An investigation has cleared a Lakewood police officer in the shooting death of 30-year-old Leonard Benjamin Thomas in May.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said it was a justifiable homicide under state law.

Officer Markert, an expert marksman, did what was necessary to protect a child, Lindquist said.

Fife Police responded to Thomas' home on May 23 after his mother reported he had assaulted her. His mother added that he was intoxicated and she was worried for the safety of her 4-year-old grandson who was in the house.

Police said Thomas had a history of violence and had previously threatened officers. That evening, Thomas acted erratically and even dangled the boy out of a second story window.

Because of Thomas' behavior and concern for the boy's safety, police made the decision that Thomas could not pull the boy back into the house if they came out again.

The next time Thomas stepped out of the house with the boy, he was shot in the pelvis by Officer Markert, who was across the street. Police pulled the boy to safety.

Medical aid responded for Thomas, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark said Thomas died of injuries from a single gunshot wound to his pelvis and was intoxicated.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office, Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, Fife Police Department, and Cooperative Cities Metro Crime Response Unit all conducted independent and concurrent investigations into the incident.

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