Man shot and killed in police confrontation outside Tacoma ICE detention facility

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TACOMA, Wash. -- A man police described as armed with a rifle and throwing flammable objects was shot and killed outside the Northwest Detention Center early Saturday morning.

An employee at the facility, which operates on behalf of ICE, called police shortly before 4 a.m. saying a man with a rifle was throwing "incendiary devices" at the building, setting vehicles on fire and attempting to ignite a large propane tank, according to Tacoma PD.

Shortly after arriving on scene, officers say they spotted a suspect with a gun, wearing a satchel and carrying flares.

Police fired on the man in a parking lot across from the facility, quickly taking up cover positions.

Late Saturday afternoon the Pierce County Medical Examiner's office identified the man killed as Willem Van Spronsen, 69, of Vashon Island.

The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

It is not yet known how many shots were fired or if Van Spronsen also fired at police. No officers were injured.

Detectives processed the scene throughout Saturday, with several roads in the area of East J Street blocked off.

Tacoma PD confirms four officers were involved in the shooting. All were placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy.

GEO Group, a Florida-based company that owns and operates the Northwest Detention Center for ICE, issued a statement on Saturday blaming "factually inaccurate portrayal" of their detention centers for spurring "misplaced aggression and a dangerous environment for our employees."

"Violence of any kind against our employees and property will not be tolerated," the statement continued.

A spokesperson for ICE said no employees were harmed or involved in the event.

Investigators have yet to disclose any information regarding the background or potential motives of Van Spronsen.

A rally outside the facility concluded several hours prior to the incident and police said it remained peaceful.

Another event planned at that location was postponed Saturday afternoon due to the ongoing police investigation and resulting roadblocks.

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