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'I Fired To Stop The Shooter.' Pastor Tells Of Shooting Walmart Gunman

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Pastor David George, flanked by his wife and the Oakville, Washington, fire chief, describes pulling his pistol and fatally shooting a gunman at the Tumwater Walmart on Father's Day.

The pastor of the Oakville, Washington Assembly of God church said he was trying to protect his family and the public when he drew his concealed pistol and shot a gunman on Father’s Day.

David George cried at times as he spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since the shooting.

George said he went to the Walmart in Tumwater, Washington near Olympia on Sunday afternoon with his wife, daughter and granddaughter. He was at the customer service desk while the rest of his family was checking out when he heard a popping sound.

“I was sure that what I heard was gunshots and I’m familiar … with how I should respond considering mine, my family’s and the public’s safety,” George told reporters as he stood outside his church.

George said he’s familiar with the sound of gunshots because he’s a concealed pistol permit holder, a gun range safety officer and a volunteer firefighter and EMT who has gone through active shooter training. He said he immediately began looking for his family and heading for the doors, but did not draw his pistol. As George was leaving the store, he said the gunman passed him waving a gun and went out into the parking lot.

“I followed carefully along with another citizen carrying a firearm, unaware of what the shooter would do next or where he would do it,” George said.

Credit Washington Department of Corrections
Washington Department of Corrections
2016 File photo of Tim Day.

The gunman—identified as 44-year-old Tim O. Day—attempted to carjack a vehicle and shot the driver twice. George said Day then started moving toward where he thought his family was. At that point George said he moved to intercept him.

“When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman,” George recounted as he read from a two-page written statement. “He entered the vehicle, which I considered an ever bigger threat, and I fired to stop the shooter.”

George said Day tried to get out of the car and fell to the ground. After making sure Day was no longer a threat, George grabbed his medical bag from his car and began first aid on the motorist Day had shot. The victim has been identified as 47-year-old Rick Fievez of Tacoma. According to his family, Fievez is currently paralyzed from the neck down as a result of the shooting, however it’s unclear if the full paralysis is permanent. Fievez's son Tyler has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills.

George said he has spoken with the Fievez family. At one point as he gave his statement Wednesday, George was overcome with emotion. As he tried to collect himself, his wife stepped to his side and put her hand on his back. When the Oakville fire chief handed him a Kleenex, George quipped that as a pastor “that’s my job.”

Later, George said this has been a traumatic experience for him and his family and that they’re praying for the gunshot victim as well as the gunman’s family.

George explained that he acted Sunday in accordance with his training as an emergency responder, his calling as a pastor and his role as a husband, father and grandfather.

“I carry a firearm for the same reason that I carry a first aid bag, hoping never to have to use them, but always being prepared nonetheless,” George said. On Sunday, he used both.

Washington law allows citizens to use deadly force to defend another person if that person is in “imminent danger or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping … or any other violent crime.” The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office has not yet reviewed the case, but George said it’s his understanding that he’s been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."