Man Dies After Attacking Immigration Prison

Police fatally shoot armed man allegedly attacking immigrant prison in Washington state

The Tacoma Police Department said the man, identified as Willem Van Spronsen, 69, armed with a rifle, on Saturday morning threw incendiary devices at the Northwest Detention Centre, a Department of Homeland Security detention facility that holds immigrants in Washington, reports Xinhua news agency.

Police spokesman Loretta Cool said Van Spronsen ignited a auto and tried to explode a propane tank before he was fatally shot by four police officers. A man armed with a rifle threw incendiary devices at the center on Saturday and was later fatally shot by police, authorities said. The officers then fired at the suspect, she said. It is unclear whether the man was shot by officers or shot himself, Cool said.

The centre has also held immigration-seeking parents separated from their children under President Donald Trump's efforts to deter illegal immigration.

Four police officers were said to have opened fire at the man, who was later found dead. She and others got letters from Van Spronsen "saying goodbye", she said. He also wrote what she referred to as a manifesto, which she declined to discuss in detail, the Times reports.

Van Spronsen was arrested at the Tacoma facility in June 2018, court documents show, amid what a prosecutor described as a noisy protest scene that included yelling, banging on pots and pans, megaphones and honking horns.

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

It is unknown at this time if the individual was attacking the facility with anti-ICE motivations, anti-migrant motivations, or if it was unrelated to either motive; however, a statement from GEO Group, a Florida based company that operates the facility in Tacoma, attributed the attack to the anger resulting from misrepresentations in media.

The officers involved, who were not injured, retreated, and "medical aid was staged" nearby, according to police. She said another rally was scheduled for Saturday, but that it would have to be moved to a different area as authorities were still processing the crime scene.

GEO Group, which runs the facility, told the Associated Press that "baseless accusations" about how detainees are treated there "have led to misplaced aggression and a risky environment for our employees, whose safety is our top priority".

The four officers - who had 20 years, 4 years, one year and 9 months of experience on the Tacoma police force, respectively - have been put on paid administrative leave, according to department policy.

Van Spronsen had an existing criminal record after being accused of assaulting a police officer during a protest outside the detention center in 2018, The News-Tribune reported.

"Violence of any kind against our employees and property will not be tolerated", the statement continued.

The GEO Group owns the 1,575-bed jail.

Mergensana Amar, 40, was taken off life support after attempting to kill himself while in voluntary protective custody at the detention center on November 15, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

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