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Over 80 rounds fired after gang member shootout in Pierce County

A 19-year-old man was found at the car crash site with a gunshot wound to his head and a rifle in his vehicle, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

PARKLAND, Wash. — A 12-year-old was injured early Wednesday morning after more than 80 rounds were fired in a shootout between gang members in Pierce County.

According to Pierce County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Darren Moss, deputies responded to the 1500 block of 98th Street South around 1:35 a.m. for reports of shots being fired. Moss said 911 callers also reported a car crash at 97th Street South and Ainsworth Avenue South.

Officials said gang members fired more than 80 rounds in a "shootout," with about 20 rounds hitting a nearby house and grazing a 12-year-old girl who was inside. Moss said a 19-year-old man was found at the car crash scene with a gunshot wound to his head. A rifle was also found in his vehicle, Moss said.

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The 19-year-old is in critical condition at the hospital. Moss said the 12-year-old girl was grazed by a bullet but didn't go to the hospital.

Detectives are investigating what led up to the shootout. 

Lofi Tomu, who lives in the home on the corner of Ainsworth Ave and 98th Street South, said she’d move her family if she could because it’s not worth having her grandchildren exposed to this kind of violence. 

“Education is good here, my kids are getting good education, but it’s risking their lives,” she said. “Sometimes they see it in the movies, and you try to tell them, oh, it’s not real. But now they’re experiencing it. It’s real.”

Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said it was the fourth shooting this week, and that responding deputies were on another call when the shooting occurred. 

Moss said the department is doing its best to keep up with crime, but more deputies are needed. He called on residents to pitch in, not just with tips, but by signing up to protect their neighborhoods. 

“This is my community," Moss said. "I’m not just some guy who comes on TV that just works for the sheriff's department. This is my home, this is where I live and grew up. I left and I chose to come back because this is where I want to serve. So if somebody else wants to do something about the crime going on, then come put on a badge. Or tell someone else that you know would be good for this job to come put a badge on.” 

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