A King County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed an 18-year-old Auburn man last week in the Kent Station parking garage.
The deputy, whom the Sheriff’s Office identified Monday as Leland Adams, approached a reported stolen car occupied by two people on the first level of the garage at about 8:42 a.m. July 26. As the driver allegedly reached for a rifle, the deputy shot the suspect, said King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Abbott.
The passenger in the car and another man associated with the car but not inside of it, each ran but were taken into custody a short while later by Kent Police in the Kent Station area.
Jesus Hernandez-Murillo died from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The driver had an AR-15 rifle, Abbott said in a media release. Deputies recovered the rifle from the car.
“He started to struggle with the deputy inside and then outside of the vehicle,” Abbott said as the deputy tried to take the driver into custody. “The deputy fired a single shot at the suspect, striking him once.”
KCSO Major Crimes detectives interviewed two witnesses, who described an intense struggle between Deputy Adams and the armed suspect. Both witnesses independently characterized the struggle as “life threatening,” detectives said. After the incident, it was determined the rifle was loaded.
Paramedics transported Hernandez-Murillo to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died, Abbott said.
The 22-year-old passenger and 18-year-old man who also ran were each arrested for investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle. As of Monday, the Sheriff’s Office had not released their names. Both men are from Kent, Abbott said.
During a routine check of vehicles in the garage – used by Sound Transit Sounder train commuters – Adams saw an occupied four-door Honda Civic and ran a license plate check. The report showed the car to be stolen, Abbott said. Adams, who works for Sound Transit Police, which contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office, is a 28-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. He remains on paid administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting.
“As he approached to take custody, the driver reached for a rifle and the deputy fired at least one shot, striking the driver,” Abbott said during a press conference outside the garage.
Abbott said reported stolen vehicles are entered into a data base that deputies can access through their laptop computers or get information from dispatchers.
“What deputies do is check handicap spots and parking spots,” Abbott said. “I don’t know if the car caught his attention because it was occupied, but we run plates all day long. He ran this one, and it came back stolen.”
Deputy Adams was working alone. At least 20 or more officers responded from several police agencies after the shooting. Abbott said he didn’t know if the deputy gave any commands to the driver before firing his gun.
Abbott said one other man was inside the Honda, but two people ended up running away after the driver had been shot. He wasn’t sure where the third man ran from.
Witnesses near the garage helped police track down the fleeing suspects, Abbott said.