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California man subject of officer-involved shooting

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TUMWATER –– A violent man caused a disturbance in the parking lot of the Tumwater Safeway Wednesday night, resulting in a Tumwater Police officer shooting at him. 

The man was in his truck around 6 p.m. and possessed a gun and a knife while Tumwater police talked to him. Police officers told The JOLT the man was on the phone with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while Tumwater police officers tried to reason with him, officers said. 

“He was quite agitated and he began to drive around the parking lot while we were trying to evacuate Safeway in the parking lot with all the shoppers,” said Laura Wohl of the Tumwater Police Department. “We were concerned about their safety as he was driving somewhat erratically throughout the parking lot.”

Tumwater police laid down spike strips in the parking lot to stop the man in his truck, but the driver floored the gas and drove right over the spike strips towards one of the Tumwater police officers. 

“He had no choice at that point but to shoot,” said Wohl of the police officer who shot the driver. “So the individual did stop after the shots were fired.”

Wohl said the driver, who was reported to be suicidal, had a minor injury, but there was no indication of how he was injured. The officer was not injured, and police took the driver into custody. Police believe the man is from California and was not considered to be local. 

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Thurston County SWAT Team, the Lacey Police Department and Olympia Police Department all responded to the incident, as well as the Capitol Metro Independent Investigation Team, an independent team that investigates officer-involved shootings, according to Wohl. 

This story has been updated to follow best practices for reporting on and writing about potentially suicidal individuals. The JOLT strives to report accurately, fairly and compassionately on mental illness. For those struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  For more information about how The JOLT reports on these types of issues, visit https://reportingonsuicide.org/

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