Standoff turns into manhunt

Two 'dark-skinned males' exchanged gunfire with state trooper

An armored police vehicle moves along Forsell Road during the overnight manhunt.

Photo by Roger Harnack
An armored police vehicle moves along Forsell Road during the overnight manhunt.



— The Washington State Patrol this morning is searching for two “dark-skinned males” following a high-speed chase and exchange of gunfire last night.

As of 5:30 a.m., Forsell Road remained closed between Den Boer and Sunnyside-Mabton roads while troopers awaited daylight to begin a more comprehensive search of the area for the gunmen.

The road had been closed since before 10 last night when a high-speed chase ended in the driveway of a home at 3830 Forsell Road, Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Thorson said this morning.

photo

Washington State Patrol

A trooper's vehicle shows gunshot holes in the window and front quarterpanel.

County records show the home is owned by Edward J. and Linda G. Jensen.

The residents were evacuated safely as law enforcement officers in tactical gear moved into the area to search for the men who apparently selected their driveway at random, Thorson said.

Law enforcement officers from throughout the region set up a perimeter around the home and surrounding area in an attempt to apprehend the men.

Multiple agencies responded after the high-speed chase that lasted six minutes, another spokesman for the State Patrol said at about 3 a.m. from a command center set up along Forsell Road.

The pursuit started on state Highway 241, near Alexander Road, and speeds exceeded 100 mph, he said, noting it ended when the suspect vehicle turned into the Forsell Road home’s driveway.

“Two subjects engaged the trooper with gunfire,” he said. “Multiple shots struck the trooper’s car.”

The trooper returned fire and the suspects fled on foot, he said. The trooper was not injured, and authorities do not believe either of the suspects were hit.

Authorities initially believe the two men barricaded themselves inside the home or a barn, which prompted several area roads to be closed to traffic.

At least three armored vehicles arrived on scene, in addition to Washington State Patrol troopers, Union Gap, Sunnyside, Pasco and other law enforcement officers.

The red and blue glow of law enforcement lights from vehicles patrolling the area pierced the dark night.

The sound of barking dogs was interrupted by the boom of period concussion grenades or the negotiator on a megaphone barking orders at suspects presumed to be in the home or barn.

“We are the police department. We have the place surrounded and we are not leaving,” the negotiator said over the megaphone. “Come on out. We’re not going anywhere. Come out, hands up.”

The negotiator kept repeating that he would guarantee the safety of the suspects if they followed his commands and gave up.

“Nobody’s gotten hurt,” he said. “We want to keep it that way. We know you’re in there.

“Inside 3830 Forsell Road, it’s time to give up. You’re probably tire of hiding about now. If you follow the instructions given to you, I can guarantee your safety.”

About 4:30 a.m., the State Patrol determined the area was clear and many of the agencies departed.

After daylight this morning, the manhunt was expected to continue in the surrounding area, Thorson said, noting the patrol may also call in aircraft to assist.



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