BUCKLEY, Wash. – A 21-year-old Pierce County man is now behind bars accused of shooting and killing his parents before a having a violent confrontation with police.
Sheriff’s deputies in neighboring Thurston County say they were forced to open fire on the suspect after he allegedly tried ramming a cop with his car.
It’s a wild story with a tragic ending that spans two counties and three police agencies.
The Pierce County medical examiner’s office confirms the victims in this case were married: 55-year-old Steven and 56-year-old Theresa Standley.
These latest murders have reached a sad milestone in the area; Sheriff’s deputies say there have been more homicides in unincorporated Pierce County so far this year than all of 2017 combined.
“No matter what your parents were, you have to make your own decision in life,” said Linda Youmans from nearby Burnett. “When you come of age, it’s not your parents anymore -- it’s your fault.”
The murder of the married couple rocked the small communities surrounding Buckley.
Youmans says she doesn’t know the family but she’s shocked to hear a 21-year-old man is accused of killing his parents.
“It’s heartbreaking, sad,” she said, “I’m going to go home and just going to have to think for a while and ponder another why and right now, why here? What was wrong with this kid? What went through his mind when he did this to his parents?”
Investigators spent Thursday searching through several buildings and areas on the Standleys' property outside of Buckley.
The case began on Wednesday evening when police say the suspect’s older brother told investigators his father became concerned that their 21-year-old son had obtained a firearm.
Then overnight a Tumwater police officer made contact with the 21-year-old suspect sitting in his car at this Comfort Inn hotel parking lot.
Police say the suspect ignored commands to exit his car and then allegedly hit the gas, driving toward the officer.
Thurston County sheriff’s deputies say they were forced to open fire. A bullet struck the suspect once but he didn’t stop until another deputy rammed his patrol unit into the suspect’s car.
The suspect’s wounds were not life-threatening and none of the Thurston County sheriff’s deputies were injured during the altercation.
“It’s unfortunate we’re seeing horrific events like this that affect our entire communities about these types of crimes and what our men and women of law enforcement go through every day,” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told Q13 News.
Now neighbors in rural Pierce County are forced to come to grips with the tragic loss and recognize it’s merely one incident in nearly a dozen homicides happening in their own communities.
“This is just, it does, it just tears my heart out to think this,” said Youmans. “I have a 21-year-old grandson and it’s beyond my imagination.”
The suspect in the double murder case has not yet been officially charged with a crime, that’s why Q13 News has not revealed his identity.
The suspect has been booked into the Pierce County Jail and could face a judge Friday.