Sheriff: Deputy in Tumwater shoots, kills man who punched him in face, stole patrol car

TUMWATER, Wash. -- A Thurston County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man in Tumwater who punched the deputy in the face several times and then attempted to commandeer the deputy's patrol car Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff's office said.

Sheriff's Lt. Cliff Ziesemer said the deputy, a 19-year veteran of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, was driving westbound on 93rd Avenue SE near Tilley Road in Tumwater when he saw a man walking along the side of the road who suspiciously ran off into private property when he saw the patrol car.

The deputy found the man and began questioning him, Ziesemer said, when the man suddenly punched the deputy several times in the face, then got into the deputy's SUV and attempted to drive off in reverse. The deputy was able to step up onto the running board on the driver's side, with the door open, and tried to pull him out. When that did not work, Ziesemer said, the deputy fired a Taser, but that had no effect.

"The suspect accelerated and entered the roadway, striking another vehicle that was traveling eastbound on 93rd Avenue," Ziesemer said. He added that the one person in the other car suffered only minor injuries.

The suspect continued to accelerate after hitting the other car, and the deputy, fearing for his safety and that of the public, shot the suspect, Ziesemer said. The patrol car stopped in some brush.  Medical aid failed to revive the suspect, who died at the scene.

The deputy, who was not identified, was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation into the shooting.

The suspect was not immediately identified. But a sheriff's office spokesman said earlier that the suspect appeared to be in his mid to late 20s.