PUYALLUP, Wash. - Faafili Latu said it was her son, 22-year-old James Salanoa, who was shot and killed by Pierce County deputies Tuesday night.
Salanoa was a suspected felon and wanted by Tacoma Police.
"I told him to turn himself in," said Latu via a video conference call Wednesday. "He said, ‘I will, because I want to prove to the police that I didn’t rape that lady. You know your son is not like that.’"
But Salanoa never turned himself in.
(File / FOX 13)
As FOX 13 reported, Salanoa was wanted by law enforcement for kidnapping and rape. On Nov. 18, Tacoma Police were called to a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on Tacoma Mall Blvd, advising that a woman was kidnapped at gunpoint, driven to another location, raped and returned to the restaurant.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tacoma PD seeks man accused of kidnapping, raping woman at gunpoint
Solanoa was identified as the prime suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to the sheriff's department, deputies were investigating the suspect when they found him in an SUV on Tuesday. When they went to approach him, he sped off. Reports indicate there were other people in the car.
Deputies pursued, and eventually stopped the car with spike sticks near the 512 on-ramp by the South Hill Mall in Puyallup.
"That subject exited his vehicle. He was armed with a weapon. Several shots were fired, and he was struck and is deceased," Sgt. Charles Porche with Lakewood Police said during a press briefing Tuesday.
Following the shooting, Faafili Latu said investigators called her and told her what happened.
"When they called, I was shocked," she said. "I never knew something like this would happen to my son."
She said the man who investigators were looking for after the accused rape was not the man she raised him to be.
"I never knew he had guns," she told FOX 13. "He always told me he was fine."
In light of losing her son and finding out what he was accused of, she’s concerned about other people picking up guns, turning to crime and doing the unimaginable.
"I just want kids to know that their parents love them," she said. "Their parents need them. Their families love them no matter what."
Tuesday’s shooting near the 512 on-ramp by the South Hill Mall remains under investigation.
It’s unclear if the suspect fired any shots, but no deputies were injured in the incident.
The two other people in the suspect’s vehicle were detained and taken in for questioning. It’s unclear their connection to Salanoa at this time.