Friends, family and sympathizers gathered in front of the Sunshine Grocery at 1402 Auburn Way N, on July 12 to honor a fallen son, a brother, a nephew, a friend.
To remember by candlelight Jesse Sarey, 26, who was mortally wounded at that place by an Auburn Police officer on May 31, and died later that night at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Elaine Simon, Sarey’s foster mother, stood with his mother, Kare, at the vigil to decry the shooting, drawing repeated attention to the four seconds that Sarey, whose mother, she said, had fled Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge, lay bleeding on the ground before the second shot.
“The kill shot,” as Simon called it.
“I am angry about what happened to Jesse. I want to make sure this police violence ends, especially to our black and brown brothers and sisters. Jesse became another victim of excessive police brutality, and we are fighting back with ensuring restraint is reinforced in the department,” Simon said.
“The four-second silence will echo until it fades into the wind as all things do. We are here to make sure those four seconds are heard in his ancestral homeland of Cambodia, and that they are heard all throughout King County … We reverberate Jesse’s 4 seconds so that this will never happen again,” Simon said.
According to Auburn Police. Valley Com dispatched officers that night to a report of a disorderly man who was throwing items at vehicles, hitting and kicking walls, creating havoc. Police said they contacted Sarey just before 6 p.m. in front of the grocery, and when an officer tried to arrest him, he resisted, leading to a struggle, and the shooting.
The officer who fired those shots is on administrative leave, standard police procedure. until The Valley Investigation Team, which is composed of members of South King County police agencies, completes its work.
Simon declined to speculate about what happened that evening, leaving such conclusions to the investigation. What haunts her is that Sarey’s death will fade into background noise, become old news, as future hootings follow.
“Jesse will not marry, have a child, or celebrate his 27th birthday. His mom survived Khmer Rouge, and came to this country for a better life. Her life and the lives of her children have proved to be a difficult journey. It is emblematic of our support systems that Jesse’s life was ended like this, having suffered in so many ways for so many years.”
“… Perhaps if the four seconds lasted a little longer. Jesse would be alive today. This case is important. Jesse’s life was important. We are all important and deserve a chance to make changes for the better, Jesse won’t get that second chance. Jesse was number 17 , and we are now at 20 citizens who have died at the hands of police violence this year alone.
“Your tribe is large and I am blessed to be a part of it,” Simon said of Sarey. “Let’s keep Jesse’s name and memory alive and come together as a community and stop tragedies like this from ever happening again to another family.”