TACOMA, WA – Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department regarding the shooting death of 50-year-old Wayne Edward Craddock have been completed. Craddock died from gunshot wounds inflicted by Pierce County Deputy Martin Zurfluh.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide. “Mr. Craddock pointed a handgun at the deputy,” said Prosecutor Lindquist. “His actions at the time of the shooting, as well as prior to the shooting, indicate this is another sad case of suicide-by-cop.”
On October 12, 2012, Wayne Craddock was driving a truck westbound on SR 702 near the intersection of 64th Avenue South. The truck drew the attention of Pierce County Deputy Martin Zurfluh who conducted a records check. Craddock was the owner of the truck and his driver’s license was suspended. Deputy Zurfluh stopped the truck and identified Craddock as the driver. Craddock was ordered out of the truck. Craddock exited then abruptly got back into the truck. Craddock was worked up and verbally aggressive.
Deputy Zurfluh returned to his vehicle for cover. Deputy Zurfluh spoke to Craddock from a safe distance asking him to calm down. Instead, Craddock got out of his vehicle and pointed a handgun toward Deputy Zurfluh. Deputy Zurfluh feared for his personal safety fired his weapon several times, striking Craddock in the head and upper body. Craddock fell to the ground and was pronounced dead at the scene.
After the shooting, detectives recovered a fully loaded .45 caliber handgun near Craddock. A witness at the scene heard the deputy say “Come on now buddy. You don’t want to do this.” Then there were gunshots. Other witnesses indicated that they had spoken with Craddock earlier in the day and Craddock complained about his financial situation, appeared agitated, and said, “I’ve had it. If I get pulled over, I’ve got my gun. This is it.”
According to the Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Craddock died from the injuries caused by the gunshot wounds to his head and torso inflicted by Deputy Zurfluh. Dr. Clark also determined that Craddock was intoxicated at the time of his death.
For more information, please contact Emily Conlee at (253) 798-6265, [email protected] or Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].