ATF-police sting turns into shootout along busy highway in Kent; 1 suspect shot, seriously wounded

KENT, Wash. -- A joint ATF and local police sting aimed at illegal gun sellers turned into a shootout near busy Pacific Highway South on Friday afternoon, when two suspects tried to rob two undercover officers, Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said.

The incident began just before 5 p.m. near South 240th Street and Pacific Highway South.

"We had undercover officers who met up with some suspects that were selling illegal guns," Thomas said. "The suspects attempted to rob our undercover officers. A shootout ensued, where several shots were fired. The suspect was hit and is on his way to Harborview with life-threatening injuries.

"A passenger in the suspect vehicle then got out with a gun in his hand and ran from the scene and ran out onto Pacific Highway South, where he was hit by a car," Thomas said.

That suspect was placed into custody, but was also taken to the hospital to be checked out for non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

The man who was shot is about 19 or 20 years of age, Thomas said, and he was selling weapons out of his car.

No one else was injured.

Thomas said two males suspects and two undercover officers were involved in the incident.

Asked if the sting-gone-wrong in such a busy area had placed the public in danger, Thomas said, "We don't get to pick and choose and schedule these things."

He added that South King County is averaging about 58 shootings a month, and that police are trying to do everything they can to get illegal guns off the streets.