SPD officers involved in Eastlake shooting under criminal investigation

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

Seattle police have opened an investigation into an officer-involved shooting in the Eastlake neighborhood Sunday. 

A source within the department close to the investigation says both officers are under criminal investigation. The department has taken the unusual step of assigning a detective and sergeant to investigate the actions of the officers. The officers' guns, badges and proxy cards, which give officers access to the department, were taken away as the investigation is underway. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, Interim Office of Professional Accountability Director Andrew Myerberg has ordered an Investigations review into this officer involved shooting,” Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, Seattle Police Department's public affairs director, said in a statement Wednesday. 

SPD released dramatic car and body cam video Tuesday from the shooting.

The incident happened near Yale Avenue East and East Boston Street late Sunday night.

Officers were dispatched to the area for reports of "suspicious activity possibly involving a weapon."

When multiple responding officers approached the scene, the video shows the suspects attempting to ram the officers with a black Subaru Impreza. Officers fired multiple shots at the oncoming vehicle, possibly hitting the car. 

Ed Baker, a forensic video expert and former law enforcement officer, looked for crucial details in the video, which were hard to see.

"What you can't see because of the reflectivity and the angles of the body worn cameras what's occurring inside the car," he said.

He gave examples like possible weapons inside the car or even muzzle flashes that could be coming from the vehicle. He said those details may have been lost in nighttime video that was likely compressed uploading it to Youtube.

According to department policy, "firearms shall not be disharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatning the officer ...by means other than vehicle."

But did the officers commit a crime in firing at the fleeing car?

Guild President Kevin Stuckey said both officers who fired their weapons have yet to be interviewed by the department.
 
He believes while questions may come up about violating department policy, their actions do not rise to the level of a crime.
 
"We don't know what those officers saw," Stuckey said. "They haven't spoken as of yet, but eventually we'll get around to it. They'll be able to express what they saw, how they felt, and why they took the actions that they did."

The suspects fled in the Impreza, which was later found in North Seattle. A white Honda which police believe was stolen from the same location was later recovered in Everett. 

Police say there was no indication of any serious injuries of any of the car's occupants; police continue to work to locate the car's occupants for interviews.

No officers were injured.

If you have any information about this case, please call the department’s Violent Crimes tip line at (206) 233-5000.

WARNING: Video may contain profanity or strong language

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