The Mason County Sheriff’s Office has released the sequence of events from Friday’s standoff/homicide/suicide in Belfair along with a reminder to be sensitive and compassionate to those directly affected by this tragedy.
The Mason County Sheriff and all law enforcement leaders always desire to be sensitive and compassionate to the needs of survivors, victims, and our community. This and all future press releases about this event should be viewed through that lens. The human tragedy recently faced by communities and law enforcement across the country was experienced in our community on Friday. Sheriff Casey Salisbury would encourage everyone to particularly remember that there is a surviving 12 year old victim in this incident who we should all keep in our thoughts and prayers.
Since he took office, Sheriff Salisbury has emphasized the importance of working cooperatively with other agencies in order to provide the best possible law enforcement response to critical incidents in our region. Sheriff Salisbury’s philosophy resulted in an unparalleled multi-agency response which helped to prevent this tragic incident from getting worse. Sheriff Salisbury’s monthly law enforcement breakfast was in progress at the time the events began to unfold and the years of building partnerships resulted in an expedient response of multi-agency resources. The MCSO received direct assistance of personnel and equipment from the North Mason Regional Fire, Squaxin Island Tribal Police, Shelton Police Department, Washington State Patrol, The Department of Fish and Wildlife, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Corrections, and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The MCSO received a personal call from Mason County Commissioner Tim Sheldon, and offers of assistance from the Governor’s Office, Congressmen and Legislators, and our regional partners of Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office, Pacific County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies around the Puget Sound.
At this point, the sequence of events that are known about the incident are as follows:
- At 0826 an MCSO supervisor received a call from a subject saying that he had done something bad and that he was suicidal.
- Deputies responded to the residence and made phone contact with the suspect.
- Once deputies made contact with the suspect a 12 year old girl fled from the residence and the deputies were able to get her away from the residence.
- Deputies continued discussions with the suspect while a multi-agency response of law enforcement personnel began.
- A limited number of on-duty MCSO law enforcement personnel established a perimeter/containment around the residence until other resources could arrive. Continued efforts to get the suspect to surrender peacefully were ongoing.
- While discussions continued with the suspect, officers learned that there were deceased people in a chicken coop outside the house.
- The MCSO military surplus Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicle was used to move past the scene, pick up the 12 year old. The only way to get the 12 year to awaiting medical personnel for an evaluation was to go directly in front of the residence where the armed suspect was still barricaded. The MRAP was used to safely move the 12 year old past the danger area to awaiting medical personnel.
- Trained negotiators continued to speak with the suspect for over three and a half hours in an effort to convince him to peacefully surrender. During this time the suspect could be seen moving about the house with a firearm in his hand, often held up to his own head.
- After several hours it became evident that the suspect was not going to leave the residence voluntarily. MCSO personnel then introduced chemical agents to the residence.
- The suspect exited the residence with the gun in his hand and yelled at the officers before reentering the house.
- The suspect stepped outside his front door, placed his handgun to his temple, and shot himself in the head while in the direct view of multiple law enforcement officers.
- The SWAT officers, including a paramedic team member immediately moved up to the residence and checked on the suspect but it was determined he was beyond medical help.
- The officers then searched the main residence as well as approximately 11 other out-buildings in order to ensure the scene was safe for investigators.
- The investigators took over the scene at approximately 12:40 pm.
- A multi-agency investigative team is currently working to determine the identity and relationships of the deceased individuals.
Sheriff Salisbury again wants to express his thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families, and our community. He thanks the law enforcement men and women who during this tragic event, under the most difficult of professional and personal circumstances, performed to the highest standards of the profession and were able to rescue and protect the sole survivor of this incident. This ongoing investigation will continue to pose several challenges at the county, state, and possibly the international level. We will continue to work with our private and public partners to provide ongoing effective, efficient, and professional services for our citizens.