TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Nathen Ryan Terault, 34, with murder for the shooting death of 71-year-old Puyallup-resident Richard Johnson. In addition to murder in the first degree, Terault was charged with robbery in the first degree, 12 counts of assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, and unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $5 million bail.
“As horrible as this was, it would have been worse if Puyallup police hadn’t arrived at the scene as quickly as they did,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We’ve charged the shooter with 17 felonies and he’ll be held fully accountable.”
On Aug. 11, 2015, Terault fled from Puyallup Police officers who were attempting to stop him for speeding. He abandoned his vehicle near Johnson’s home, where he shot Johnson twice, killing him. Terault then retrieved a bag from Johnson’s vehicle. After shooting Johnson, Terault fired several shots at a woman and her two children, who had been standing nearby.
Neighbors at another home heard gunshots and saw Terault inside their truck. They yelled at Terault from inside their home and he fired several shots at them. One of residents ran to shut the garage door, but Terault entered the garage and fired a shot. As the woman ran to her front door, she encountered Terault. He pointed the gun at her face and demanded her car keys. She threw the keys at him and ran out of the house. Terault took the keys, started the woman’s vehicle and drove it through the garage door.
While fleeing in the stolen car, Terault fired multiple shots at pursuing officers, striking their patrol cars. He also pointed his gun at a pedestrian during the pursuit.
Terault collided with another vehicle and then fired multiple shots at the occupants. After abandoning the stolen vehicle, Terault ran up to another occupied vehicle and fired multiple rounds into the driver’s side door.
In an attempt to stop Terault, pursuing police officers fired at Terault, striking him once. Terault was also hit by a patrol car and was pinned under the vehicle. Officers called for medical aid and Terault was transported to the hospital.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office