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Charges filed in gun store burglary; other crimes

Bremerton resident Matthew Howard Wright, 24, has been charged in Kitsap County District Court with burglary in the second degree, two counts of theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

Police allege that Wright used a crawl space and a saw to gain entry into Boerners Firearms in Gorst shortly before 5 a.m. on April 9. Police say approximately 14 handguns were then stolen. They also say that sheriff’s office detectives, with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, continue to investigate and more arrests are expected.

A day after the burglary, a vehicle used in the commission of the burglary, a 1995 Lexus ES four-door, was located abandoned in South Kitsap. Significant effort had been expended in an attempt to alter the appearance of the car. The vehicle was impounded for later entry under authority of a search warrant.

Detectives conducted continuous follow-up work on tips and leads that were generated through criminal intelligence and media exposure of this crime. A search warrant was served at Wright’s residence in the 1000 block of Burwell Street in Bremerton and evidence items connected to the crime scene were located.

With specific details for probable cause for an arrest, information was transmitted to West Sound law enforcement agencies concerning the suspect’s identity. Patrol deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office stopped and detained two women in a vehicle as they left Belfair in Mason County. The women had been observed parking the suspect’s vehicle in a local shopping center and were leaving in a second car.

Kitsap Sheriff’s detectives responded to Belfair and observed additional evidence inside the suspect’s vehicle. The car was impounded pending application of a search warrant. Detectives questioned the two women who denied knowing the whereabouts of Wright.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, April 12, sheriff’s detectives relocated to a unit in a mobile home park on State Highway 3 in South Kitsap, the home of one of the two women. With consent of the homeowner the house was searched.

While investigators were inside the residence, a sheriff’s K-9 team found Wright hiding in a wooden shed built onto the back of the mobile home. He was taken into custody without incident.

Wright made an initial appearance in Kitsap County District Court and he was remanded into custody with bail set at $250,000. His next court appearance is set for April 29.

Suspect in custody after shooting in Bremerton

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Bremerton Police officers flooded Navy Yard City after approximately five shots were fired at around 9:43 a.m. Monday morning.

A radio report of “shots fired” in the 3700 block of F Street brought dozens of deputies and officers to the scene.

After a brief chase, a 29-year-old suspect was taken into custody, with only minor injuries. Dustin Leigh Sutherland has since been charged with assault in the first degree.

Deputy Scott Wilson, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said that a deputy sergeant and Sutherland exchanged an unknown number of shots, but neither was hit. Wilson said investigators are still determining whether the suspect or the deputy was the first to fire.

Wilson said deputies were following up on a series of Navy Yard City burglaries in recent days, when the sergeant spotted a man who wasn’t doing anything particularly suspicious, but nonetheless drew the deputy’s attention. The sergeant stopped to initiate “a social contact” to see if the man was alright.

“(Sutherland) was evasive,” Wilson said. “It was obvious that (Sutherland) didn’t want to be contacted by law enforcement and the sergeant didn’t press it. The man entered onto private property and went up on porch and then came back off the porch. He pulled a handgun that was on his person and gunshots were exchanged. We don’t know yet who fired first or how many shots were exchanged, but nobody was hit by gunfire. The suspect initially feigned surrender and was going to comply with verbal instructions, but took off.”

Sutherland was arrested some five minutes later about two blocks south of the shooting in the 900 block of Charlotte Avenue, between D and E streets. Wilson said Sutherland had an abrasion on his forehead and was treated by medics from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue before being transported to the Kitsap County Jail.

The West Hills STEM Academy, about two blocks north of where the shooting took place, was placed on lockdown for about 15 minutes while the incident unfolded.

Wilson said the Washington State Patrol is helping to investigate the shooting and the deputy who was involved has been placed on administrative assignment pending the outcome of that investigation.

 

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