By Jared Brown
The News Tribune
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TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma police body-worn camera footage and surveillance video released by Pierce County deadly force investigators Monday show how a gunfight that killed an assault suspect and closed down four blocks on the city’s south side last month unfolded.
During the course of about four minutes, Peter T. Collins, 40, fired 15 rounds from two rifles at officers responding to reports he assaulted a family member on Aug. 28, according to the Pierce County Force Investigation Team, a group of regional law enforcement agencies that investigates uses of deadly force.
Three officers — Jose Figueras, Zachary Hobbs and Christopher Munn — fire nine rounds from their rifles in response to three volleys of several shots from Collins, according to PCFIT.
Collins was struck by two bullets, PCFIT said on Monday. One wound was consistent with a round from an officer’s rifle, and the other appeared to be self-inflicted.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Collins died by homicide from a rifle wound to the chest. PCFIT did not disclose the location of the apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
PCFIT posted clips of body-worn camera footage from the three officers who fired, along with surveillance footage and written information, to YouTube on Monday as a part of a video narrative of the incident. A spokesperson told The News Tribune that uncut video clips will not be available through public records requests until after the investigation is complete.
The PCFIT video, in addition to prior information released by authorities, provides the following account:
Officers responding to the assault report interviewed the victim away from Collins’ home on the 6700 block of South Monroe Street. Ring video from a home nearby recorded the alleged assault. The victim, Collins’ nephew, said his uncle owned two to three guns and indicated in his 911 call at about 12:30 p.m. that his uncle might try to “shoot police.”
Police first engaged Collins around 2:45 pm as he was standing near his front yard. Officers reported that he did not comply with their commands after developing evidence to arrest him.
“We ain’t friends so don’t call me by my (expletive) name,” Collins said in Ring footage recorded at his home.
Collins cursed at officers again before going back into his house.
Responding officers positioned themselves around Collins’ home.
Figueras was in an alley to the east that was accessible by a back door at Collins’ house and spotted Collins at 2:56 p.m. The officer reported over the radio that it appeared Collins tried to get something out of his trunk and retreated back inside.
“Let me see your hands, man. Come out and talk to me,” Figueras said to Collins, according to his body-worn camera. “Do not get in the car, man.”
About 10 seconds later, Collins fired a rifle several times toward Figueras. The officer returned fired.
Collins fired a second volley of shots about two minutes later.
“He has a long gun, get units here,” Figueras said on body-worn camera footage. “I have no angle, I have no angle.”
Another involved officer, Hobbs, returned fire at Collins from the north around 2:59 p.m.
Collins then fled on foot carrying two semiautomatic rifles, two handguns and a large amount of ammunition. At the time, officers did not know Collins ran east down a private walkway and tried to get inside a home to demand a car. Officials say the homeowner “thwarted” Collins but did not specify how.
Collins continued east to the 6700 block of South Madison Street.
The third officer who fired, Munn, arrived north of Collins at the 6600 block of South Madison just before 3:01 p.m.
Collins fired a third volley of shots as Munn was getting out of his patrol car about 180 yards away.
Munn retrieved his rifle from his trunk and fired a single shot at Collins within about 20 seconds, striking him.
“Shot fired, suspect’s down,” Munn said over the radio, according to his body-worn camera.
Multiple officers approached Collins outside a vacant lot at 6713 S. Madison St. about seven minutes later, around 3:08 p.m. That video clip did not include audio.
Officers removed a handgun from underneath one of Collins’ hands.
Police and fire personnel attempted medical aid, but Collins was declared dead at the scene.
This story was originally published September 26, 2022 12:50 PM.
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