A corrections officer for the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla was arrested after a drug deal went awry and erupted into a shootout Sunday in Spanaway, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Willard Dynamite Palmer, the corrections officer, and his brother Anthony Leshawn Palmer, both of Walla Walla, were booked into Pierce County jail on suspicion of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.
Bail for Willard Palmer was set at $20,000 and he was released late Monday, jail records showed. Anthony Palmer remained in custody on $75,000 bail.
Deputies are searching for three other suspects.
Never miss a local story.
One of the brothers told deputies that he owns a marijuana collective and agreed to meet a new customer at a strip mall on Highway 7 with about three pounds of pot. He brought along his brother for security.
At some point during the deal, an argument ensued, and two or three of the potential buyers began firing at the brothers, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Surveillance footage showed the brothers returning fire at the suspects, who ran off after crashing their Saturn.
Deputies found the Saturn on the curb across from the strip mall with several bullet holes in the windshield. The brothers’ van had multiple bullet holes in the passenger door and hood. Another vehicle was also hit.
No one was injured.
Willard Palmer remains employed with the Washington State Department of Corrections. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave during the investigation of the incident and a review for possible further action, the state said.