King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into an Auburn Police officer’s fatal shooting of Isaiah Obet on June 10.
Police say officer Jeff Nelson shot Obet after the 25-year-old man entered a home armed with a knife and later tried to carjack an occupied vehicle.
Obet died of multiple gunshot wounds at the scene at 21st and D streets Southeast.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office recommended the inquest after reviewing the investigation.
An Auburn Police statement said the suspect, armed with a knife, “entered two different occupied residences before fleeing and attempting the armed carjacking,” of an occupied vehicle.
Police say one of the private homes Obet entered was in the 400 block of 23rd Street Southeast, and the other was in the 400 block of 22nd Street Southeast.
According to the police statement, just before 12:30 p.m. on June 10, Auburn Police “Responded to the 400 block of 23rd Street Southeast for a report of an armed male suspect entering an occupied residence. The suspect fled the residence on foot as officers arrived in the area. An Auburn officer responding to the scene located the suspect in the intersection of 21st and D Street Southeast, at which point the suspect attempted to force his way into an occupied vehicle.”
Nelson, who has been on the force since 2008, “engaged the suspect and fired his service weapon, striking the suspect,” according to the statement.
Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing executive order, inquests are convened to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while performing his or her duty.
Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.
The order signed by the executive requests that King County District Court Presiding Judge Donna Tucker assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.
Under the King County Code, the ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive.