TACOMA, WA – Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, and Pierce County Sheriff’s Department regarding the shooting death of Michael Lee Bourquin, 21, have been completed. Bourquin died from gunshot wounds inflicted by Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Helligso.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide under state law. “This defendant, who was on drugs and assaulted the officers with mace, posed a serious danger,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The deputy protected himself and his fellow officer.”
On Feb. 2, 2014, Deputies Chris Olson and Chad Helligso pulled over a pickup truck in Spanaway. Bourquin, a passenger in the pickup, had several felony warrants for his arrest and was a person of interest in an unsolved homicide. When deputies asked Bourquin to step out of the truck, he refused and reached from something at his side. Deputy Helligso pulled him from the truck, but Bourquin resisted and reached for something in his waist area. During the struggle, Bourquin dropped a fixed-blade knife on the ground. Deputy Olson tried to help Deputy Helligso detain him, but Bourquin sprayed them in the face with bear mace. Both deputies were quickly losing their vision. Fearing for their lives, Deputy Helligso drew his service handgun and fired seven shots at Bourquin, striking him in the chest. The deputies retreated to the back of their patrol car and radioed for help. Bourquin was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Bourquin died from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso area. Toxicology reports showed that he had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system at the time of his death.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office