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Tacoma police fatally shoot woman, search on for wanted man

Kenneth E. Wright Jr.

TACOMA, Wash. -- Tacoma police fatally shot a woman overnight in the 3300 block of S. Sawyer Street, and are on the lookout for the armed man who was a passenger in her car.

Police had been searching for Kenneth Wright Jr., a 32-year-old homeless man, who has two outstanding felony warrants for robbery, drugs and firearms charges, when they spotted his vehicle shortly before midnight on Thursday, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

As the officers approached the car, the woman stepped on the gas and sped towards the officers.

"One of the officers opened fire, striking the driver, stopping her from running them over, " police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

A woman in her 20s was pronounced dead at the scene as paramedics arrived. She has not been identified.

The shooting gave Wright an opportunity to run, and he fled the scene with a rifle.

Officers searched the area, yard by yard, in a locked down area from South M Street to Hosmer Street, and 38th Street to Wright Street, for several hours.

"He is obviously armed with a rifle, he's already committed an armed robbery with a weapon," Cool said. "We know he's armed tonight, we don't want any else injured."

Late Friday morning, officers were continuing to canvas the area. Classes at Reed Elementary were cancelled due to the police activity.

Police ask residents to call 911 if they see any suspicious behavior, or to provide information about the shooting.

A separate investigation into the fatal shooting by an officer is being conducted simultaneously. The two officers were not injured, and the one who fired is now on paid leave, per police procedure.

The officer who fired is 30 years old with eight years of experience on the force. This is Tacoma's first officer-involved shooting this year.

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