Washington Sheriff's Deputy Killed While Rushing to Aid Colleagues

Pierce County Sheriff's Deputy Cooper Dyson was killed when his patrol car crashed early Saturday while rushing to help other deputies who were fighting with a domestic-violence suspect at a home south of Tacoma.

The Seattle Times
Deputy Cooper Dyson
Deputy Cooper Dyson
Pierce County Sheriff's Office

TACOMA, Washington -- A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy was killed when his patrol car crashed early Saturday while rushing to help other deputies who were fighting with a domestic-violence suspect at a home south of Tacoma, the sheriff’s department reported.

“In great sadness we report that Deputy Cooper Dyson was killed in a collision while on duty, as he rushed to aid fellow deputies who were being assaulted by a domestic violence suspect,” the department announced in a tweet.

Around 3 a.m., deputies responded to a 911 call that a 6-year-old disabled child had been assaulted by a 22-year-old man inside a home on 113th Street South in Parkland, according to Sgt. Ed Troyer, the department’s spokesman. The 911 caller also reported multiple weapons in the home, Troyer said.

One minute after the two deputies arrived, they radioed for “priority backup,” saying the suspect was attacking them, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.

“Deputy Dyson was the first deputy to respond to assist,” the Facebook post said. As Dyson was racing to the scene, the other deputies “continued to report that the suspect was actively fighting them and they believed he was trying to access a shotgun in the house.”

Dyson, 25, was headed west on 112th Street East “at a high rate of speed” when his car left the road, Troyer said. The car rolled multiple times and burst into flames, Troyer said.

At 3:10 a.m., a passerby called 911 to report that a sheriff’s vehicle had crashed into a commercial building. Deputies responded and found Dyson dead, Troyer said. No one else was hurt.

“He was on a straightaway and there were no other cars on the road,” Troyer said. “But it was really pouring down rain and there was a lot of water on the roadway. It’s very possible that (water) was a contributing factor.”

The Washington State Patrol was still investigating the accident scene late Saturday afternoon, Troyer said.

The other deputies, who arrested the domestic-violence suspect, were not badly hurt during their clash with the man, Troyer said.

“They’re OK,” he said. “I think it would have to take a significant injury for any of our guys to care about on a day like today.”

Dyson joined the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department last year, the department said. He was married with a 2-year-old son. His wife is expecting a girl in two to three weeks, Troyer said, his voice cracking.

“We love him,” he said.

“This is a tremendously sad loss,” Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor added in a statement. “Our deputy was responding to help other deputies in a dangerous domestic violence situation. It is another hard reminder of the dangers and difficulties our deputies face.”

In the Facebook post, the department noted Dyson’s loss is “especially painful,” as it occurred 10 years to the day since Deputy Kent Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner were shot while responding to a domestic- violence incident near Eatonville. Mundell later died.

This is the first motor-vehicle death of a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy since 1941, the post said.

According to the nonprofit Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks law-enforcement officers nationwide who’ve died while on the job, Dyson is the 294th officer to die in the line of duty in Washington. Twenty-two officers in the state were killed in automobile crashes, according to the site.

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