Team investigates fatal Auburn police shooting

An Auburn police officer shot and killed Nicholas Ellingson on Dec. 17 when, according to police, Ellingson, who had a warrant out for his arrest, drew a handgun and pointed it at officers.

Since then, the Valley Independent Investigative Team, a multi-agency team composed of investigators from seven South King County Police Departments — Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tukwila and the Port of Seattle — has been the independent investigative team for the incident, conducting follow-up interviews and analyzing collected evidence.

“We remain in contact with the Ellingson family and are working towards completion of the investigation,” the VIIT wrote. “We also remain in contact with appointed community representatives who attended our briefing to the Auburn Police Department command staff. Final reports from the King County Medical Examiner and associated laboratory results have not yet been received.”

Ellingson, 37, lived in Seattle. The officer has not yet been named.

Here is what a VIIT release says happened.

On Dec. 17, Auburn Police Department officers responded to a 911 call in the 300 block of T Street Southeast. When they got there, officers contacted a woman who was associated with a vehicle in the area. While in contact with the woman, a man, Ellingson, who was also associated with the vehicle and known to have an active arrest warrant, returned to the scene.

As officers tried to detain Ellington, he tried to flee on foot, and officers began a brief foot pursuit during which Ellingson displayed what appeared to be a firearm. During the foot pursuit, an Auburn officer fired his duty weapon, striking Ellingson. Auburn PD personnel and Valley Regional Fire Authority personnel rendered emergency medical aid, but Ellingson died on scene.

According to police, officers found a handgun on the ground next to Ellingson.

The involved officer has 5 years of experience with the Auburn Police Department and was uninjured during the incident. Following standard protocol, the involved officer was placed on administrative leave.

Following the incident, members of VIIT established contact with Ellingson’s family, keeping them informed of the progress of the investigation.