Man dead after trading gunfire with Pierce County deputies

SPANAWAY — A man who exchanged gunshots with Pierce County sheriff’s deputies at a storage facility in Spanaway was found dead Tuesday evening, a sheriff’s spokesman said. One deputy was shot in the arm.

Officers responded Tuesday afternoon to reports that a young man at the facility was threatening to kill people, spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Troyer said the man made some statements about being a prophet and a messenger from God “and that the rapture is going to start today,” KOMO-TV reported.

The unidentified deputy was hit when the armed man fired on officers from inside a storage unit, The News Tribune reported. They shot back.

When officers entered the storage unit more than an hour later after the man stopped communicating, they found him dead. It was not clear Tuesday night how he died but Troyer said he appeared to have a gunshot wound.

The man had body armor and multiple guns and had apparently been staying in the storage unit, Troyer said. Investigators think they know the identity of the man, believed to be 27, but the medical examiner did not immediately identify him pending family notification.

Investigators believe drugs were involved, Troyer said, and were looking into reports that people close to the man had left recently.

The injured deputy was treated at a hospital and released, KING-TV reported.

The officer was hit in the arm when his body armor deflected a bullet aimed at his chest, Troyer said.

Spanaway is south of Tacoma.

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