TACOMA, WA – Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, regarding the shooting death of Ryan Rosa, 36, have been completed. Rosa died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Shaun Darby and Deputy Jesse Hotz. The postmortem toxicology report indicated Rosa had a potentially fatal quantity of methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the deputies acted lawfully.
“Mr. Rosa’s actions forced the deputies into a position where deadly force was justified under the law,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On March 4, 2017, Rosa was being sought by law enforcement on multiple felony charges. He was located by Darby at the Motel 6 in Fife, Washington. Darby requested assistance from Hotz and Shaffer who responded to his location. Rosa was believed to be armed, and had a history of fleeing from law enforcement. When Rosa was spotted getting into his car, deputies decided to arrest him.
Shaffer positioned his unmarked vehicle behind Rosa’s vehicle in an attempt to prevent Rosa from fleeing, while Darby and Hotz approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. All deputies were wearing vests with Sheriff’s Department markings. Darby and Hotz verbally identified themselves and gave Rosa orders to exit the vehicle. Rosa refused to do so. Instead, he put the car into reverse and backed forcefully into Shaffer’s vehicle. Rosa was given additional commands, which he refused to follow. Instead, he continued to move his vehicle forward and back.
Shaffer was on the passenger side of Rosa’s vehicle as Rosa continued his attempt to escape, placing Shaffer at risk of severe injury due to the limited space between the suspect vehicle and an unrelated vehicle, just prior to opening fire, Shaffer was struck by the side of the Rosa’s vehicle.
Darby and Hotz were on the driver’s side of the Rosa’s vehicle and continued to give commands until shots were fired. Both men believed they were at risk due to the confined space and continued movement of the vehicle driven by Rosa.
Rosa was struck several times by the 14 shots fired. The involved deputies immediately transitioned to attempting to save Rosa’s life by providing medical aid to including CPR. Despite their efforts, Rosa was pronounced dead at the scene.
Several witnesses to the incident confirmed the deputies were readily identifiable as law enforcement, that they verbally identified themselves, and that Rosa was driving his vehicle back and forth.
Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark determined that Rosa had 14 gunshot wounds, several of which had the potential to be fatal.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].