Gun-Wielding Man Fatally Shot By Police
By KOMO Staff & News Services
SEATTLE – An 18-year-old man was fatally shot by police after he allegedly refused to put down his gun and raised it toward officers Tuesday night.
Seattle Police spokesman Rich Pruitt said the man had apparently just been released from a detoxification center and was showing the gun to his friends near the intersection of Broadway East and East John Street.
Someone called 911 about 8:30 p.m. to report seeing the man with a gun in the street. Pruitt said when officers arrived, the man had the gun in his waistband and refused the officers’ orders to put the weapon down.
When the man pulled the gun out of his pants and raised it toward police, two officers shot the man, Pruitt said. The man died at the scene and has not been identified.
Matt Stevens said he’d met the man on the corner of the intersection and was trying to talk him out of doing anything foolish.
"He was pretty depressed, pretty angry and depressed and said he didn’t have anything to live for," Stevens said. "They told him to disarm and he reached for his weapon and so they shot him."
Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said the man had been involved in two altercations on Broadway before officers arrived.
"The officers were heard by witnesses to say ‘Freeze! Drop the weapon, Drop the weapon!’ at which time we believe the suspect fired at the officers and the officers returned fire, hitting him we believe twice," Kimerer said.
Police later said Wednesday that further investigation showed that the man did not fire at officers first, but the department says the shooting was justified. Photos show that one of the officer’s bullets went directly into a chamber of the suspect’s gun, pushing out a bullet. Police say the only way that could have happened is if the suspect’s loaded gun was pointed at police.
"The fact that the individual pointed the weapon at the officers is … pretty well ascertained at this point," Kimerer said, "because we have evidence that indicates one of the officers’ rounds actually hit the suspect’s weapon."
Friends of the victim at the scene were left distraught. They said the man had a history of drug problems and they thought he was trying to get his life back together.
A woman who did not give her name but described herself as a friend of the victim was inconsolable as detectives continued to search the shooting scene nearby.
"Could any of you could you possibly imagine having to tell your friends that your little brother is dead?" she yelled through tears. "All he wanted was a chance in life so he wouldn’t have to be killed like he is right now."
No information about the two officers involved in the shooting was released. Both will be put on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure when an officer fires a weapon in the line of duty.