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Deputy shoots suspect under investigation for killing parents in Pierce County

The rental car a murder suspect used to try to escape sheriff's deputies (Photo: Thurston County Sheriff's Office)

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- A 21-year-old man is in the hospital after a Thurston County sheriff's deputy shot him early Thursday morning following a search connected to a double murder in Pierce County.

The Pierce County sheriff's department is investigating the murders, which occurred just after 7 p.m. Wednesday night at a home in the 23000 block of 162nd St. E. near South Prairie. Pierce County deputies responded to the house after a caller insisted on a welfare check for his parents because his brother, who had anger problems and had just showed up from out of town, had possibly obtained a gun and was going to be talking to their father soon.

"The father told his son, Iif you don't hear from me in 20 minutes, call 911,' " said Det. Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

The caller waited 20 minutes, and grew worried after his father didn't respond to several phone calls, and so he did call 911 and asked police to go check on his dad at the house.

Deputies arrived and found a bullet hole in the window on the front door of the home. They subsequently went inside and found the bodies of two victims who were believed to be the gunman's parents. The gunman had already left the scene.

"We think he was going to hide the bodies because one was wrapped up in a tarp," Troyer said.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the dead as Steven Standley, 55, and Theresa Standley, 56.

Investigators identified a vehicle that the suspect had reportedly rented, and a statewide notice was released at about 12:20 a.m. Thursday to find the armed and dangerous suspect and the rental vehicle. A "very alert" Tumwater police officer found the suspect at about 1:15 a.m. in that vehicle at the Comfort Inn about 55 miles away on 74th Ave. SW in Tumwater, and called for backup from Thurston County deputies.

When a sergeant with the Thurston County sheriff's office tried to approach the vehicle and asked the suspect to get out of the car, the driver sped toward the sergeant, who opened fire and struck the driver in the shoulder. The driver continued to try to drive away, but another sheriff's deputy intentionally hit him to force him to stop, deputies said.

"We knew he wasn't going to be taken alive; he kind of made threats like that," Troyer siad.

Their suspect was taken into custody and then taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, and no members of law enforcement were hurt in the incident.

"As bad as this is, it could have ended a lot worse," Troyer said. "We're very happy the Thurston County people are OK; the Tumwater officer is OK because the guy was on one of those 'I'm not going to be taken alive' modes," Troyer said.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said the suspect will be booked for two counts of first-degree murder for the murder of his parents after he is released from the hospital.

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