Lakewood police were looking for 28-year-old Patrick O'Meara late Tuesday night for an outstanding felony theft warrant.
They found him at a house in the 14900 block of Washington Avenue Southwest in the Lakewood/Tillicum area, according to police.
Officers knocked on his door and announced they were police. At the same time, other officers standing near the side of the house spotted O'Meara inside holding what appeared to be a handgun.
Police say they repeatedly told O'Meara to drop the gun, but he refused. Two officers then opened fire, killing him.
As it turns out, the gun O'Meara was holding was a toy. Police describe it "a very realistic looking metal cap gun."
Officers attempted CPR while waiting for medics to arrive, but O'Meara was pronounced dead at the scene.
Deanna Stine, who lives at the home and identified herself as O'Meara's mother, said the arrest warrant was for theft of a generator. She said her son had a criminal record, but he had been trying to do better.
"He's been in trouble for a long time. He's been in prison, but he's been doing good," she said after the shooting. "He just did a dumb thing."
Both officers are now on paid administrative leave, which is department policy.
Lakewood Major Crimes detectives and the Cooperative Cities Crime Response Unit are investigating the shooting, along with an investigator from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, according to police.