Seattle council members demand answers about Columbia City shooting

Seattle council members demand answers about Columbia City shooting

Credit: KING 5 News

Seattle council members demand answers about Columbia City shooting

Print
Email
|

by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 8 at 2:40 PM

SEATTLE -- Two Seattle council members are blasting the City of Bellevue, and demanding answers about a deadly officer-involved shooting last month.

Sally Clark and Bruce Harrell called the deadly shooting an "action that went terribly wrong."

It was March 22nd when a Bellevue Police Department SWAT team tried to serve a warrant on 43rd Avenue South, in Seattle.

When they arrived on the scene, Bellevue Police say one of the armed robbery suspects they were looking for was sitting in his car on the street. They say he backed into another vehicle, and officers feared he'd try to run them over next.

According to Bellevue police, when they arrived on the scene a man in a gold Mercedes in the driveway backed up in an attempt to get away, hitting a truck. Officers then told him to stop, but he put the car into drive and hit the gas.

Officers shot at the car, hitting the suspect, who did not survive.

"I don't necessarily fault them for going in with the SWAT team," said Clark.  "No one is doubting this is someone who is alleged to have carried out violent crime, but aren't there ways to apprehend that person without loss of life, and to try to plan as best as possibly to avoid that kind of outcome."

Clark's comments on Friday came as a huge relief to residents of the Columbia City neighborhood where the shooting took place.

Many of them were woken up that morning to the sound of gunfire, and huddled inside their homes for hours, as it all played out.

"In the minutes following the initial shooting, there were a lot of concussion grenades that went off, and they were really loud, there was a total of three that I remember," said resident Guy Davis.

He lives with his wife and three young children, in a home just a few dozen yards from where the shooting took place.

Davis and his neighbors question how Bellevue Police handled the whole thing.  He says lives were put in danger because of their rash decisions.

He also says there's no way the suspect could have injured officers with his vehicle.

"When you're 12 strong and you're on a dead end street and there's a SWAT tank blocking the only exit, if the individual moves his car in any way shape or form, I don't think that's justifiable use of deadly force," he said.

Clark says she and Harrell decided to weigh in on the situation after fielding multiple calls and emails from concerned citizens. They want answers about exactly what happened that night, and say the neighborhood deserves an explanation as well.

"There's a strong concern that there wasn't the best planning and that perhaps Bellevue didn't understand the community and the layout they were walking into," she said.

The results of a Seattle Police investigation into the shooting are expected in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Bellevue Police Chief says the man killed was a serious and violent offender, and her officers feared for their lives.

All three officers, who had been placed on administrative leave, are due to return to work this weekend.

Print
Email
|