Sandernistas, a Facebook group which calls itself an "action, organizing, and strategizing group around the advance of Bernie's platform and progressive and socialist policy" contains a post from Micah Crown-Hunt the question, "How do we feel about Willem Van Spronsen, the man who died attacking the ICE facility today?"
In a statement, the Tacoma Police Department said the four police officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in such cases, and an investigation into the incident was underway.
"This could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze", Shawn Fallah, who heads the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, said in a statement. "I know he went down there knowing he was going to die".
She said another rally was planned for later Saturday, but it would have to be held in a different area because of the investigation into the shooting.
No law enforcement officers were injured and only a auto was set on fire.
Four officers arrived at the scene and called to the man, who was also wearing satchel and carrying flares, before reporting "shots fired", police said.
In 2018 he was reportedly among ten people to be taken in by police after occupying the perimeter of the site - with the then 68-year-old arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault for jumping on the back of an officer as he attempted to apprehend another activist. After handcuffing him, police found that he had a collapsible baton and folding knife in his pocket.
Van Spronsen was allegedly throwing incendiary devices at cars and buildings, tried to explode a propane tank on the site and exchanged gunfire with police. The Trump administration has said it will target about 2,000 families for deportation, focusing on as many as 10 cities.
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"Antifascist" Beth Foster tweeted, "As far we know, Willem Van Spronsen is the first American killed attempting to liberate an American gestapo camp".
He pleaded guilty to obstructing a law enforcement officer, court records show. He also wrote what she referred to as a manifesto, which she declined to discuss in detail, the Times reported.
She said that she and other friends of Van Spronsen got letters in the mail "just saying goodbye".
He had previously been convicted of obstructing a police officer after an altercation during a protest outside the facility previous year, according to local media reports.
The officers involved, who were not injured, retreated, and "medical aid was staged" nearby, according to police.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office identified the man killed at the Northwest Detention Center as Willem Van Spronsen, 69, of Vashon Island.
Visitation will resume when roads are reopened, police said.
The planned raids come me at a time of intense scrutiny surrounding ICE and the treatment of migrants at detention centers.