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Driver shot, killed by Tacoma officer during ‘routine’ traffic stop

(KIRO7)

A driver is dead after what police are calling a routine traffic stop ended in gunfire in the South Sound.

The shooting happened on South 40th Street near South Park Avenue in Tacoma on Sunday morning.

The driver was taken from the scene with life-threatening injuries. He died of his injuries just before 5 p.m. Sunday.

The man’s sister said the family was not up to talking about what happened. They asked that he not be identified.

The sound of gunfire pierced the air at about 10:45 Sunday morning in this quiet South Tacoma neighborhood.

“I was in the bathroom,” said Cheryl Stewart, “I heard about four or five what I call pops.”

Cheryl Stewart stood on the porch of her home a block away. She says she wasn’t sure she had heard gunshots until she got a call from a neighbor and looked out to see this.

“I think it’s sad,” Stewart said. “I think it’s tragic. I mean for all concerned. For the person whatever happened got shot and for the police officer to have to be in that position.”

Tacoma police say an officer pulled the man over on South 40th Street. Officer Loretta Cool describes what happened next.

“When the vehicle stopped, the driver got out,” said Cool. “He was pointing a gun at the officer. The officer gave several commands. The suspect did not comply with them. The officer fired his weapon and struck the driver who was transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries.”

A rifle lay in the street, a few feet from the car police say he was driving. A neighbor who asked not to be identified shared a video taken moments after he was shot.

Police say he is a man in his mid-20s. His vehicle is registered to someone with a Sammamish address.

“The stretcher came out they loaded him up,” said neighbor Donna Green. “I mean all of that was where everybody could see it.”

Neighbors say a couple of decades ago, this was a neighborhood that suffered from the crack epidemic sweeping the nation. But they banded together and helped turn it around.

“There’s no winners,” said Cheryl Stewart. “It’s a tragic day for sure.”

By Deborah Horne, KIRO 7

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