An armed man who attacked an immigration detention centre in the US city of Tacoma died after police officers opened fire on him.
Police arrived at the Northwest Detention Center early on Saturday after an employee reported that a man, armed with a rifle, was throwing “incendiary devices” at the facility. The man’s identity remains unknown.
The shooting in Washington state came a day before a nationwide deportation operation is due to begin. The raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will target hundreds of immigrant families across 10 cities who have recently been ordered deported but have not yet left the country. It marks the latest move in US President Donald Trump’s crackdown on migration.
A police spokesperson told Reuters the incident on Saturday took place several hours after a peaceful rally outside the facility protesting against immigrant detentions. In a statement, the Tacoma Police Department said the four police officers involved in Saturday’s shooting had been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in such cases, and an investigation into the incident was underway.
Police arrived at the privately run Northwest Detention Center at about 04:00 local time (11:00 GMT) after receiving reports that the man was throwing “incendiary devices” at the facility and at vehicles in the car park, the statement said. The man allegedly set a vehicle on fire and attempted to ignite a propane tank and set buildings on fire.
Officers said he was wearing a satchel and carrying flares. Tacoma Police Department confirmed that all four officers opened fire on the man, while it remains unclear if he fired at the officers. He was found shot dead at the scene.
Northwest Detention Centre holds migrants pending deportation proceedings and has also held immigration-seeking parents separated from their children, the Associated Press reports.