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Jun 23, 1:58 AM EDT

Police probe whether drug dealing led to death of 3 people


AP Photo
AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

LACEY, Wash. (AP) -- Investigators are trying to determine if drug dealing played a role in a shooting that killed three people and wounded another in Washington state, authorities said.

The investigators found half a pound of methamphetamine, heroin, thousands of dollars in cash and about half a dozen firearms in a travel trailer where two men and a woman were found dead on Wednesday, Thurston County Chief Deputy Dave Pearsall said.

They don't believe any of the weapons found were involved in the shooting, Pearsall said.

"We've developed information that these folks inside this trailer, two of them lived there, and it was a place that drugs were being dealt out of," he said.

Pearsall said that they're not yet calling it a drug-related crime, but noted "this is a known area for some narcotics being sold."

A 911 call was received at 5:17 a.m. Wednesday from a 30-year-old man from Olympia who said that he had been shot, his friends were dead and that he didn't know where he was, Pearsall said.

Dispatch was able to use the caller's cellphone to find his general location - on a property on the east side of Lacey, just north of the state capital of Olympia. "We found him collapsed on the driveway," Pearsall said.

The man had a gunshot wound to the chest and was transported to the hospital, where he was in stable condition after undergoing surgery, Pearsall said.

The three people found dead in the trailer were a 31-year-old woman, a 28-year-old Olympia man and a 36-year-old Elma man, and they all appeared to have died from gunshot wounds, he said. Their names have not yet been released.

Pearsall said there was no sign of a struggle in the trailer, and that the two men were both shot in the head and the woman was shot in the back.

Investigators have talked with the man who survived the shooting, but Pearsall said he's still not coherent following surgery. He hasn't been ruled out as a suspect at this time, but he is not currently a suspect, Pearsall said.

"The suspect is still at large, we don't know who the suspect is at this time," he said, noting that the person "could be armed with the weapon that was used to kill these people."

Investigators at the scene were observed going in and out of the trailer and walking around the property. Authorities are working on search warrants to follow up on leads as they work to establish a suspect, Pearsall said.

"We're doing everything we can to follow up on some leads," he said.

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