Washington police announced on Saturday that a man was shot and killed while he was attacking a Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center.
In the early morning hours, the unidentified man showed up outside the Northwest Detention Center, located in the city of Tacoma, armed with a rifle and wearing a sachel. He then reportedly threw “incendiary devices” at the center and propane tanks nearby. He even set a car on fire at one point.
Police responded to the disturbance at four in the morning and tried to get the man to stop before the man was shot and killed. The police have not announced if the man shot at police or how many times the man was shot by police.
ICE announced through a public statement that no employees were harmed or involved in the “tragic” incident.
Though the man’s motivations have not been revealed, the attack occurred only hours after a rally was held outside of the building protesting the center’s conditions and its detainment of illegal immigrants.
GEO Group, which runs the Northwest Detention Center, said in a statement to The Associated Press that baseless accusations about the treatment of detained migrants in the center “have led to misplaced aggression and a dangerous environment for our employees, whose safety is our top priority.Violence of any kind against our employees and property will not be tolerated.”
They continued by saying they are grateful to the Tacoma Police Department for their swift response to the situation.
“We are thankful for the quick and brave action by the Tacoma Police Department, which prevented innocent lives from being endangered,” they said through the statement.
GEO Group maintains that their detention center provides adequately to the detained migrants. The facility reportedly has air conditioning, a bed for every individual detained and medical care available around the clock.
Four Tacoma, Washington officers were involved in the shooting and they are all on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation into the shooting.
Another rally protesting the detainment of illegal immigrants and the conditions in the center was planned for Saturday afternoon, but was canceled in light of the shooting and road closures.
“Urgent and evolving update: NWDC is currently blocked off from all traffic, KOMO News has reported that an individual has been fatally shot. One of our volunteers attempted to make a visit this morning, and has told us that all entrances to NWDC are closed. There is a lockdown in place for 24 hours, and no visits can be made today. We will continue to update you as we learn more,” the leftist group La Resistencia announced on Facebook.
A federal judge ruled last year that the state of Washington could pursue a lawsuit against GEO Group seeking that they pay detained illegal immigrants minimum wage for the work they do around the center.
There have also been two migrant deaths at the center that made significant headlines, but both were due to suicide. One detainee died after performing a hunger strike and another was taken off of life support after attempting to take his own life.
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