Bothell death is year’s sixth in police shootings

  • Thu Dec 31st, 2009 9:46pm
  • News

By Scott North and Oscar Halpert Herald Writers

BOTHELL — A man was fatally shot by a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy early Thursday, triggering another investigation into use of force by local police.

The shooting marked the sixth time in 2009 that a police call in the county ended in a suspect’s death.

Thursday’s shooting came while the deputy was investigating a 911 call reporting a domestic assault involving a weapon, officials said.

Similar violence summoned local police in half of the fatal shootings here in 2009.

Sheriff’s deputies last year handled more than 249,000 incidents, everything from reports of loud parties to traffic stops to murders, sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said. In December alone there were more than 18,000 incidents, many of them domestic violence disturbances.

“We go to domestic violence calls every day — every day and every night,” Hover said.

The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team was still in the early stages of its investigation of Thursday’s shooting and released few details. The special group of homicide detectives investigates police use of deadly force in the county.

Thursday’s incident unfolded just after 1:15 a.m. at the Archstone Apartments, in the 20200 block of Bothell-Everett Highway, said Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz, a spokesman for the detective team.

The shots rang out after the deputy wound up in some sort of confrontation outside building 14. The age and identity of the man who was shot was not immediately released.

Goetz described him as the boyfriend of a pregnant woman who lives in the apartment where police were called.

The boyfriend reportedly stabbed the woman’s father in the face with a screwdriver, causing a puncture wound, Goetz said.

When the deputy arrived, the boyfriend, the wounded father and another man were outside in the apartment building’s parking lot.

The third man told detectives he “felt threatened by the suspect and that his life was in danger,” Goetz said.

The gunfire apparently soon erupted. The boyfriend was dead when aid crews arrived. A screwdriver was found near his body and another was recovered near the apartment, Goetz said.

Chris Sikel, 27, who also lives in the apartment complex, heard what he thought were fireworks.

“What I heard was four or five pops. That’s when Martini, my dog, ran into the closest because she’s scared of fireworks,” Sikel said. Martini is a pit bull.

Investigators on Thursday morning closed a half-block section of the parking lot while they gathered evidence. The screwdriver stabbing reportedly happened inside the apartment. Detectives on Thursday seemed to be focusing much of their attention in the parking lot between apartments and several parking garages. More than a dozen bright yellow evidence markers studded the asphalt.

Greg Shelton, 50, lives close to the incident and was away at work at the time.

“It’s always quiet around here,” he said. “I’ve been here 13 months and I could probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve had cops over here and I’d still have fingers left.”

The deputy was not injured. He is in his mid-30s and has been with the sheriff’s office for more than two years.

He was placed on administrative leave, as is standard practice in police involved shootings.

The woman and her father were taken to a hospital by aid car. The father was being treated for a puncture wound to the face, a wound that is not believed to be life threatening. The woman was transported as a precaution.

Police shootings in Snohomish County were the focus of intense scrutiny in 2009.

Everett police officer Troy Meade was charged with first-degree manslaughter after he fatally shot a Stanwood man June 10 during a drunken driving stop in a restaurant parking lot. The investigation showed Niles Meservey, 51, was shot multiple times as he sat at the wheel of his Corvette.

Meade has said he shot in self defense. Meservey’s family has filed a $15 million damage claim against the city of Everett.

A $5 million damage claim has been filed by the family of Daniel Wasilchen, 44. He was shot at his Verlot home by deputies called after a reported dispute with a weed-abatement official. Police say he had a handgun.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.