EATONVILLE, Wash. – Two sheriff's officers responding to a dispute between two brothers were ambushed by one of the brothers lying in wait with a gun after being welcomed into the home by the other, authorities said. The gunman was killed and the officers were seriously wounded.
The shooting is the third in three months in which authorities say a gunman has taken aim at law enforcement officials in Washington state.
Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said a sergeant and a deputy were shot at around 8:45 p.m. Monday while responding to a dispute between David E. Crable and his brother near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills.
Crable, 35, shot the two officers before he was killed when they returned fire, Troyer said. The names of the officers were not immediately released.
The officers were greeted at the door by Crable's brother, while Crable was in the house arming himself, Troyer said. When the deputies entered the house, Crable opened fire from upstairs, hitting one of the officers multiple times.
"This is somebody that was laying in wait for our guys, armed themselves, with the intent on shooting them," Troyer told reporters near the shooting scene. "There's not much we're going to be able to do when somebody is hiding and arming themselves and we have somebody else inviting us into the residence and the second person opens fire on us."
Crable's family tried to help the wounded officers by providing first aid and barricading themselves in a room away from the shooter, Troyer said.
"It looks like people that were in this residence went out of their way to help our people," he said.
The sergeant was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center and was listed in serious condition, Troyer said. The deputy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit, he said.
"Most people of the community as we have seen in the last few weeks have a tremendous regard for (law enforcement)," Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said at the scene late Monday night. "But there are people in the community that don't come from there, and that's the people we deal with day after day."
Pierce County sheriff's records show Crable was convicted earlier this year of exhibiting or displaying a weapon with intent to intimidate.
He also has been arrested for malicious mischief and assault and had a no-contact order by his 16-year-old daughter who lived with Crable's brother. Troyer said Crable had a history of "terrorizing" his family.
The Monday night shooting comes three weeks after four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed at a coffee shop before their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer.
A month before, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car Halloween night. Christopher Monfort, 41, has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder in Brenton's death.