A law enforcement source said officers recovered two firearms from two suspects wounded in a sting operation conducted by federal agents and Kent police.
The sting took place during the Friday rush-hour at Lowe’s hardware parking lot on Pacific Highway South.
“I’m just glad I didn’t get caught in the crossfire,” said Jasmine Schenewerk, a clerk at Midway Tropical Fish and Pets, which is across the street from the hardware store.
Midway’s security cameras recorded one of two suspects fleeing from officers on foot and heading out into the traffic on Pacific Highway.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, he got hit by a car,’” said Schenewerk as she watched the footage.
On Friday, Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said his officers were working with two undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents as they carried out a sting in the parking lot.
Thomas said a 19-year-old man and his partner met the agents to sell them illegal guns. Thomas could provide no other specifics about the criminal case against the men.
“As part of that operation, the suspects attempted to rob our officers. A shoot-out ensued,” Chief Thomas said Friday.
Thomas said officers opened fire and hit one of the suspects causing “life-threatening injuries.” Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said it could not release information on this condition on Monday.
The second suspect ran off on foot, police said with a gun in his hand and was struck by a car on Pacific Highway.
Schenewerk and her co-workers at Midway Tropical Fish wondered why police allowed such a risky operation to take place in a crowded parking lot.
“Anyone could have got hit,” she said.
Chief Thomas said Friday that officers took all possible precautions. He says they did not open fire on the second armed suspect as he ran off because citizens would have been in the line of fire.
One law enforcement source said the suspects are expected to face federal criminal charges, but could not say when those charges would be filed.