The Slatest

Armed Man Dies After Hurling Incendiary Devices at ICE Detention Center

Hundreds of people gather in lower Manhattan for a "Lights for Liberty" protest against migrant detention camps and the impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this coming weekend in various cities on July 12, 2019 in New York City.
Hundreds of people gather in lower Manhattan for a “Lights for Liberty” protest against migrant detention camps and the impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this coming weekend in various cities on July 12, 2019 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A man died early Saturday morning after he reportedly tried to attack a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Washington state. More specifically, the man was targeting the Northwest Detention Center, which is the holding facility in Tacoma for ICE. The man apparently approached the privately run facility that is used to hold migrants while they await their deportation proceedings at around 4 a.m. That is when an employee at the prison reported that a man armed with a rifle was throwing homemade incendiary devices at the detention center as well as cars in the parking lot. The man was also allegedly trying to set a propane tank on fire.

Law enforcement officers went to the scene and reported seeing a man holding flares and a rifle. Officers called out to the man and then reported “shots fired.” It isn’t clear whether the gunman also opened fire on police. When medical help arrived, officers confirmed the gunman had been shot and killed but said it remains unclear whether he was killed by officers or whether he shot himself. The gunman has yet to be identified and there is no word about a possible motive. GEO Group, which runs the facility in Tacoma, said in a statement that incorrect claims about mistreatment of detainees at the facility “have led to misplaced aggression and a dangerous environment for our employees, whose safety is our top priority.”

The shooting came a day before the national raids by ICE are set to begin. The effort that had been delayed is meant to arrest 2,000 undocumented migrants with deportation orders. A few hours earlier, protesters had gathered at the detention center in Tacoma to protest. The raids were originally planned for 10 cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta. Officials, however, said that due to Hurricane Barry, Houston and New Orleans will not be targeted.