Pacific officer shoots suspect driving away in his patrol car

PACIFIC, Wash. - A wild police chase Thursday night in the town of Pacific ended when the suspect tried to drive away in a police car, was shot by a pursuing officer and crashed into another vehicle, officials said.

The bizarre drama began at about 10:40 p.m. when a Pacific police officer witnessed a man driving a stolen car in a Pacific neighborhood, said Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office.

The officer gave chase in his patrol car as the suspect drove the stolen vehicle into a residential area near Butte Avenue and Sunset Drive, then bailed from the stolen car and fled on foot.

The officer jumped from his patrol car, leaving the engine running, and began chasing after the suspect on foot. West said that is common practice in law enforcement.

"The officer's first responsibility is to try to catch that guy, not to turn his car off and lock the car up," she said.

The suspect then ran around a house, jumped into the police car and started to drive away, West said.

The officer fired several shots, hitting the suspect, who then crashed the patrol car into a Hummer parked in a driveway.

Neighbor Ashley Thayer saw much of the action unfold.

"The next thing I know, the guy's out on the ground and he's screaming and yelping for help and the cops are everywhere," she said.

The suspect, identified as a 41-year-old man, was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds. He was listed in critical but stable condition.

The officer, a six-year veteran, was not hurt.

The stolen truck was from a wood products distributing company in Port Townsend and was reported stolen Thursday morning.