4 officers injured, suspect killed in shootout and explosion in Kent

KENT, Wash. -- One suspect was killed and four police officers were injured in a Sunday afternoon shootout and explosion in Kent.

The drama began at about 10:45 a.m. Sunday when an officer contacted a suspicious subject at a hotel at 86th Avenue South and South 228th Street. While the two were talking, the suspect ran away and could be seen carrying a gun.

After setting up a perimeter, officers searched nearby businesses and parking lots, eventually finding the suspect near Carpinito Brothers Garden Center about two hours later.

Police are not releasing details about how the shootout began, but an assistant chief says he believes all the officers and the suspect fired their weapons.

Four officers were injured when a propane tank exploded during the shooting. Police don't yet know if the tank was hit by one of their bullets, or if the suspect shot it.

"During the firing of the shots, a propane tank was hit, just here in the back and exploded," said Detective Melanie Frazier with the Kent Police Department.

The enormous fireball also destroyed a nursery building.

Two officers suffered burns in the explosion and two others were treated for exposure to a hazardous material. All four were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

"It just was one of those things you see in the movies, almost like," Frazier said.

Employees at a nearby business said they heard a series of gunshots coming from just outside. Police then evacuated roughly 30 employees from the business, telling them a propane tank on the property may have been hit by a bullet.

Neighbors in the area said they were grateful to the men an women willing to wear a badge and take risks to keep them safe.

"My hat's off to them and to the families, and I hope everyone's okay," said David Luce.

Police are questioning a woman at the scene, but it's unclear if she was involved in the incident or was a witness.