Kent police fatally shoot man after standoff at water tower

While following up on an early-morning, domestic-violence assault July 7, Kent Police Officers located the suspect, a 42-year-old Kent man, atop a City water tower at about noon.

When contacted, the man made suicidal and homicidal threats to police negotiators, then reportedly feigned surrender as he attempted to draw an apparent weapon from his pocket. Officers fatally shot the man, believing there was a threat to themselves as well as to an adjacent day-care facility.

The standoff took place in the 23800 block of 98th Avenue South. Kent officers had spent much of the morning searching for the man, suspected of causing serious facial injuries to a woman during the early morning fight. Police located him at the victim’s residence later in the morning, though he fled on foot and was not located.

At about noon, a witness called to say the suspect had returned home again but was now leaving in a car.Police swarmed the area and quickly located the vehicle. As officers approached, the driver reportedly used his car to flee the area at a high rate of speed. Officers refrained from chasing the car due to the high volume of traffic in the area. Moments later the car was located at a nearby intersection, disabled from a collision. Officers again flooded the area, locating the man as he ran toward the water tower. Pursuing Officers observed him clutching a shiny object thought to be a gun, in his hand before he pushed it into his pocket while climbing the tower.

An adjoining daycare facility was placed in lockdown as Kent Police Crisis Negotiators quickly started a dialogue with the man. He made repeated statements that he wanted to die and threatened to jump from the tower. He also told the negotiators that he was armed and would shoot anyone who tried to approach or stop him. Negotiators also learned that he had made suicidal threats to his assault victim a day earlier. After two hours of talking, negotiators were able to elicit a promise of peaceable surrender from the suspect. He climbed down from the tower, but upon reaching the ground, again threatened the officers waiting for him. He quickly reached into the same pants pocket, where it was believed he had earlier concealed a weapon. Officers shot him.

As is customary in these cases, the involved police officers have been placed on administrative leave. The Renton Police Department is conducting this investigation, consistent with a mutual aid agreement covering these types of events.

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