Two people killed and two deputies wounded in shootout at Walmart in Port Orchard
Two people were killed and two sheriff's deputies were wounded in a shootout outside a Walmart in Port Orchard on Sunday afternoon, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office.
Seattle Times staff reporters
PORT ORCHARD, Kitsap County — Two women walked out of a Port Orchard Walmart on Sunday to find themselves in the middle of a shootout that left two people dead and two Kitsap County sheriff's deputies injured.
Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, and Emmili Jones, of Federal Way, 20, say they had just put Jones' 2-month-old son into his car seat when they noticed two deputies confronting a heavyset man nearby. The man, they said, took off running toward a wooded area. Then, in midsprint, they say, he pulled out a gun and fired behind his back without turning.
The women said two male deputies fell to the ground as the gunman staggered away and collapsed on the pavement. A young woman then ran into the chaotic scene toward the gunman, falling near him after being shot, Droge and Jones said.
It won't be clear who killed the young woman, who the sheriff's office says may have been in her teens, until autopsies are completed, law-enforcement officials said. However, Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Scott Wilson said a third deputy, a woman who has been on the force nearly 10 years, shot and killed the gunman. She wasn't hurt.
Neither of the deceased has been identified. Investigators have said they believe the suspect and the young woman were together, but their exact relationship was unknown.
Wilson declined to name the deputies, saying only that one has been with the agency about 10 years and the other about five years.
The sheriff's department said one deputy was shot in the torso and the other was shot in the arm. Speaking to reporters outside Tacoma General Hospital on Sunday night, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said the injured deputies were in satisfactory condition, with their families present. He said the deputies would remain at the hospital through the night.
Wilson said the female deputy is on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
Wilson said deputies went to the Walmart, at 3497 Bethel Road S.E., around 3:45 p.m. after someone inside the store dialed 911 to report seeing a suspicious man carrying a gun outside. The two male deputies found the armed man in the store's designated smoking area, authorities said.
Droge and Jones said they had just left the store, after having lunch with a friend who is a Walmart employee, when they saw two deputies — a male and a female — talking to a heavyset man dressed in a black beanie cap and a black-and-white puffy jacket. The two women said the deputies were trying to escort the man toward a blue minivan when he started running.
The women said they heard about 15 gunshots before the four people collapsed.
"It was like firecrackers going off," Droge said.
Another witness, Victor Meyers, told KOMO-TV that the first shot he heard was followed by six more in rapid succession.
"I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire," Meyers said.
Meyers said he saw a female deputy running toward someone on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.
Store employee Joseph Winney, 31, was changing oil in a car when someone ran into the auto shop and shouted "lock the doors, there's been a shooting."
"I stopped, dropped the tool I was using and locked the doors," he said.
Winney said he was locked inside the store for nearly three hours before investigators released him. "I've never been so shook up in my life," he said.
The Washington State Patrol will investigate the shooting because of the deputies' involvement, spokeswoman Krista Hedstrom said. State Patrol investigators were briefed at the store, she said.
An unidentified Walmart employee said she was instructed not to discuss the incident. The store was locked down briefly. About 100 customers were kept inside for about 20 minutes after the shooting; the customers later were allowed to leave, a Walmart employee said.
Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., said the company was cooperating with the investigation. He said the store was placed on lockdown immediately after the shooting to help retain possible witnesses for deputies.
The last major shooting of a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy was in 1978, Wilson said. Deputy Dennis R. Allred was slain in the line of duty on April 19 of that year.
Sullivan and Berens reported from Seattle; information from The Associated Press is contained in this report.
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