Man dies in US after attacking migrant jail

Centre holds migrants awaiting deportation, parents separated from children under ‘zero tolerance’ policy

The US Department of Homeland Security Northwest Detention Center is pictured in Tacoma, Washington. Photograph: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

The US Department of Homeland Security Northwest Detention Center is pictured in Tacoma, Washington. Photograph: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

 

A 69-year-old man armed with a rifle was fatally shot during a confrontation with police after he threw incendiary devices at an immigration detention centre.

The Tacoma police department said the officers responded about 4am to the privately run Tacoma northwest detention centre, a facility that holds migrants pending deportation proceedings.

The centre has also held immigration-seeking parents separated from their children under US president Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, an effort meant to deter illegal immigration.

The shooting took place about six hours after a peaceful rally in front of the detention centre, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

On Saturday night, the Pierce County medical examiner’s office identified the man as Willem Van Spronsen of Vashon Island, the Tacoma News-Tribune and the Seattle Times reported.

Police said Mr Van Spronsen caused a vehicle to catch fire and that he attempted to ignite a large propane tank and set buildings on fire.

Police said officers called out to Mr Van Spronsen, and shots were fired.

Ms Cool said all four officers fired their weapons, but she did not have specific details of what took place.

After the gunfire, officers took cover, contained the area and set up medical aid a short distance away, police said.

Officers then located Mr Van Spronsen and determined he had been shot and was dead at the scene.

The four Tacoma police officers who fired their weapons have been placed on paid administrative leave as is standard in officer-involved shootings. –AP