Man assaulted Josh Harris with SUV before the political candidate shot him, charges say

A man who was shot in the head when a Pierce County Council candidate fired upon the stolen vehicle he was driving Monday has been charged with assault, court documents filed Thursday show.

Republican Josh Harris, 47, told The News Tribune he fired his gun in self-defense as Scott R. Stacy, 40, drove a vehicle toward him at high speeds outside a homeless encampment near Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium.

Stacy, 40, remained hospitalized Thursday evening with non-life-threatening injuries and faces a charge of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon for driving at Harris, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Stacy also faces a second-degree burglary charge from a March arrest where he was released on his own recognizance.

Josh Harris
Josh Harris

Superior Court charging documents give the following account of the alleged assault and shooting:

Police responded to a Boy Scouts of America office parking lot off South 19th Street just before 4:30 p.m. Monday and talked with Josh Harris about a threat he reported to law enforcement.

Harris told officers he visited the homeless encampment about a week earlier and located a number of stolen items. He returned Monday with three other people to recover the property and said a woman living in the wooded area told him that Stacy threatened his family.

Multiple Tacoma police officers entered the encampment. Shortly thereafter, Harris said, he heard a loud bang that might have been a gunshot. Harris told The News Tribune on Thursday he heard a bang but thought it was Stacy’s vehicle hitting an object.

Harris said he then heard officers yelling and a vehicle driving up a trail toward him at a high rate of speed. He told police he thought he saw a pistol in the driver’s left hand resting on the side mirror, according to charging papers. Harris did not mention that detail in statements to The News Tribune on Thursday morning.

With the vehicle driving directly at him, Harris said, he fired multiple shots in fear of his safety because he had nowhere to run. The vehicle then stopped and drove the other direction toward police, Harris said.

Court documents do not mention officers seeing Stacy armed and note collecting only Harris’ gun as evidence.

Witnesses at the scene told The News Tribune on Thursday they heard several shots before vehicle Stacy was driving crashed into a cement barrier that was blocking the trail in front of Harris.

Police later found the vehicle, which had been reported stolen, about a mile southeast of Cheney Stadium. The vehicle had multiple bullet holes and blood inside.

Police arrested Stacy early Tuesday evening when a 911 caller reported he’d returned to the homeless encampment and was attempting to treat gunshot injuries to his face. Firefighters transported him to the hospital with an injury to his left hand and severe head wound from gunshots.

Harris previously made headlines for paying $300,000 to bail out three Tacoma police officers involved in the death of Manuel Ellis.

Harris is running on a law and order platform but has a criminal record of his own. He regained the right to own a firearm in 2013 following a felony theft conviction in 2003 stemming from altered checks for maintenance work he performed.

Stacy, who has multiple felony convictions in Pierce County, was known as a caretaker among people living at the encampment near Cheney Stadium, said Robin, who lives at the camp. She asked to withhold her last name because some people in her community do not know she is homeless.

Robin said Stacy always makes sure others have blankets and food. She spoke to him briefly over the phone from the hospital, she said.

The first thing he asked was, “ ‘How are my people?’” she said.

Robin said she was sure Stacy was not trying to injure anyone with the vehicle he was driving and was only attempting to flee the area.

She said Stacy was upset that Harris had taken items from the encampment that weren’t stolen and told her, “I’m tired of this guy messing with me.” Harris had interacted with Stacy at least twice prior to Monday, she said.

Prosecutors requested a bench warrant to arrest Stacy immediately upon his discharge from the hospital, according to court documents.

The prosecutor’s office said the investigation of Harris firing his gun remains ongoing. A spokesperson said investigators will review police body-worn camera footage and any other video evidence available.