Medical examiner says suspect shot by police in Fife actually committed suicide

FIFE, Wash. -- The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office said a man shot by police in a parking lot in Fife after a high-speed chase actually shot and killed himself early Friday morning.

Des Moines police officers called out to a possible case of domestic violence early Friday morning ended up in a high speed chase, following a man who took off on a motorcycle when officers arrived. The officers chased him all the way to a parking lot just off Pacific Highway East, near Port of Tacoma Road in Fife. Investigators say the chase ended in a crash.

Fife Police Chief Pete Fisher says it appeared that a Des Moines police officer fired at least once, killing the suspect.

But the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office said later Friday that although the suspect suffered a single gunshot wound to the mid-upper chest, he died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“I am certifying the cause of death as gunshot wound to the head, and the manner as suicide. The gunshot wound to the head produced instantaneous brain death, rendering the gunshot wound to the chest non-contributory," the medical examiner wrote in his preliminary autopsy report.


Officers did find a handgun at the scene, police said, and the  investigation determined that the motorcycle had been stolen.

No other details were provided.