PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) " Detectives are investigating why a man ran from deputies and then opened fire in a Walmart parking lot, sparking a shootout that left him and the woman he apparently was with dead and two law officers wounded.
Sunday's violence came after the Kitsap County Sheriff's deputies answered a call about a suspicious person at the store in Port Orchard.
Two deputies located the man and tried to talk to him but he began running, pursued by the officers.
"For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots," sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said.Read more CNN video Local coverage by KIRO-TV Local coverage by KOMO News
Both men were hit and unable to return gunfire, but a female officer arriving on the scene shot and killed the gunman, Wilson said.
The two deputies were reported to be in satisfactory condition Sunday night.
Authorities said it wasn't immediately known who shot the woman, who died later at a Tacoma hospital.
The woman, believed to be in her late teens, appeared to be with the gunman.
"We believe that she and the deceased gunman knew each other, that they were together. We just have not yet established what that relationship" was Wilson told The Associated Press.
The identities of the dead as well as the three deputies haven't been released.
Witness Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton said the two appeared to be a couple.
"As soon as she saw him get shot, she ran for him," she told the News Tribune of Tacoma. "She put herself in the line of fire."
Wilson said detectives are still trying to answer some key questions. The investigation "is real basic right now... The big question of why is unanswered."
Few other details of the violence that erupted about 3:45 p.m. were released, but shoppers described how they saw events unfold.
Droge also spoke with The Seattle Times. She and Emmili Jones, of Federal Way, 20, told the paper that they noticed two deputies confronting a heavyset man in the parking log. They said the man began running and pulled out a gun and fired behind his back without turning.
The officers were about 30 to 40 feet behind the suspect when he started firing, Ray Bourge told KOMO-TV. "Five or six shots were fired. ... I just went and took cover," he said.
Victor Meyers told the station that he heard the first shot, then six more in rapid succession.
"I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire," Meyers said.
He said he saw a female deputy running toward a victim on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.
The store was immediately locked down. Customers in the store were allowed to leave after investigators questioned them, and the store closed for the night, Wilson said.
Tacoma police said the deputies were both shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition.
"I've seen just the one deputy, he's in one of the rooms talking with family and co-workers," said Mark Fulghum of the Tacoma police. "Both of the deputies are going to be fine. They're going to be kept overnight for observation."
Port Orchard, the county seat with about 8,250 residents, is about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound.
The last time a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy was shot in the line of duty was in April 1978, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Deputy Dennis Allred stopped to help what he believed to be a stranded driver towing another vehicle. The vehicle turned out to be stolen, and Allred was shot and killed by the suspects.Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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