A King County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed an 18-year-old Hispanic man in the Kent Station parking garage at about 8:42 a.m. Thursday, according to a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
The deputy approached a reported stolen car occupied by two people on the first level of the garage, and 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 taking into custody a short while later by Kent Police in the Kent Station area.
The driver had an AR-15 rifle, Abbott said in a media release.
“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.”
Paramedics transported the driver to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died, Abbott said. Abbott said he didn’t know where the suspect was hit by the shot. The name of the man has not been released. Abbott said the man is from Auburn.
The 22-year-old passenger and 18-year-old man who also ran were each arrested for investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle. Their names and hometowns have not been released.
During a routine check of vehicles in the garage – used by Sound Transit train commuters – the deputy saw an occupied four-door Honda Civic and ran a license plate check. The report showed the car to be stolen, Abbott said. The deputy involved in the shooting works for Sound Transit Police, which contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office. He is a 28-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.
“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.
Deputies recovered a rifle from the car.
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.”
The deputy 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 at least one other person was inside the Honda, but two people ended up running away after the driver had been shot. He wasn’t sure if the third person came from inside the car or elsewhere in the garage.
Witnesses near the garage helped police track down the fleeing suspects, Abbott said.
Police secured the parking garage as they investigate the crime scene. Abbott said they hope to be done by the evening commute, but people will be able to get their vehicles out of the garage.
This marked the second death involving an officer in Kent this week. On Sunday, Kent Police Office Diego Moreno died after being struck by a fellow officer chasing a pickup truck that had fled a shooting scene on West Meeker Street. A 16-year-old Kent boy faces a charge of second-degree murder for the death of Moreno, 35, of Auburn.