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Pierce County Council candidate shoots suspected thief

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Josh Harris, a Tacoma construction company owner and a candidate for Pierce County Council, shot a suspected car thief in Tacoma on Monday, authorities said.

Josh Harris, a Tacoma construction company owner and a candidate for Pierce County Council, shot a suspected car thief in Tacoma on Monday, authorities said.

Courtesy of Josh Harris

The Pierce County Council candidate who rescued three Tacoma police officers involved in the murder of Manuel Ellis is the man who allegedly shot a suspected carjacker on May 30 near Cheney Stadium.

Josh Harris, the alleged shooter, works on the Law & Order platform.

Adam Faber, a spokesman for the Pierce County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed Harris’ identity Wednesday in response to media inquiries.

Faber said the attorney general’s office will wait until the police investigation is complete before deciding whether to press any charges against Harris.

On Monday, Harris, 47, and another person went to the camp seeking to recover stolen property, according to police. There, they found a 40-year-old man who, Harris told police, had threatened to kill him.

The carjacking suspect got into a stolen car and drove past police officers toward Harris and the other person. Police said Harris shot the car.

On Tuesday, the suspect was found injured in the same camp and taken to a local hospital. Tacoma police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said he was still being treated as of Wednesday noon.

She said that upon his release, he will be booked for possession of a stolen car and assault.

Harris did not respond to numerous requests for comment from The News Tribune about the May 30 shooting.

Candidate for the county council

Earlier in May, Harris ran as a Republican to run for Pierce County Council seat 7 to represent the Gig Harbor, Key Peninsulas, Fox Island, and parts of northern and western Tacoma.

He is one of five candidates – a Democrat and four Republicans – who have come forward to replace them Incumbent Derek Youngwho has served the maximum number of periods permitted by law.

“Public safety is number one… I don’t run to be an R or a D,” Harris told the News Tribune in May. Harris, 47, owns a construction company.

He was a volunteer firefighter at University Place for six years, served on the CrimeStoppers panel for eight years, and his brother is a chaplain with the Tacoma police.

Harris said he believes recent state legislation, public reaction and low wages have left law enforcement morale frustrated. He wants the officers to feel supported, which led to his decision to rescue the Tacoma officers criminally charged in the Ellis case.

As first reported by The Seattle TimesHarris has a criminal history dating back to 1991.

Those convictions, all from Pierce County, include first-degree theft in 2003; 1993 first-degree theft; second-degree possession of stolen property in 1992; Court records show first-degree possession of the property stolen in 1991.

Court records show that he saw his right to bear arms revoked in 2003 as part of his first-degree theft conviction.

In 2013, after being crime-free for more than five years, he petitioned the Pierce County Superior Court to restore his right to own firearms, which is permitted under state law. Court records showed that this request was granted by Judge James Orlando in April of that year.

Manuel Ellis

Harris told The News Tribune that he spent $300,000 to rescue Christopher Burbank, 35; Matthew Collins, 38; and Timothy Rakin, 32. Burbank and Collins were charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Rankin was charged with first-degree murder. The accused officers pleaded not guilty. The bail of each officer was set at $100,000.

Ellis died in March 2020 while police officers handcuffed him. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide, citing lack of oxygen as the cause. The office also noted that the restraints used by the police contributed to his death.

This story was originally published June 1, 2022 4:38 pm.

Profile photo of Craig Sailor

Craig Selor has worked for The News Tribune since 1998 as a writer, editor and photographer. Previously he worked for The Olympian and for other newspapers in Nevada and California. He holds a BA in Journalism from San Jose State University.

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