SEATTLE - King County Executive Dow Constantine on Monday ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of a homeless man by a Seattle police cfficer.
John T. Williams, a well-known Native American woodcarver, was shot and killed Aug. 30 at the intersection of Boren Avenue and Howell Street in downtown Seattle. The King County Medical Examiner says Williams was shot in the side four times and was not facing the officer.
Seattle police had previously said that Officer Ian Birk fired four rounds from a distance of nine to 10 feet after warning Williams to drop a 3-inch knife he was carrying. Police also initially said Williams had moved toward the officer before he was shot.
An inquest is a fact-finding hearing before a six-member jury. Inquests are often called after any death involving a law enforcement officer.