Man shot and killed by police outside Tacoma ICE detention facility

Nellie Chapman
July 14, 2019

Tacoma police shot and killed a man who was armed with a rifle and reportedly throwing incendiary devices at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma early Saturday morning.

The Tacoma Northwest Detention Center is a privately run jail that holds migrants as they wait for deportation proceedings. The center holds migrants waiting for hearings and deportations.

"The male attempted to ignite a large propane tank and set out buildings on fire", a statement released by the Tacoma police department said.

It is unknown how many shots were fired or if the man also shot at police. It is unclear whether the man was shot by officers or shot himself, Cool said. She said the officers weren't wearing body cameras, but the area is covered by surveillance cameras from the detention center. All four involved officers fired their weapons, she said. After medical aid arrived, officers approached the man and determined that he had been shot and killed.

Authorities say investigators are processing the scene and police are continuing to investigate. No officers were injured.

A friend of Van Spronsen said that she thinks he wanted to provoke a fatal conflict, the Seattle Times reported.

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"He was ready to end it", Bartley said.

"As a 34-year veteran of law enforcement, it is shocking, shocking to see constant attacks against those that leave the safety and security of their homes every day, put on a Kevlar vest and put a gun on their hip and risk their own safety to defend this nation", he said, at times appearing to get choked up as he defended his former colleagues.

Police later located Van Spronsen. Van Spronsen pleaded guilty to the charge of obstructing police, and was given a deferred sentence in October, the News-Tribune reported.

GEO Group, a Florida-based company that owns and operates the Northwest Detention Center for ICE, issued a statement on Saturday blaming "factually inaccurate portrayal" of their detention centers for spurring "misplaced aggression and a unsafe environment for our employees". Violence of any kind against our employees and property will not be tolerated. She referred questions to Tacoma police.

"Our facilities have never been overcrowded, nor have they ever housed unaccompanied minors", the statement said, adding that the company's facilities "offer modern amenities" such as air conditioning, recreational activities, medical care and legal services.

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