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Two SWAT sheriff’s deputies shot while on duty are fathers known for public service

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Dominique Calata (left), Rich Scaniffe (right) – Source : YouTube


Stacia Glenn

The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies who were shot serving a warrant Tuesday are both fathers who have dedicated their lives to public service.

More than 150 law enforcement officers gathered at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where the deputies were taken after exchanging gunfire with a convicted felon outside a mobile home in Spanaway. Officers from other agencies patrolled county roads so deputies could be with their injured colleagues.

“These are guys who have a heart for public service,” Sheriff Ed Troyer said. “It’s a tragedy all the way around.”

One deputy underwent surgery Tuesday and is expected to survive. He remains in serious condition and will be kept hospitalized for up to a week. The other deputy is gravely injured, and doctors have warned his loved ones to prepare for the worst.

The gravely injured deputy is Dominique “Dom” Calata, 35, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department for 6-1/2 years. He is assigned to the Edgewood detachment. Before that, Calata served five years in the U.S. Army and is currently in the National Guard. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, is married and has a 4-year-old son.

The seriously injured deputy is Rich Scaniffe, 45, who has been with the department for 21 years. He is a patrol sergeant assigned to the Mountain detachment and commander of the SWAT team. Scaniffe is married and has a daughter in elementary school, officials said.

The deputies are part of the sheriff’s SWAT team, which was requested by the South Sound Gang Task Force to help serve a warrant to a 40-year-old man wanted for second-degree assault. The man, who police said has prior felony convictions, was believed to be a candidate for the three strikes law. That means he would have faced life in prison if convicted of another crime.

“We knew he was dangerous” and that’s why SWAT handled the operation, Troyer said.

Details about what led up to the shooting have not been released. The Pierce County Force Investigation Team is in charge of the investigation. A Tacoma police spokeswoman said shots were exchanged between the SWAT team and suspect, who was killed in the shootout.

He has not been publicly identified.

Calata is a “big-hearted and a great guy who got in the job for the right reasons,” Troyer said. “Someone who always stepped up.”

This is the first time someone in the department has been shot since Troyer became sheriff, but he estimated a dozen or so local law enforcement officers have been shot during his law enforcement career.

Nine Pierce County sheriff’s deputies have been killed in the line duty, according to department records. Four of those were shootings.

“I was hoping and praying this would not happen again but here we are,” Troyer said.

This story was originally published March 15, 2022 5:07 PM.

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