Strolling sniper wounds 7 in Wash. before being shot Arrested rifleman known to police

March 26, 1993|By Seattle Post-Intelligencer

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- A 30-year-old man with a history of run-ins with police opened fire with a rifle as he walked along a two-mile section of a rural highway yesterday, shooting "everybody and everything that moved," authorities said.

The man wounded at least seven people in less than 25 minutes before he was shot by a policeman and arrested.

Victims included passing motorists, neighbors who were working their gardens and a jogger. At least 12 people were fired at but not hit.

Authorities said the rifleman used a .22-caliber Ruger with telescopic sight and banana-style ammunition clip holding up to 25 rounds.

Wounds ranged from superficial to critical. Victims were taken to at least four hospitals.

Two of the victims were reported in critical condition last night. One was identified as Glenn Anderson, 34, of Tacoma, the other as Michael Stott, 38, of Buckley. Both men reportedly were shot in the head.

The shootings occurred along a stretch of the old Buckley-Sumner Highway, near Bonney Lake. The Pierce County town is about 33 miles southeast of Seattle.

The shooting spree ended when a Bonney Lake policeman wounded the gunman, whom authorities identified as Rick Thorp. He was shot once in the abdomen.

Mr. Thorp, who was in critical condition after surgery last night, is well known to Bonney Lake police and Pierce County deputies, said Curt Benson, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

"He was a walking time bomb," said Dick Franklin, who said he was a neighbor of Mr. Thorp's and feared him. "He packed a gun all his life, and I've known him for a long time," Mr. Franklin said.

Mr. Benson said police were told about 5:05 p.m. that someone was shooting at passing cars. Four minutes later, Mr. Thorp's mother called to say it was her son doing the shooting, the spokesman said.

Janet Thorp said her son had taken drugs and had gone outside armed, Mr. Benson said.

"He was shooting randomly, not only at passing cars, but also at people who were coming out [of their houses] to see what was going on," Mr. Benson said.

At one point, the gunman opened fire on a small community store, Mr. Benson said. Seven people were in the store, but none was hit.

"He shot everybody and everything that moved. This is a small town going big time in a hurry," said Dave Kneeland, an assistant fire chief in Pierce County.

A Pierce County deputy and a Bonney Lake officer, both of whom had had dealings with Mr. Thorp before, arrived separately.

Mr. Benson said those officers tried to talk with the gunman. But he leveled his rifle at them.

The Bonney Lake officer fired, hitting the gunman once, Mr. Benson said.

He could not specify earlier troubles Mr. Thorp had with

authorities.

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