swarming with police. Law enforcement vehicles were stationed where the suspect Civic had been abandoned; other police cars were positioned at nearby Finn Hall, at the even-closer Foothills Elementary School, on Entwhistle Road and in the Eaglecrest neighborhood.
That stretch of 234th, just a couple of blocks south of busy SR 410, is no stranger to traffic. Aside from Finn Hall and the school, the area is home to an East Pierce Fire and Rescue station and housing on both sides of the road. But the sudden swarm of law enforcement was certainly out of the ordinary.
Students at Foothills Elementary experienced a “modified lockdown,” where classes went according to schedule but no one was allowed outside. With the current hybrid education model, a limited number of youngsters were in the building, according to Scott Harrison, deputy superintendent for the White River School District.