Four Kent Police officers were placed on paid administrative leave for their role in the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old man June 13 along Pacific Highway South.
Two Kent officers responded at about 4:13 a.m. to the 25200 block of Pacific Highway South to multiple 911 calls about a vehicle stopped on the road and blocking the lanes of travel and that the driver was a possible DUI, according to a media release June 14 from the Valley Independent Investigative Team (VIIT).
Officers approached the vehicle and observed the driver unresponsive inside the vehicle with his foot on the brake pedal and the vehicle still in gear. Fearing for the safety of other motorists, the officers used their patrol vehicles to pin the vehicle from the front and rear to prevent the vehicle from moving if the driver’s foot was removed from the brake pedal.
While the officers were contacting the man, a struggle ensued, according to the media release. During the struggle, an officer stated over the police radio that the man was in possession of a gun.
Moments later, an officer radioed that shots were fired. The officers immediately removed the driver from the vehicle, made sure the scene was safe, and rendered medical aid to the man until relieved by fire and medic personnel. Despite the efforts of the first responders, the driver was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Of the officers involved, one sustained minor lacerations during the struggle with the driver, the others were not injured.
A handgun was recovered from the interior of the vehicle.
As of Tuesday, June 14, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office had not yet released the man’s name.
VIIT is a multi-agency team is comprised of state certified investigators from seven south King County police departments (Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Port of Seattle, and Tukwila). As this incident involved the Kent Police Department, all Kent staff have been excluded from the investigation.
The Federal Way Police Department is the lead investigating agency.