Two Arrested After Peninsula Shooting


Ted Olinger

Two local men, ages 23 and 19, were arrested in the early hours of May 18 after police received numerous reports of shots fired from a car driving south on the Key Peninsula Highway from Purdy to Penrose State Park, where they are suspected of shooting a dog.

The Key Peninsula News will not identify the men unless or until they are charged with a crime.

According to police and witness reports, gunshots were heard between Purdy and Penrose after midnight May 18. Kristen Hicks, who lives near Penrose, heard a shot ricochet through the trees on her property at 1:15 a.m. and called 911. She identified herself as the spouse of Gig Harbor police officer Joe Hicks.

"When they figured out who I was, the supervisor got on the line and said they'd already had nine calls in the last few minutes and had units rolling," she said.

Meanwhile, her husband, Officer Joe Hicks, armed himself and went outside to investigate. An unfamiliar car was parked down the street and the neighbor's dog was barking. Officer Hicks reported hearing a voice say, "Give me the gun. I'm going to kill that dog," immediately followed by a rapid series of shots. He identified himself as a police officer and ordered the shooters to halt, but the car immediately fled.

"Our guys were there in minutes," said Kristin Hicks. Some police units turned around to find the car while others, including Officer Hicks, searched the area and checked on the neighbor, Phyllis Olson, 84, and her dog, Joe.

"I was on my computer, and I heard this shot," said Olson. "But that's not unusual out here, you know."

Olson said her dog started barking, followed by a quick succession of shots, and then silence. "I called 911. I was very nervous," she said.

When Olson went outside to speak with the police, she noticed that someone had trampled her garden and knocked over planters to get in or out of her yard. Olson, her neighbors and responding officers searched unsuccessfully for any sign of her dog.

"There was no blood, but we did find three shells 15 feet from my front door," she said. Other casings were reportedly found nearby, and police noted that numerous road signs in the area had been shot.

Three men were apprehended after their car crashed on Lorenz Road KPN north of Cornwall Road KPS. One fled the vehicle and was tracked down hiding in nearby woods by a K-9 unit. Both suspects were arrested for reckless endangerment and class 3 malicious mischief. The 23-year-old was also arrested for attempting to elude police. A third man, unconscious in the backseat and believed to be impaired, was not arrested. One semi-automatic pistol and two pellet pistols were found in the car.

Neither suspect was charged as of press time and both were free on bond. The Pierce County prosecutor's office did not respond to requests for a comment to this report.

"I'm just so thankful that no people were injured with how many rounds they must've fired," Kristen Hicks said. "Can you imagine how easy it would've been for a bullet to go into a house along the road?"

About her missing dog, Joe, Olson said, "He was my watchdog, and he was my friend. He did his job."

Two subsequent searches for Joe failed to find any trace of him. He is a large shepherd mix, black on top, brown below, with white spots on his chest. He weighs approximately 90 pounds and was wearing a choke chain but no tags. He was last seen south of Penrose State Park near 159th Avenue KPS and 8th Street KPS when the shooting occurred. Anyone with information is asked to call 884-2586.