Man who wounded officer is killed in police shootout after his house goes up in flames following two day standoff
PUBLISHED: 13:37 EST, 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 13:48 EST, 28 March 2013
A two day police standoff with Washington state man who wounded an officer ended this morning when the man’s house burst into flames and he ran out shooting.
SWAT officers returned fire and killed the suspect in his front yard in the small city of Hoquiam in southwestern Washington.
The man had stopped communicating with police and opened fire on an armored vehicle and a $250,000 robot that officers had sent into his house for surveillance.
Officer shot several rounds of tear gas into the home, though they say the man was wearing a gas mask and was not phased by the smoke, Aberdeen Daily World reports.
Smoke grenades have been known to start fires, though police said they didn’t know what caused the blaze.
The fire broke out about 6:30 this morning after a 20-hour showdown between the 49-year-old suspect and SWAT teams from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol.
Officers say the deadly standoff began when police went to the house Wednesday morning an arrest warrant for fraud and the man inside gave them a false identity. Four Hoquiam police officers returned about 10:30am to arrest the man after they discovered his true identity.
As the officers tried to enter the house, the man resisted and barricaded himself inside.
He then opened fire and wounded Sergeant Jeff Salstrom. The officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Police from across the region soon arrived and surrounded the home in the 8,000-population city.
As the standoff progressed, the suspect fired at a state patrol SWAT vehicle. He also shot a $250,000 robot that the state police tried to steer into his home.
Communication between police and the suspect stopped about 1.30am when he put a mattress against his window – presumably to prevent officers from firing more tear gas inside, authorities said.
Then, about 6:30 am, a fire broke out and the suspect ran outside carrying a handgun. He refused orders to drop it and fired at police.
Officers returned fire, killing him.
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