A domestic violence incident off Priest Road led to an officer-involved shooting that left an unidentified, 49-year-old man dead early Thursday morning, Sept. 22, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement personnel from the sheriff’s office and Sequim Police Department responded to a domestic violence call in the 300 block of Priest Lane early on Sept. 22 that led to an unnamed victim to be transported to Olympic Medical Center.
The victim reported her boyfriend hit her over the head with an axe and threatened suicide, according to law enforcement with the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT). She was treated and later released with non-life-threatening wounds.
During the investigation, deputies attempted to contact the male inside the shop building on the property. They heard a single gunshot coming from inside the shop, which also served as a residence, according to the sheriff’s office.
While law enforcement officers maintained a perimeter on the shop building, additional resources were summoned to the scene, the sheriff’s office said, including detectives with the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team (OPNET) and crisis negotiators with Sequim Police Department; detectives and negotiators attempted to establish communication with the individual.
Law officers then heard more gunshots coming from inside the shop, according to the sheriff’s department, and a Washington State Patrol Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team was requested and responded to the scene.
Law enforcement officers attempted to negotiate with the subject inside the shop over the course of several hours, the sheriff’s office said, and multiple gunshots continued to be fired from inside the building and rounds were fired in the direction of law enforcement on scene.
According to Lt. Aaron Elton with Bremerton Police Department, law enforcement used crisis negotiators, verbal communications, a drone, a robot, and other less lethal tactics and tools to deescalate the situation.
The suspect ultimately came out of the shop and fired a weapon at state patrol SWAT officers, the sheriff’s office said, and the SWAT team returned fire.
The man was wounded by gunfire around 8:09 a.m., Elton said.
Medics from Clallam County Fire District 3 provide aid to the subject, but he died from his wounds, according to the sheriff’s office.
Due to state law during an officer involved shooting, an out of area team — KCIRT, a multi-agency task force of 10 law enforcement agencies in Kitsap, Mason and Clallam counties — will lead the investigation.
Chief criminal deputy Brian King said Sequim Police Department, Port Angeles Police Department, Washington State Patrol and sheriff’s office deputies were involved in the incident response.
The Olympic Discovery Trail between Priest Road and the Dungeness River Nature Center, and Priest Lane were closed until about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
At about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sequim Schools superintendent Regan Nickels sent out an email to families they were notified of the active shooter event.
She said families were notified via the district’s Skyward message system and Facebook communication alert.
In a followup email to the Sequim Gazette, Nickels said that, upon notification of the area lockdown, district staff held up buses and reviewed and readjusted routes.
“The school district has been unable to pick up students in the area this morning due to the lockdown status of the immediate area,” Nickels said. “Less than a dozen stops were impacted on three bus routes.”