Sedro-Woolley officer shoots, kills gun wielding driver


by ELISA HAHN and ROB PIERCY / KING 5 News and Associated Press

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Posted on January 19, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 20 at 12:01 PM

Officer-involved shooting

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SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. – A police officer shot and killed a man after the suspect pulled a gun on him Tuesday afternoon following a traffic stop and chase.

The Sedro-Woolley Police Department says it started at about 4:20 p.m. when an officer spotted a red Chevy Blazer driving erratically with front end damage to the vehicle.

"He stopped the vehicle and as he approached, the officer reported the driver pulled a gun. The officer went back to his vehicle and the suspect vehicle sped off," said Sedro-Woolley Police Chief Doug Wood.

The officer pursued the Blazer westbound on Highway 20. Suddenly, the suspect, a 57-year-old Mount Vernon man, pulled over. He got out of his truck and started walking toward the officer. When the suspect went to pull a weapon from his waistband, the officer fired two shots, killing him.

Police say the man who died was in possession of a .45 mm handgun and had a second gun in a holster on his body.

In light of recent tragedies in which six Western Washington law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty since Halloween, there is relief that this Sedro-Woolley officer made it home to his family.

"The officer is shook up, but he's doing fine. He was not injured and he's surrounded by his other officers and his family and everyone is doing well," said Wood.

The 37-year-old officer is a three-year veteran of the department.

Wood says this is the first officer-involved shooting in the department in at least 30 years.

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting. The Washington State Patrol responded as well. Highway 20 was temporarily closed in the area Tuesday evening.