Police shot one man during a botched robbery attempt in Kent Friday night. Then another suspect fled into traffic.
A police operation turned into a shootout between two suspects and officers Friday evening in Kent, said that city’s Chief Ken Thomas.
Two suspects were wounded in the shooting, which took place in a Lowe’s hardware-store parking lot near the 24000 block of Pacific Highway South. The operation was part of a joint investigation involving Kent police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. No officers were injured.
“We had undercover officers who met up with suspects selling illegal guns,” Thomas said in an interview with television reporters. “As part of that operation, the suspects attempted to rob our undercover officers. A shootout ensued … (One) suspect was hit and is on his way to Harborview (Medical Center, a Seattle hospital) with life-threatening injuries.”
After that man was hit by gunfire in the parking lot, a second man got out of the vehicle the two had arrived in. He was carrying a gun, Thomas said, and tried to run across Pacific Highway South.
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The shooting occurred next to a highway lined with storefronts and near a bus stop.
Jasmine Schenewerk, who works at Midway Tropical Fish and Pets, said she was cleaning the bird area of the pet store about 5 p.m. when a co-worker came by and told her he heard gunshots.
She looked out of the storefront window and saw a man in a green sweater run across Pacific Highway.
As he crossed the highway, Thomas said a motorist hit the suspect. Once in custody, he was taken to the hospital, Thomas said.
Thomas commended “backup officers” for showing restraint as the second suspect fled through traffic.
“Those officers did not fire their guns because their backdrop was a Metro bus and other citizens,” he said.
When asked by reporters why a joint police operation took place so near a bus stop and storefronts, Thomas said police cannot always plan where suspects will choose to break the law.
He described the weapons involved in the bust as “illegal street weapons.”