10/20/2014

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Armed Tacoma man surrenders after hours-long standoff

Armed Tacoma man surrenders after hours-long standoff
TACOMA, Wash. -- Authorities spent much of Tuesday evening trying to coax an armed and "unstable" Tacoma man from his house after he was spotted firing guns on the streets of his Fife Heights neighborhood.

Finally, after a more than four-hour standoff, 67-year-old Mike McBee surrendered and was taken into custody.

The Pierce County sheriff's department first put out a warning at 4 p.m. after receiving 911 calls about an armed man in the 5800 block of 13th Street Ct. NE. Callers claimed he was shooting at homes.

"The gunman is not in custody and is moving through the neighborhood. This is a very dangerous situation for your staff, citizens in the area, and first responders," the alert read.

McBee allegedly shot at least three homes and two cars. He also fired at one person and missed and pointed a gun at another person, according to Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.

Moments after the 911 calls were made, a cadre of police and sheriff's deputies -- along with a SWAT team -- swarmed the area and began a door-to-door search for the gunman.

At 4:30 p.m., deputies announced they had located McBee inside his own home. McBee, a Vietnam veteran, was heavily armed and refused to come out, Troyer said.

Neighbors in the area told authorities McBee had been acting erratically prior to Tuesday's episode.

"Neighbors said he's recently become more unstable as time goes on," Troyer said. "At this point we know he was out earlier firing multiple rounds at residents. He pointed a gun at a few people at made some statements that didn't make any sense."

Others in the area are just hoping for a peaceful resolution.

"I hate to see this happen because You don't want to see someone you know get hurt. I just hope he comes out, and that's how it ends," one woman said.

After more than 90 minutes of trying to coax him out, deputies decided the man was "unstable" and began shooting tear gas into the home. Despite the tear gas, McBee did not immediately surrender.

Authorities continued to speak with him over the phone, but he was uncooperative. Deputies continued to periodically lob canisters of tear gas into the home, with little luck.

Just before 9 p.m., he finally came out and was placed under arrest. Troyer said man only came out after being assured his dogs, which were inside with him, would be safe.

"We discovered he had some dogs in there, and he really wanted to make sure the dogs were taken care of. So once we set that up and he was comfortable the dogs were going to be fine, he voluntarily surrendered," Troyer said.

It's still unclear why the man apparently snapped, but Troyer said a combination of alcohol, mental illness and prescription medication may have played a role. McBee may have also had a small marijuana grow inside the house, but officers won't know for sure until they execute a search warrant on the house Wednesday morning.
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