Police lights

WinCo employee shot by customer in Federal Way

The 30-year-old employee was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center; suspect not located

A WinCo Foods employee was shot in the chest by a man who was denied from purchasing alcohol and appeared to be intoxicated on Thursday afternoon, police say.

At about 1 p.m. Sept. 9, officers and South King Fire & Rescue personnel responded to reports of a shooting near the 160 block of SW Campus Drive in Federal Way, according to Cmdr. Kurt Schwan of Federal Way Police.

On scene, officers located a 30-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the upper chest. Police were told the suspect — a Black man in his early 20s — fled the scene on foot, Schwan said. The suspect was not located.

Early investigation revealed that the victim is an employee of the grocery store and was shot when he was escorting the suspect out of the store after staff denied the suspect from purchasing alcohol, Schwan said. The suspect appeared to be intoxicated, Schwan added.

A safety lock down was implemented at Panther Lake Elementary School was placed in a safety lock down during the incident.

Police conducted a K-9 search for the suspect through the nearby Panther Lake Apartments and greenbelt near the grocery store.

Airlift Northwest transported the patient with life threatening injuries to Harborview Medical Center, but he is expected to survive, Schwan said.

The flight from the landing zone at the former Weyerhaeuser site in Federal Way to Harborview is about 8 minutes, said Nick Vail, a spokesperson for Airlift Northwest.

Police are continuing to investigate the shooting. There is video surveillance and images of the suspect.

“We will find him and hold him accountable and bring him to justice,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell.

Ferrell said city officials and police are aware of the recent increase in crime throughout Federal Way.

“We have noticed an unacceptable increase in violence gun crime in our community and in our region, and specially in our city,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to address this spike in violence.”

There have been four shootings in Federal Way in the past week. On Sept. 3, an officer was ambushed and shot at by an unknown suspect. On Sept. 6, two men were shot near a Federal Way grocery store. On Sept. 7, a man was shot in the leg and the suspect was not located.

In recent weeks, the city implemented emphasis patrols in high-offense areas, and plans to continue these efforts.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make Federal Way safer,” he said “We’re going to utilize every strategy that we have.”

The mayor has placed a recommendation for the Federal Way City Council’s approval to add 13 officers to the police department, which would increase the city’s police force to 150 commissioned officers. The briefing is slated for presentation at the city council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21.

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