End of Watch: 08/28/1997
Agency: Tacoma Police Department
County: Pierce County
On Thursday. August 28, 1997, Tacoma Police Officer Bill Lowry was shot and killed after barricaded suspect opened fire with a 7.62 mm SKS rifle at 1026 East 57th Street in the city.
Officer Lowry was shot by Sap Kray, a Cambodian immigrant who had earlier gone to Emerald Downs in Auburn to confront his estranged wife about accusations of infidelity. Kray showed up at the horse track at about 0030 hours on August 28, demanding to see his wife, Sameun Kray. An Auburn police officer arrived at about 0040 hours and immediately asked for back-up. Kray was infuriated and at one point displayed a weapon, telling officers he didn’t care if he lived or died and also told them he’d shoot them if they approached. Kray wasn’t allowed to see his wife and was allowed to drive away. Auburn officers followed Kray to determine if his driving was impaired by alcohol as it was believed he may have been intoxicated. After determining that his driving wasn’t impaired, they stopped following him.
He then drove to her home on East 57th Street. Auburn PD communicated with surrounded agencies, including Tacoma PD, of what had occurred at Emerald Downs.
Later, Auburn PD said they had difficulty communicating with Sap Kray because he spoke little English.
When Sameun returned home, she saw that Sap Kray’s van was parked there so she called police.
Tacoma PD and TPD SWAT responded to the home at about 0630 hours. After SWAT established a perimeter and negotiations were underway, it was believed that Kray was going to surrender. At about 1000 hours, Kray stepped onto the porch as officers attempted to take him into custody with verbal commands. Then, Kray was hit by two rubber projectiles fired by an Arwen, causing him to fall back towards the doorway. Kray grabbed a 7.62 mm SKS rifle. As SWAT officers approached Kray, he fired a single shot that struck Officer Lowry in the chest. The round exited and struck another officer as well.
Officer Lowry stumbled backward onto the large porch as other SWAT officers fired at Kray. He was shot by officers and retreated back into the house.
Several hours later, Kray surrendered; paralyzed from the waist down.
Officer Lowry was transported to Harborview Medical Center where he died later in the day.
Kray was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder of Officer Lowry and sentenced to life in prison.
Officer Lowry served with the Tacoma Police Department for 18 years and is survived by his wife and daughter.