FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Seven Federal Way police officers are on administrative leave following a deadly shooting that sent two officers to a hospital.
The violent encounter unfolded around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Southridge House, a subsidized housing building for senior citizens.
Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang said two officers were called to the parking lot because a 23-year-old man and a woman were arguing. He said police arrived and called for backup after the man and woman didn’t listen to commands while sitting in their car. Chief said the situation escalated and several rounds were fired
“There was a gunfight between the suspect and the officers at the scene,” said Hwang.
The chief said the woman ran from the scene. He explained detectives are actively looking for details to find her. The suspect died at the scene.
Hwang said detectives are investigating who shot first. Because the shooting is an ongoing investigation, Hwang said he wasn’t able to explain how many officers fired their weapon, but seven officers have been placed on administrative leave.
He explained the department has rearranged schedules and some officers will work overtime to fill the empty spots.
“We’re a 24/7 operation regardless of what occurs or what our members endure. Our people put on the uniform and go out and protect our community every day,” said Hwang.
Hwang said one officer, who is 38 years old, was shot in the leg. Hwang mentioned the officer has been with the department for four years.
Another officer, who is 30 years old, was shot in the arm and chest. Hwang said the officer has been with the department for seven years.
The chief said the officer’s bullet-proof vest saved his life.
“In terms of life and death, we’re talking about inches here. And we’re just grateful that they’re with us. We know the dangers of this job. Officers who sign up for this take the oath and recognize the danger associated. But when it still happens it’s a tremendous impact,” said Hwang.
People who live and work near the crime scene said they never expected a shooting on their street.
“I couldn’t help but notice all the little yellow markers out in the middle of the road. It was kind of scary to come to work for that, I’ll be honest,” said John Estigoy, who works near the scene.
Hwang said the suspect was a Federal Way resident. Some people who lived in the area said they don’t believe he lived in the neighborhood. Estigoy said he’s going to keep his eyes open to help keep crime out.
“The best communities are the ones that get involved. So, the more we stay together and band tight as a community the less I think things like this will happen,” said Estigoy.
The Valley Investigative Team is leading this case.