'This Job Is Not So Easy': Former Colleague Reacts To Death Of Pierce County Deputy
UPDATED Monday, Jan. 8, at 4:11 P.M. with details about the second suspect's arrest.
When Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers got word early Monday that one of his former officers had been shot, it came from a portentous source: a Hoquiam sergeant who had survived a bullet wound in a standoff with a gunman five years ago.
A short time later, he got another call: This latest victim did not survive. Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney died of injuries he suffered in a shootout in Frederickson late Sunday night.
Myers said the death of McCartney has rippled through Grays Harbor County, where the sheriff’s deputy began his policing career in 2009.
“Our whole department is 25 people,” the chief, Jeff Myers, said. “They all become part of your family.”
McCartney, a 34-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, had a wife and three sons, ages 4, 6 and 9.
He was the first deputy to arrive at the scene of a reported burglary at a home when he began chasing two suspects, police said.
One of the suspects died at the scene. Police conducted a search for the second suspect Monday.
A 32-year-old man was picked up Monday morning and held on unrelated warrants. He was later identified and charged with murder in McCartney's death.
Myers, who hired McCartney, remembers him as a recruit who stood out for his “big, red shock of hair.”
“No matter where they go or what they do, they’re always kind of one of your kids, and so, this thing hits real close to home,” the chief said.
That’s especially true in the close-knit community of Grays Harbor County, he said.
“He still has family here in the harbor,” Myers said. “My wife and I are friends with his sister-in-law, who went to school with our oldest son.”
He said McCartney, who grew up in California, moved to Grays Harbor after leaving the Navy and serving in Afghanistan as part of a security unit attached to the Army.
“He was very fit,” Myers said. “He was a personal trainer at the YMCA before he got hired. He kept up on his physical fitness.”
McCartney moved to Yelm, in rural Thurston County, after leaving the Hoquiam police in 2013 for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
In Pierce County, he worked out of a “detachment” that covered the county’s east side, said department spokesman Det. Ed Troyer.
On Sunday night, McCartney arrived at the scene of the burglary six minutes after the 911 call came in. The suspects were still at the home, Troyer said.
“His bravery showed,” Troyer said at a news conference. “He took off after them.”
When more deputies arrived at the scene, they found McCartney lying on the ground, wounded. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma.
Deputies also found a handgun they believe was used to shoot McCartney, Troyer said, and the body of a suspect, whom the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office is working to identify.
Troyer described the home as one that deputies are familiar with, due to previous calls. “This is a house that has been a problem in the past,” he said.
Monday morning, deputies were preparing to serve a search warrant on the home, he said.
Myers, the Hoquiam police chief, said responding to emergency calls of all kinds has grown more uncertain for law enforcement officers in recent years.
“We’re dealing with so many people in crisis now, that I don’t know what there’s really a common denominator about what’s dangerous anymore,” he said.
“This job is not so easy,” he added. “And it’s getting more and more challenging. And then, when something like this happens, when you know there’s three little boys that are going to grow up without their dad, I don’t know what to say.”
Donations to McCartney’s family can be made at any Tapco Credit Union in Pierce County, Troyer said.