A 15-year-old boy was shot in the foot during the incident. The guards reported that the teen attempted to run one of them down with his mom's Chrysler 300. One of the guards was struck by the vehicle. Both fired at the car.
The incident happened around 7 a.m. Feb. 8 in the parking lot at the Pacific Regional Laboratory Northwest office. The Food and Drug Administration site is used to test food products for pesticides and other substances.
Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe concluded that the guards were legally justified in firing their weapons.
"When a rapidly moving car is being driven at someone they can't be faulted for taking action to protect themselves or each other," Roe wrote in Dec. 30 letter to detectives who investigated the shooting.
The letter was released to The Herald under state public records law.
Prosecutors continue to review the case against the teen. He was arrested after being treated for the gunshot wound.
At the time of the shooting, the boy was a freshman at the Northshore School District's Secondary Academy for Success, an alternative school. The campus shares a driveway with the district's maintenance and operations building. The FDA building is a few hundred yards away from the school.
A security guard reported seeing the car idling in the parking lot. He approached the car and saw the teen inside. There also were piles of boxes inside. The guard was suspicious of the vehicle and asked the teen to step out of the car.
The boy complied but ran after the guard asked him for some identification, Roe wrote. The guard chased after the boy, but he was able to escape. The teen ran back to the car a short time later. Two guards were unable to reach him before he got inside the car.
The guards drew their weapons and ordered the teen out of the car. He reportedly started the engine and rapidly backed out of the parking space, toward one of the guards. The guard was struck by the vehicle. The impact tore off the driver's side mirror. The guard fired at the car, hitting it numerous times. The second guard also fired at the Chrysler.
The car continued backward until it struck a parked car. The teen reportedly sped forward toward the first guard, who fired again.
A surveillance camera captured most of the incident.
The teen reportedly drove off and hit another vehicle along Highway 527. The license plate number led Bothell police to a home where the teen was found with a gunshot wound to the foot and minor facial wounds. He was taken to an area hospital.
"It is not clear whether the young man was trying to hit the guards, or just trying to get away," Roe wrote. "Whether the juvenile was trying to hit them, or just trying to get away, they would be just as dead if run over."
The teen reportedly didn't have a driver's license or his mom's permission to drive the car.
The shooting was investigated by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. SMART is a special cadre of detectives from local police agencies who investigate police shootings and similar incidents.
The security officers in this case are contract employees of the Federal Protective Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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