Two Benton County deputies are now on administrative leave after an officer involved shooting Wednesday night in West Pasco.
PASCO, WA - Two Benton County deputies are now on administrative leave after an officer involved shooting Wednesday night in West Pasco.
Police say a man barricaded himself in his home on Sacramento Drive, shot at officers and was killed by a shot from a SWAT Team member. Now, the Special Investigations Unit is looking into the second officer involved shooting in as many weeks.
Police say 49-year-old Rick Robert Howard first started shooting his gun outside just before 7 p.m. He fired dozens of rounds in his Sacramento Drive neighborhood before going inside his house. There, police say he fired off up to 60 more shots in his own house.
"There were holes in the windows, in the doors, in the ceiling. I know there was holes in his vehicle," said Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane.
Police say Howard had three guns: a handgun, a shotgun and an assault rifle. The first 911 calls claimed Howard was highly intoxicated and having a mental breakdown. Sheriff Keane said Howard had asked one of his neighbors to shoot him earlier that day.
"Looking at the trajectory of the bullets, if they would've exited the residence which is likely that that happened, there would be houses and a park just about every area that he was shooting at. A very dangerous, volatile situation," said Sheriff Keane.
Benton County Deputy Jason Erickson also lives in the area. He attempted to talk to Howard and did fire at Howard at one point but did not hit him. He is now on paid administrative leave. The investigation is still ongoing but Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger said they do have an idea of how the whole incident started.
"He and his wife had a disagreement sometime during the day and so domestic could be involved in this but that's still being investigated. It seems to be the most likely possibility at this point," said Chief Metzger.
It ended at 10:53 p.m. Witnesses heard two loud bangs around that time. Investigators say Howard exited his home with an assault rifle in hand and brought it up in a threatening manner. The first loud bang, we're told, was a fatal shot to the chest fired by Benton County Deputy Scott Surplus. He is also on administrative leave now. The second loud bang was a flash bang to see if Howard would respond. He was pronounced dead at the scene.