SEATTLE -- In a somewhat unprecedented move, Seattle police have released video and audio recordings from Tuesday night's officer-involved fatal shooting on Beacon Hill. Chief Kathleen O'Toole told KING 5 the community deserves that kind of transparency.
"I know people have called for transparency and I think it's important to get as much information out there as we can, as quickly as possible," said Chief O'Toole. "I mean, we never want to jeopardize a criminal case or prejudice anyone in the process, but if we can get information out there quickly, I think the community deserves that."
The first clip released is from the Washington State Patrol during Tuesday night's high-speed chase up Interstate 5. The infrared aerial video shows the pursuit, then the 35-year-old suspect ditching his truck on Beacon Hill and taking off on foot.
WSP troopers, Seattle police officers and police dogs combed the neighborhood, looking for the suspect.
Police said the suspect hid inside a shed at a house and warned approaching officers, "I've got a pistol, too." An audio clip released recorded the officers' encounter with the suspect.
Police said when the suspect refused to step outside the shed, officers saw what appeared to be a handgun he had told them about.
That pistol turned out to be a realistic looking pellet gun, said Seattle police, but officers didn't know that at the time. The suspect pointed the pellet gun at police and an officer opened fire, killing the suspect.
O'Toole hopes greater transparency will build trust in the department. In this particular case, she says the audio and video recordings also show her officers were being threatened, and did exactly what they are trained to do.
"I have no problem holding police officers accountable for inappropriate behavior, which we've also done this week, but I think it's important to show support to those officers who are out there doing a good job as well," she said.
The officer who shot the suspect is a six-year veteran with the Seattle Police Department and was placed on administrative leave, which is standard department procedure.
Police said they don't know yet why the suspect was fleeing from troopers, but say he was wanted on felony and misdemeanor warrants for failing to appear in court for forgery and drug charges.
A woman who was in the suspect's truck during the police chase was taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries. Police say she is not considered a suspect in the case and was later released from the hospital.
The video and audio records were released on The Seattle Police Blotter.