Hoquiam standoff ending with house in flames, suspect dead [**UPDATED**]

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HOQUIAM -- A two-day standoff between Hoquiam police and a man who shot one of their officers ended in a fiery gun battle that left the suspect dead early today.

Police said flames erupted from the home just after 6:30 a.m., and moments later the suspect came out the house with a gun. Officers exchanged fire with the gunman, fatally wounding him.

Hoquiam police Sgt. Brian Dayton said the man died at the scene. No officers were hurt.

It was not known what caused the fire, but Dayton said police had been shooting tear gas into the home to try to get the man to come out.

Video from the scene showed police withdrawing a robot that had been used in the standoff. Officials said the man inside had a gas mask and already disabled two other robots they sent into the house.

Police say a 53-year-old woman and the 49-year-old-man in the home were wanted on arrest warrants out of Sacramento, Calif., for felony fraud. Officers arrested the woman Tuesday but the man provided fake ID and was left. After investigators discovered the ruse, four officers returned Wednesday, and the man began to run.

Officers tried to user a Taser on the man but he pulled out a gun and fired, wounding Officer Jeff Salstrom in the hip, police said. He was treated for injuries described as non-life-threatening at a hospital.

Other officers returned fire, and the suspect barricaded himself on the upper floor of the home.

Police tossed multiple canisters of tear gas into the home through the night, which led to the gunman firing several rounds at the officers. No one was hit in the exchange.

Officers later attempted to use a camera-mounted robot to film the man, but he saw the machine and shot it. That camera was disabled, but not before police captured video of the man wearing a gas mask.

A second robot was called in. The gunman disabled that machine as well, though police have not said how he did it.

At 6:18 a.m., officers noticed the suspect coming down the stairs onto the lower floor, said Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate. Twelve minutes later, flames erupted from the second story of the home.

Moments later, the suspect appeared in the front doorway holding a gun. After the suspect ignored commands to drop the weapon, several shots rang out and the suspect fell to the ground, Schumate said.

His identity has not been released.

The wounded officer is a 12-year veteran of the Hoquiam Police Department and was a former K-9 officer who lost his police dog Enno to cancer earlier this year.

"It's been a rough time for Sgt. Salstrom and his family," said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers.

Check for updates at www.komonews.com.

Last modified: March 28. 2013 9:33AM
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