The man who fatally shot a Pierce County, Wash., sheriff’s deputy was a convicted felon, wanted for bail jumping and failing to appear in court earlier this month, rekindling the debate over whether gun control laws failed to prevent him from being armed.
Jeremy Darryl Dayton, 40, was killed in a shootout in the Spanaway community south of Tacoma. He fatally wounded Deputy Dominique “Dom” Calata March 15 in an exchange of gunfire that also left Sheriff’s Sgt. Rich Scaniffe seriously wounded.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Dayton “was convicted of his first crime at age 14.”
“Since then,” the newspaper said, “he’s been in and out of prison serving time for selling crack cocaine, breaking his wife’s jaw and beating and robbing a man. He most recently was wanted for jumping bail on a $200,000 bond and failing to appear for a March 7 trial where he was charged with second-degree assault.”
Under Washington’s “Three Strikes” law—passed by voter initiative in the mid-1990s—“he could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole,” the News Tribune reported.
Still, his estranged wife, Stacy, described him as “a good man at one time” to the newspaper. He was a construction worker, and he reportedly helped raise her children from a previous relationship as if they were his own, the story said.
His mother, brother and friends had positive things to say.
Dayton “served about five years in prison after being convicted of second-degree assault” on his wife in January 2017, the story noted.
He was also convicted of second-degree robbery in 2000, and drug and weapons violations in 2006, the News Tribune reported. He also aparently had another unlawful firearm possession violation.
All of this raises alarms with gun rights activists who point to such cases as examples of gun control law failures, not only in Washington, but around the country.
The Seattle Police Blotter reported earlier in the week that police had arrested a man for a road rage incident in which the suspect pulled a gun on another motorist. When officers went to the suspect’s home, they learned he was a convicted felon who couldn’t have a gun, which officers recovered.
Stories about armed convicted felons may be found all over the Internet. Liberty Park Press checked a popular search engine and found dozens of stories including these:
Wink News reported an armed felon from Georgia faces several charges involving a minor, and his possession of a firearm.
Police in Glendale, Calif., collared a convicted felon who not only had a loaded handgun in his possession but illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
In Illinois, police a convicted felon who was armed with a .40-caliber Glock pistol.
According to KING5 News in Seattle, the local NBC affiliate, the South (Puget) Sound Gang Task Force was attempting to serve a warrant for second-degree assault on Dayton when the Spanaway shootout occurred.
Calata, 35, was a 6 ½-year veteran of the sheriff’s department. He had also served in the military with tours overseas, and he had served with the National Guard for the past seven years. His final selfless act was as an organ donor, so that others might live. Calata leaves a wife and 4-year-old son.