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Suspect that shot two Pierce County deputies had extensive criminal history

The deputies were shot in the area of the 19000 block of Pacific Avenue South on Tuesday. The suspect, Jeremy Dayton, was killed.

SPANAWAY, Wash. — Two Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) deputies were shot south of Spanaway Tuesday during a SWAT operation.

The 40-year-old suspect, identified as Jeremy Dayton, was shot and killed, according to a spokesperson for the Pierce County Force Investigation Team.

Deputy Dominique Calata was in critical condition Tuesday night and died Wednesday, according to the PCSD. Calata, 35, has a wife and 4-year-old child at home and has been with the department for the past seven years. Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer previously said the community would "need to prepare for the worst," when it comes to Calata's condition.

The other deputy, Sergeant Rich Scaniffe, was out of surgery Tuesday evening and in stable condition. Scaniffe is 45 and has been with the department for 21 years.

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Pierce County Sheriff Sergeant Darren Moss said they are "asking for everybody's prayers at this time."

Troyer called Dayton a "third-strike candidate," meaning he was potentially facing life in prison. Law enforcement was serving a warrant for an alleged assault with a firearm at the time of the shooting, according to Troyer.

According to documents obtained by KING 5, Dayton had nine felonies, including multiple counts of second-degree assault. He was arrested eight times and was imprisoned three times.

Credit: Contributed
Jeremy Dayton

Dayton's wife, Stacy, said she is heartbroken for the deputies and their families.

"I warned him. I said, 'they're going to kill you,'" she said. "Please don't have weapons, please don't be high, please just turn yourself in."

Stacy said the last time she heard from Dayton was Monday night when he called her daughter and said, "I love you, I'm so sorry."

The shooting occurred near 190th Street Court South and Pacific Avenue South around noon.

The South Sound Gang Task Force was serving a warrant for second-degree assault on Dayton. The task force had asked for help from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department's SWAT team due to Dayton's prior felony convictions, according to Wendy Haddow, a spokesperson for the Tacoma Police Department, which is assisting with the investigation.

During the incident, Haddow said gunfire was exchanged.

Stan Vukshich of Parkland said he and his wife were driving off the freeway when they saw police start blocking off traffic in the area. They also saw two ambulances with escorts traveling toward the scene. 

“I was thinking, ‘Oh, crap. Something bad happened,’" said Vukshich. "And I knew it had to have something happen with the law enforcement because you don’t really see an escort like that ever for anything else.”

The Pierce County Force Investigation Team will be investigating the incident.

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