SOUTH KITSAP — Two law enforcement officers involved in a May 15 South Kitsap shooting incident have been identified by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
Officer Christopher Faidley of the Bremerton Police Department and Deputy Sheriff Paul Woodrum of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office were placed on administrative assignment following the incident, in which a 72-year-old South Kitsap man was shot following a confrontation at the end of a vehicular chase that afternoon.
Faidley of Bremerton has five years of experience as an officer; Woodrum of the Sheriff’s Office is a 16-year veteran.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the reassignment is temporary and standard procedure when personnel is involved in a “lethal force” incident.
The suspect was at the center of a domestic violence assault investigation, police pursuit and a felony assault occurring over the course of the afternoon in Port Orchard and the surrounding areas of South Kitsap.
The injured suspect, still unidentified, was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma by a South Kitsap Fire and Rescue medic unit in critical condition. Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson’s report on May 24 stated the man remains critical with life-threatening injuries.
Simpson said that once the suspect was stopped, his actions caused the officers in pursuit to fire their weapons. He said the suspect had been given several opportunities to comply but did not.
“Had he done so, the result would have been different,” Simpson said.
An investigation of the shooting was turned over to the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT), a multi-agency investigative team with detectives from Kitsap County law enforcement agencies, including those from the Washington State Patrol.
The state patrol is the lead agency of the investigation, Wilson said, and Lt. Randy Hullinger of the state patrol is lead investigator.
“This kind of lethal encounter is a reality that we now experience far too frequently,” Simpson said.
“Both agencies have become involved in critical incident officer shootings during the past year. Like any deadly force situation, the reaction of officers was in direct response to the actions of the individual.”
Officer Faidley and Deputy Woodrum will soon return to duty, Simpson said.
“I know them as courageous and dedicated officers who will continue to do their job, whatever the situation.”
Simpson said he was thankful for the response by deputies and officers who responded to the incident.
“A domestic violence assault had manifested itself into a lengthy vehicle pursuit in which a firearm was used by a male experiencing a mental health crisis to assault law enforcement officers,” he said.
Deputies were dispatched just after 2 p.m. May 15 to the suspect’s home on New Dove Lane in South Kitsap after his family became concerned about the man’s emotional health.
Wilson said the man reportedly had been involved in a domestic violence incident about 14 hours earlier when he reportedly assaulted a family member.
Upset family members told deputies the man had left the house in his vehicle, a 2013 black Ford Expedition SUV, taking with him a handgun.
He was later observed by a sheriff’s deputy parked outside a restaurant at SE Sedgwick Road and SR 16. At 3:38 p.m., the man left the restaurant and led law enforcement on a pursuit around South Kitsap and Port Orchard.
During the chase, officers reported the driver had brandished his firearm, taunted officers and evaded their efforts to detain him.
“It wasn’t too difficult to find his vehicle, but we were unable to stop him since he was evading officers by turning up and down streets,” Wilson said.
“He wasn’t going fast, but he would speed up when he felt we were containing him.”
The sheriff’s sergeant shift supervisor at the scene ended the pursuit, Wilson said, when the man began driving aggressively despite busy traffic on downtown Port Orchard arterials, endangering public safety.
“It was getting to be ‘busy time’ with lots of traffic on Bay Street around the time of the shipyard shift change,” Wilson continued. “The decision was made correctly that the situation might endanger people on the roadway. Plus, we also knew that the man would head home at some point.”
While awaiting the man’s return home, the multi-agency law-enforcement team — including the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, patrol and traffic deputies, detectives and Port Orchard Police — evacuated family members from inside and prepared the roadway with spike strips to hinder his escape.
The man returned home, entered the residence, then walked to his SUV. After sitting in the vehicle for awhile, he fled the scene at 7:15 p.m. by driving across a neighbor’s lawn. Response team officers then followed him as he drove away in the SUV, whose tires had become deflated by the spike strips.
The pursuit then ended in the driveway of a small farm about three-quarters of a mile away at the 8500 block of Banner Road SE, Wilson said.
The man reportedly began waving his gun after being stopped by officers, and a confrontation ensued with a report of gunfire at 7:17 p.m.