Alleged gunman in custody after Tacoma standoff

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 6:20 AM

A man suspected of walking through a Tacoma neighborhood and firing shots at homes was taken into custody just before 9 p.m. Tuesday after a standoff with police at his residence.

No one was hurt.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department identified the suspect as 67-year-old Mike McBee, a Vietnam veteran and longtime resident of the neighborhood off 58th Avenue Northeast.

Officers responded to a dozen 911 calls about a man walking in the 5800 block of 13th St. Ct. NE in the Browns Point area firing shots at residences.

"When our officers arrived, he retreated back to his house," said Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.  "We know he's contained to that house and don't expect him to be going anywhere."

That marked the beginning of a standoff that lasted for hours.

Troyer said the suspect, who is known to have substance abuse issues, was believed to be armed with several high-powered assault weapons.

Neighbors who were evacuated from their homes know the man well.  They say he'd been fighting with one of his neighbors over the past week, and on Tuesday, it seems he snapped.

"You know, you don't want your neighbors doing this," said Anita Strom. "You don't want somebody hurt just because you don't get along or have a bad day.  It's a tight knit community, that's what makes it so hard.  It's like family hurting family."

Troyer said they were in constant communication with McBee, but he was not cooperating. 

"He's in the window, he's not being cooperative, he's starting to become unstable," Troyer said.

That's when SWAT began to fire several rounds of tear gas into McBee's home, hoping to force him out. 

"I was praying to God it wasn't gunshots," said neighbor Morgan Stephenson when he heard the tear gas explosions.

At about that same time, Troyer say three neighbors, who McBee allegedly fired at, were found hiding in a garage hours after the standoff began.  They were shaken up, but not injured.

Finally, at about 9 p.m., and with the help of several of McBee's close friends who spoke to him on the phone, Troyer says the suspect surrendered voluntarily.

He had three dogs inside the home with him that were not hurt.

Troyer said McBee complained of a sore arm, but other than that, was physically okay.  Troyer says it was obvious he was in mental and emotional distress, and said the sheriff's department will make sure McBee gets the help he needs.

Relieved neighbors were allowed back inside their homes just a short time later.

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