PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON — Deputy Carly Cappetto, a School Resource Officer, conducted a felony traffic stop on a suspicious, stolen car near Stahl Junior High School. Her attention was drawn to the vehicle, parked oddly and filled with occupants engaged in drug use. Positioned near a path used by students, the car’s presence raised concerns for their safety.
While waiting for backup, Cappetto discreetly placed stop sticks behind the vehicle. The startled occupants attempted to flee, leading to a pursuit that ended in a Kohl’s parking lot. As Cappetto tried to apprehend them, they collided with a civilian’s car and subsequently rammed into Cappetto’s patrol vehicle.
In an attempt to assist, the civilian, a licensed gun owner, drew his weapon. This action, while well-intentioned, posed a significant risk. Pierce County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darren Moss emphasized the dangers of such interventions. When other deputies arrived, they instructed the civilian to lower his weapon, narrowly avoiding a potential crossfire situation.
Moss advised that civilians should offer verbal assistance rather than drawing a weapon, to prevent unnecessary risks. The incident, captured on bodycam, highlighted the complexity of public intervention in police matters. It’s commendable to help officers in need, but civilians must prioritize clear identification and communication with the police and other responding officers to ensure everyone’s safety.
Eventually, all four suspects in the stolen vehicle were apprehended without further incident, charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and illegal drug possession. Moss concluded by acknowledging the civilian’s intent but cautioned against replicating such actions.
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