Rep. Jim Walsh releases statement on recent shooting in Pierce County

On Saturday, June 12, a man in Pierce County shot and killed another man attempting to steal the catalytic converter from the underside of the first man's vehicle. The shooter then dragged the dead man's body to a nearby field and dumped it. The shooter was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping.

In the wake of the Pierce County shooting, State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, the ranking minority member on the Washington State House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, released this statement:

“This latest unfortunate episode is the direct result of bad policy decisions made in Olympia. Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.

“Over the last couple of years, misguided legislators have promoted, and the current governor has signed, a series of bills causing the recent spike in crime rates around the state. These bad bills encourage crime in two ways: the first group of bills has reduced penalties for criminal behavior in Washington; the second group has undermined law enforcement agencies' ability to stop crimes in progress. They all send the message that Washington tolerates crime. That's a terrible message.

“My constituents—and people from around Washington—have contacted me, expressing concern about the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts. The thieves, often drug addicts, steal the devices from the undercarriages of cars and trucks. The recent shooting in Pierce County took this property crime issue in a violent direction: the owner of a truck targeted by a thief shot and killed the thief. A case of 'vigilante justice.' Sadly, Washington is likely to see more of this violence as property crime spikes continue in the coming months and years.

“A fundamental truth that misguided policymakers fail to understand is this: clearly written laws, fairly enforced, protect victims and criminals. Lawlessness exposes victims to more frequent injury and loss—and criminals to 'vigilante justice.' We must do better. We need to pass clear laws and empower our sheriffs and police departments to enforce them fairly. We need to protect good people from criminals and criminals from vigilantes.

“An essential element—perhaps the essential element—of the social contract is crime prevention. Prevention of property crime and violent crime. The current governor and legislative majorities in Olympia have failed the people of Washington. They tolerate crime. And tolerating crime breeds more crime. This has to stop!”


Washington State House Republican Communications