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Lakewood Man Pleads Guilty to Robbery, Burglary, & Assault Charges
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Lakewood Man Pleads Guilty to Robbery, Burglary, & Assault Charges

‚ÄčOlympia, WA -- On September 21, 2022, a Lakewood man was sentenced to 228 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to eight felony offenses and one misdemeanor offense that were committed on April 22, 2022, along with a  felony offense that was committed on November 3, 2021.

In the early afternoon of April 22, 2022, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office responded to an armed robbery at Buddies Deli and Grocery. Responding Deputies learned that the suspect, later identified as Gata Leilua, fled the scene. After reviewing surveillance footage, deputies learned that Leilua fled in a green Subaru and obtained a description of Leilua. Within an hour of the armed robbery deputies located the vehicle at a gas station. When deputies approached the Subaru, Leilua sped off and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, Leilua drove in an erratic manner exceeding the speed limit and driving in the oncoming lane to pass traffic. The pursuit ended when Leilua entered a residential area and drove through a basketball hoop and fence before the vehicle hit a support beam for the backside balcony of the home and then into the fence.

Leilua fled from the vehicle, over the fence into the parking lot of Olympic View Elementary ignoring commands from law enforcement. In the parking lot, Leilua unsuccessfully attempted to take two occupied vehicles before firing three shots at a fleeing vehicle. Leilua then fled on foot across the street to a residence where he held the homeowner at gunpoint demanding the keys to the homeowner's vehicle.

Law enforcement again pursued the vehicle, which was driven in an erratic manner at a high rate of speed, into Pierce County where deputies lost sight of the vehicle. With the assistance of the Tacoma Police Department the vehicle and Leilua were located later that evening.

As a result of his conduct, Leilua plead guilty and was sentenced for the following crimes: Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, Robbery in the Second Degree while armed with a firearm, Assault in the Second Degree, Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, Burglary in the First Degree while armed with a firearm, Assault in the Second Degree while armed with a deadly weapon, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Attempting to Elude a Pursuing Police Vehicle with a Special Allegation of Endangerment. 

State v. Gata Leilua_9-27-22.pdf