SK coach out of hospital after shooting; support continues

South Kitsap High School basketball coach Anthony Lewis was released from Tacoma General Hospital Feb. 29, a huge first step in his recovery just days after he was the victim of a shooting on Interstate 5.

Lewis was driving home from Kent after finishing work at a halfway house for his recently acquired job working with at-risk youth—a position that close family friend Kiara Maxwell said fitted his character as a leader and mentor. “He kind of took on the older sibling thing and became the role model figure,” she said. “For this to happen to him still blows my mind.”

The Washington State Patrol said Lewis was driving near the 54th Avenue East overpass in Fife when an unknown vehicle pulled alongside his car and the driver opened fire. His car then veered off the road and into a ditch, a maneuver that Maxwell said was intentional. “He was just trying to get off the road since he was having a hard time controlling the steering wheel, so he turned away and crashed so his vehicle would stop.”

WSP detective Kevin Pratt said the initial call came in as a one-car collision. Law enforcement is investigating but no solid information is available. “We’re working a few different investigative leads. Obviously, being able to identify someone is challenging when it is dark outside,” Pratt said.

Lewis was transported to the Tacoma General. The coach suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including one that caused extensive damage to his left arm. Maxwell described it as “completely shattered.”

Maxwell was the first to arrive, and she was stunned when she saw Lewis for the first time. “I just looked to my right and, it was just instant, my eyes started watering. I think my adrenaline was pumping so fast that it still had not hit me that it was Anthony,” she said.

The surgery was even worse for Maxwell and Lewis’ family—5 1/2 agonizing hours just waiting for any positive news. “It was an intense surgery. (The surgeon) was kind of building his arm back together, so it was just a lot to prepare for. We were all pacing, even with the hourly text updates, and we just needed to know he was done with surgery and was OK,” Maxwell said.

The surgery was a success, and Lewis was discharged later that week. The length of time it will take to recover is unknown for now.

Since the shooting, the South Kitsap community has rallied to support Lewis in his recovery. The initial GoFundMe set up by Maxwell had raised over $63,000 as of March 7, and additional fundraising efforts have gone county-wide—such as a March 5 fundraiser at Silverdale’s Crumbl Cookies. Other fundraising events include a March 16 workout at Annapolis Fitness and Performance, and a March 17 Hoopes for Help dinner and auction at Whiskey Gulch.

“You can tell the type of person that Anthony is just by all of the emails…all of the condolences that people are sending. I know that he is very appreciative,” Maxwell said.