Aspiring Pierce County official who shot at suspected thief faces no charges

Jul 11, 2022, 1:49 PM


Josh Harris (Courtesy of Pierce County Council)

(Courtesy of Pierce County Council)

Josh Harris, a candidate for Pierce County Council, will not face criminal charges for shooting at a man suspected of theft at a homeless encampment in May over a stolen property dispute, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney (PCPA) Mary Robnett.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office carried out the investigation after reports surfaced of Harris’ close relationship with elements of Tacoma Police (TPD), the responding department to the shooting. The union, which represents TPD, has endorsed Harris’ run for office, and the council candidate has purchased suite tickets to the Tacoma Rainiers minor league baseball games for the department in the past.

The incident stems from Harris’ attempt to recover stolen property from a homeless encampment in Pierce County. Upon reporting the stolen property to TPD and the arrival of responding officers, Scott Stacey sped towards Harris in the stolen vehicle.

Harris then fired “multiple rounds at the driver’s windshield,” according to the PCPA. The council candidate told investigators that he was positioned in front of concrete blocks that obstructed his potential escape, and the speed of the approaching vehicle was such that he feared for his life.

Stacey will be charged with second-degree assault with a motor vehicle.

Pierce County Council candidate defends decision to fire gun at suspected car thief

“Using deadly force is justified and lawful if it is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. By all accounts from Harris, from all the eyewitnesses, and corroborated by police officers and their body-worn cameras, Joshua Harris was about to be hit by a stolen vehicle driving at high speed directly at him while he was positioned between a concrete eco-block and his own parked truck,” a memo from Robnett to the Kitsap Sheriff’s office reads.

“If the vehicle had changed direction at all, it would have hit one of the other people standing in the parking lot. The witnesses who saw and heard these events reported that if Harris had not fired his gun, someone would have been hit and/or killed by the vehicle.”

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Aspiring Pierce County official who shot at suspected thief faces no charges