This tale was manufactured in partnership with KNKX Public Radio.
A Pierce County Council candidate who is managing on a pro-legislation enforcement platform fired various rounds from a handgun at an vehicle-theft suspect Monday in close proximity to a homeless encampment with law enforcement within just earshot, in accordance to Tacoma police and the Pierce County prosecutor’s workplace.
The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Place of work reported it will examine the incident to identify irrespective of whether Josh Harris will facial area felony costs, or no matter if his gunfire was justified in self-protection.
Harris was not arrested, and in spite of his private romance with the Tacoma Law enforcement Division, it stays the investigating agency. Harris very last calendar year posted a $300,000 bail bond for 3 Tacoma officers billed with killing Manny Ellis, whose suffocation demise sparked prevalent protests in 2020. Harris’ brother also served as the department’s chaplain.
On Monday, Harris established out in lookup of what he explained as a stolen automobile at a homeless encampment, the place he soon summoned law enforcement. The incident ended drastically, with a suspected automobile thief allegedly trying to get absent by driving toward Harris, and Harris firing a handgun at the motor vehicle and its fleeing driver.
A Tacoma Law enforcement Section information release about the incident explained Harris only as “an armed citizen,” because office policy prohibits naming victims, in accordance to spokesperson Wendy Haddow. The Pierce County prosecutor’s office, even so, named Harris as the armed citizen.
Neither law enforcement nor prosecutors named the 40-yr-previous person suspected of auto theft who was wounded in the incident. It’s not distinct from police accounts no matter whether the suspect was wounded by Harris’ gunfire or in the course of fleeing. He was detained and hospitalized, and is predicted to be booked in jail in Pierce County upon his release.
Harris’ record of professional-legislation enforcement actions consists of intervening in a Pierce County investigation into allegations that Sheriff Ed Troyer falsely documented that a Black newspaper provider had threatened him in January 2021.
Harris arrived forward to report that he, much too, had confronted the newspaper carrier and drew his concealed handgun during a tense dialogue. Troyer faces demo in July on a misdemeanor charge of false reporting he has pleaded not guilty.
Previous week, The Seattle Moments noted that Harris, the 47-year-outdated operator of Tacoma-based Integrity Development, experienced several theft convictions, together with one felony depend for altering checks from a shopper in the volume of $24,000, which he explained he was owed due to the fact he felt underpaid. “I’m not humiliated of it,” he claimed in an job interview past week.
Following both of those convictions, Harris was authorized to serve his sentences as in-home detention in lieu of incarceration.
Harris, who filed as a Republican to run for the open up Pierce County Council seat representing Gig Harbor and components of Tacoma, explained to The Periods in a latest job interview that he has spent a terrific deal of time conversing with people of homeless encampments in Pierce County to much better recognize the crisis, and invited a reporter to accompany him.
He did not respond to messages Wednesday looking for comment.
A flurry of gunshots
Harris frequented a homeless encampment near Cheney Stadium Monday afternoon looking for to recover stolen property, according to Tacoma law enforcement and the prosecutor’s place of work. He uncovered the stolen auto at the encampment, where by a gentleman allegedly confronted Harris and threatened to kill him. Harris known as police just before 4:50 p.m.
Officers instructed Harris to hold out at a distance even though they contacted individuals in the camp to examine. The suspected thief sped in a car or truck past the officers towards where Harris was waiting around.
Harris explained to police the suspect was barreling toward him, so he drew his hid handgun and started taking pictures at the suspect. At least two rounds hit the auto as it drove absent.
A girl who lives in the wooded camp claimed she realized Harris due to the fact he experienced driven there ahead of, and spoke to him minutes ahead of the taking pictures.
The female, who spoke on the ailment she keep on being anonymous out of fear of retaliation from police, explained Harris and another male pulled up in a truck and took a car dolly, beer kegs, and a toolbox they believed had been stolen, then drove deeper into the woods to research for the cover of a truck they thought experienced been stolen.
She stated the shooting victim came by a couple of minutes later on looking for the dolly, then headed into the woods the way Harris experienced absent. A shorter time later, she reported, she read a flurry of gunshots and screaming.
She reported she saw the taking pictures victim tearing again by way of the woods in his car, with the windshield riddled with bullet holes and blood coming from his hand, eyebrow, and head. He begged her for assist, she claimed, and then drove off.
Law enforcement afterwards recovered the bullet-riddled auto. Police also situated the suspected thief and detained him on suspicion of possession of stolen property and aggravated assault for allegedly driving toward Harris.
Harris delivered officers with proof of his concealed-carry allow. Whilst Harris has been convicted of a felony, he experienced his appropriate to possess firearms reinstated by a Pierce County court docket and lawfully received his permit, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Business. Law enforcement seized Harris’ gun.
Adam Faber, spokesman for the prosecuting attorney’s business, reported it is as well soon to convey to no matter if the Tacoma Police Section has a conflict of curiosity that would disqualify it from the investigation. “We just can’t prejudge that before looking at the investigation,” Faber said.
Haddow, spokesperson for the Tacoma Law enforcement Department, declined to reply whether Harris’ personal and familial relationships with the department could represent a conflict of interest that would disqualify the office from investigating the incident.
Harris is competing with 4 other candidates for the Pierce County Council District 7 seat, which is vacant.
KNKX reporters Will James and Kari Plog contributed to this tale.