The suspect in the I-5 carjacking last Friday died on the scene after being shot by police for charging at officers while wielding a knife, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said.
The incident began around 1:45 p.m. on November 18, when the Washington State Patrol received reports of a man running into traffic on I-5 at Exit 109, according to new details released by the MCSO.
The suspect was causing traffic to halt because he attempted to open multiple car doors, before eventually getting into a stopped semi-truck. The suspect then drove the semi into several vehicles and rolled it in the median, prompting the closure of both lanes of I-5.
The man refused to exit the truck and was described as “extremely agitated,” the MCSO said.
State Patrol called in more law enforcement resources, including a negotiator and an armored vehicle, but the suspect still refused to cooperate.
State troopers eventually managed to remove the windshield of the semi-truck using a ram connected to a SWAT vehicle, but when they ordered the suspect out of the truck’s cab, he refused.
Authorities then used less lethal weapons, such as pepper ball rounds and flash bangs, until the suspect came out of the vehicle armed with a knife and charged at officers, the MCSO said.
Around 3:48 p.m., State Patrol advised that shots were fired and that medical aid was being rendered. The suspect was treated but died at the scene.
The man’s body has been released to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office. Authorities are still confirming his identity.
The Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation team, led by the MCSO and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, is probing the incident.
People with knowledge about the incident were asked to contact Lead Detective Tyson Brown with the Lewis County Sheriff's Office at 360-740-1326 or Tyson.Brown@lewiscountywa.gov.
Witness says suspect’s hands were empty
The JOLT earlier reported that a witness did not recall seeing any weapons on the suspect.
Alek Beers, of Lacey, said in a previous interview that he encountered someone he believes was the suspect while he was stuck in traffic on I-5.
“Out of nowhere steps [in] a guy in a red t-shirt and sweat shorts, and he puts his hands on the hood of my car,” Beers said. “Once I'd stopped, he came around and he tried to open my driver's side door, which fortunately was locked, at which point I sped away.”
Beers said authorities were already aware of the situation when he called 911.
"I recall that both of his hands were empty," Beers said. "I don't recall any weapon, at all."
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