With almost any other shooting, Kyle Fievez may have been listening to the police scanner and posting updates online, or even driving to the scene to take photos to sell to Seattle-area TV stations.
Fievez, 30, who works on a popular Facebook page that tracks scanner traffic, may have been following every development — the carjacking, the car crash, then the shooting that left one person seriously injured.
But the person shot in the Father’s Day shooting at the Tumwater Walmart was his dad, and instead of covering the story, Kyle Fievez and his family have been in the middle of it.
Rickey Fievez, 48, was shot in his neck and torso in the store’s parking lot. Nearly three months later, he is set to be released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he has been recovering.
The shooter, 44-year-old Tim O. Day of McCleary, was shot and killed by a bystander. Police say Day crashed his car, carjacked a vehicle and then drove to Walmart, where he fired shots into a locked ammunition case, exited the store and met Fievez, sitting in his car in the parking lot.
“He remembers being shot once, and then being shot again. And then he remembers seeing the gun pointed at my mom’s head, and that’s what made him put his foot on the gas and try to get out of there,” said his other son, Tyler Fievez, 27.
Rickey Fievez spent two months in Harborview’s intensive care unit. He still can’t move much on his left side, said Kyle Fievez. On his right side, he can move his arm but can’t grip with his hand.
His recovery has been punctuated with sudden signs of progress. When doctors said most people would start by moving a finger, Fievez picked up his whole arm. He went from spending less than an hour off the breathing machine to eight hours off in the span of a few days. Recently he was able to wiggle his big toe.
But then a week will go by and there will be no change.
“The last few days he’s been really depressed. Pretty much got told this is the state he is going to be in for the rest of his life — considered a quadriplegic, he’ll be lucky if anything else changes,” Kyle Fievez said. As he talked, his phone buzzed with updates from his mom on his dad’s latest surgery.
“But they also said you’ll feel nothing from the chest down, and he’s not taking that into consideration.”
An armed man is dead and two others are injured following an active shooter situation at the Walmart in Tumwater, WA, on Sunday, June 17.
‘We got there right as the cops got there’
The day of the shooting, the family was at home in Tumwater celebrating Father’s Day. Rickey Fievez and the brothers’ mom, Melinda Rhinehart, went to Walmart for a last-minute present.
Then came a phone call from Rhinehart: Fievez had been shot.
The brothers rushed to the store, arriving just as the crime scene tape was going up. They saw Fievez in his car before paramedics had arrived.
“We got there right as the cops got there,” said Tyler Fievez, who brought his children, ages 3 and 6. “I pulled them out (of the car) and they were staring at (his) car, my dad was sitting there lifeless and they started screaming.”
Fievez was airlifted to Harborview and went straight into surgery. When Tyler Fievez finally saw him, he was asleep, covered in tubes and hooked up to various machines.
“I think it was worse seeing him like that,” he said.
The brothers have a complicated relationship with their dad, who left the family when they were young and came back into their lives last year. They had had some contact over the years, but this time he was clean, sober and had his head on straight, Tyler Fievez said.
He had been released from prison, gotten a job, and started coming over every weekend. That was last fall. Then came the shooting.
Despite their history, the brothers said they are committed to helping their dad. Tyler Fievez said he tried to visit him at Harborview every week this summer; photos from a recent visit show Fievez in his wheelchair with his 3-year-old grandson, Aiden, snuggled against his chest.
The family is buying a house in Tenino — using some of the money raised through a GoFundMe page — that Kyle Fievez will renovate to be wheelchair accessible. He plans to move in with his parents and help take care of his dad.
Kyle Fievez said he has gone back and listened to the scanner traffic from the day of the shooting. He said it still hasn’t really sunk in what happened, but for now he is focused on helping his family.
“I haven’t let anything really process yet. I kind of just listened to it like I would normally listen to a scanner, and I know I’m going to break down soon,” he said. “I’ve felt it coming this last week, but I haven’t let it hit yet.”