Thursday, June 12, 2008

Suspected auto thief aims rifle at trooper


A state trooper took evasive action when a man in an SUV he was attempting to stop pointed a rifle at him at a Federal Way parking lot early Thursday.

The trooper was not hurt and no shots were fired, but the patrol car was briefly disabled by a flat tire, and the SUV sped off, Washington State Patrol Trooper Curt Boyle said.

State troopers, King County sheriff's deputies and Federal Way police later found the vehicle at an apartment complex, along with the rifle and some clothing. The two men who had been in the SUV got away.

The exchange happened at 12:30 a.m. in a shopping complex parking lot at South 312th Street and state Route 99.

The trooper was attempting to stop a red Ford Explorer, which was slowly driving through the lot, and could see the driver and passenger exchanging seats, Boyle said.

As the trooper pulled alongside the Explorer, the man now in the passenger seat pointed a rifle at the trooper. The trooper swerved out of the way, and that's when he hit a curb, flattening a tire.

The SUV sped off.

Officers found the vehicle, which turned out to be stolen, at the Tree Point Apartments near 18th Avenue South and South 308th Court. A K9 unit tracked down the rifle, hidden in some bushes, and two caps.

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