Hoquiam standoff ends in gunfire, flames; suspect dies

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 12:30 PM

HOQUIAM, Wash.  -- A 20-hour standoff came to a fiery and violent end Thursday when the suspect allegedly opened fire on SWAT officers and the home he was holed up in caught fire. The man was suspected of shooting a police officer Wednesday.

A police spokesman said the armed man came out at about 6:30 a.m. Shots were exchanged and the suspect died.

At about the same time, the house caught fire. It was not immediately clear if the suspect had set the fire or if something else was the cause.

The standoff began about 11 a.m. Wednesday when officers attempted to arrest the 49-year-old on an outstanding warrant. The day before they had arrested a 53-year-old woman at the home. When officers arrived, the man opened fire, hitting one officer.

After the officer was wounded, other officers returned fire and the man retreated into the second floor of the house. Police were outside the home all night and fired several cans of tear gas inside. Eventually the suspect used a mattress to block the upstairs windows of the home.

Officers say the man disabled two police robots that were sent into the house. They believed he had a gas mask that enabled him to withstand tear gas.

Then, early Thursday, police saw him walk downstairs with a gun. Moments later, he came outside and he wouldn't put his gun down.

"They shot some smoke-bomb things to flush him out," said a neighbor. "Then he opened fire on the SWAT truck."

Officers say they were forced to shoot. The suspect died at the scene.

Police say the man and his wife were wanted on fraud warrants out of Sacramento, California. Officers say they were stilling trying to confirm the deceased man's identity.

"We need to confirm his identity," said Steve Shumate, Grays Harbor Sheriff's Department. "He had a valid Washington state driver's license with a different name. At this point, we do not believe it to be him, other than the picture. So yes there was a warrant for an individual, we have a name of that individual, but until we can confirm exactly who that person is, we're not sure."

The wounded officer was treated for a minor wound.




 

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