Bainbridge man dies after police shooting

SUQUAMISH — A Bainbridge Island man well-known to law enforcement officials is dead after a Friday afternoon car chase, which included a police officer firing at the suspect’s vehicle.

Hunter Morgan Shearer, 30, of Bainbridge Island, died at the scene near the Columbia and Middle Street intersection just north of downtown Suquamish.

“For all parties involved, the deceased and the officer, a very thorough investigation is underway by detectives of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by detectives from Washington State Patrol,” said KSCO deputy and public information officer Scott Wilson.

Once the investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the Kitsap County prosecuting attorney’s office.

The pursuit started following a 911 call to all North End law enforcement agencies regarding an erratically-driven older model Chevrolet pick-up truck towing an empty boat trailer through Suquamish.

Suquamish Police Department officers were the first responding units to arrive shortly before 12:30 p.m. Oct. 15 to the Suquamish Village parking lot where the truck was located.

Officers learned that Shearer had forced four vehicles off the roadway as well as driven on and off the roadway before pulling into the parking lot and striking another vehicle.

Once SPD arrived, Shearer drove away at high speed and headed north on Division Street. Two SPD vehicles followed the truck to the Division Street and Columbia Street intersection, where Shearer turned left.

Shearer suddenly stopped the truck, put it in reverse and rammed it and the boat trailer into the lead Suquamish police car, a Ford SUV. This continued on Columbia Street until the SUV was immobilized.

During the final collision, a Suquamish officer shot at the driver of the truck. It is unknown how many shots were fired.

Shearer then continued northbound on Columbia Street. A second Suquamish police car found the truck with its front end in a drainage ditch just south of the Columbia and Middle Street intersection, at the border of the Port Madison Reservation. A fire had ignited underneath the truck and the boat trailer had detached from the truck and was in the roadway.

Shearer was removed from the truck and an off-duty North Kitsap Fire & Rescue firefighter on the scene initiated first aid. NKF&R crews then arrived and medics utilized more life-saving measures while firefighters extinguished the fire.

Shearer died at the scene. No other citizens or law enforcement officers were injured.

Additional units from Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Poulsbo Police Department responded and secured the area for investigation. Columbia Street, between Division and Middle Street, was closed to thru-traffic for approximately 11 hours while crime scene investigators processed evidence.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol are conducting a joint investigation of Shearer’s death. The Seattle office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been notified because the death occurred within tribal reservation boundaries.

The Suquamish officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway.

‘Any type of internal affairs investigation or administration review concerning this incident will be conducted at the direction of the Chief of Police of Suquamish Police Department,” Wilson said. “Whether this type of investigation is conducted in-house or by an outside agency will also be determined by the chief of police of Suquamish Police Department. Any administrative review will not occur until after the completion of the criminal investigation by Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol.”

Suquamish Police Chief Mike Lasnier issued a prepared statement on the incident, noting that all questions on the investigation, its status or specific facts of the case should be referred to Wilson.

Lasnier stated that the department followed standard law enforcement protocol and requested assistance from KCSO, WSP and FBI “to ensure a fair and objective investigation into the incident”

“All three agencies responded without delay and have provided assistance to our agency in this matter. The Suquamish Police Department and its officers are cooperating fully with the investigation,” he added.

Lasnier stated that he is confident his officers acted appropriately and welcomes external review from county, state and federal authorities.

Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom said the cause of Shearer’s death is pending further investigation. It is unknown whether Shearer was driving the truck under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substances.

Shearer was well-known to local law enforcement and had three felony convictions within the past 11 years, including burglary, eluding police and vehicle theft, as well as additional misdemeanors.

Anyone who may have witnessed any part of this incident is asked to contact the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 337-7101.

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