Several Kitsap County deputies gathered under a tree in a Bremerton lot where a man – shouting and dressed only in underwear – refused to come down.
"I heard him say very loudly: 'I'm unarmed!'" said witness Kathy Norton.
Kathy and Tom Norton heard a shot and saw a female deputy pointing something at the man who was less than 10 feet up the tree.
"She dropped and was hurt. You could see she was scared. It wasn't like it was on purpose," said Kathy.
"As soon as the shot was done she walked over there and got on one knee. She was distraught," said Tom.
Tasers are often worn on the same leg as an officer's handgun, and the Sheriff's Department says the 5-year veteran deputy mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of the taser.
"It doesn't seem that the deputy was under immediate pressure to draw and fire right away. That will come out in the investigation. The primary deputy called for a second taser application. The deputy pulled out what she thought was a taser and fired a shot," said Deputy Scott Wilson, Kitsap County Sheriff's Department.
The deputy carried an older model M-26 taser with a similar grip and feel of her handgun.
The sheriff's department is phasing in new X-26 models, which are smaller and have a noticeably different feel than a handgun.
The man who took the unintended bullet was airlifted to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center with what sheriff's deputies say is a non-life-threatening wound to his leg.
The man has not yet been identified.
The Washington State Patrol is handling the investigation.