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The original item was published from 8/6/2014 4:30:32 PM to 8/7/2016 12:00:07 AM.

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Prosecuting Attorney

Posted on: August 6, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Prosecutor finds officer’s use of deadly force lawful

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 Chase Houston, 28, have been completed. Houston died from a gunshot wound inflicted by a member of the Pierce County Metro SWAT team.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide under state law. “The officers did everything they could to avoid a gun battle, but the defendant’s violent response necessitated deadly force.”

On Dec. 3, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to perform a welfare check on Houston at a garage-style storage unit near 216th Street and State Route 7 in Spanaway. Houston’s family told the deputies that Houston was living in the storage unit, was making irrational comments over the phone and on social networks, and was high on methamphetamine and armed. Deputies called Houston, and Houston said he would kill them and anyone else who tried to contact him.

The SWAT team was called in and a negotiator was able to talk Houston into coming out of the unit. Houston partially opened the garage door, but refused to cooperate with the SWAT team’s commands to put his hands on his head and turn around. SWAT members fired non-lethal projectiles at Houston in an attempt to subdue him, but the projectiles had no effect on Houston. He went back inside the unit and closed the door.

To prevent Houston from using his car that was parked in front of the door, SWAT members attempted to tow it away. As the team was hooking a cable to the vehicle, Houston began firing a gun through the garage door. One SWAT member was struck in the arm. Two other team members returned gunfire through the door with their rifles. The gunfire inside the storage unit stopped.

Team members attempted to contact Houston, but were unsuccessful. They entered the storage unit and found Houston deceased on the floor with a handgun and expended casings next to him.

According to Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Houston died from a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Dr. Clark also determined Houston had methamphetamines, marijuana and oxycodone in his system at the time of his death.

Heather Songer
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
[email protected]

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