EVERETT — A deputy who shot and killed a man last year east of Lynnwood no longer works for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Art Wallin had been on paid administrative leave since October 2018, when he shot and killed Nickolas Peters, 24, of Edmonds, at the end of a pursuit.
The sheriff’s office confirmed Thursday that the deputy had lost his job, but declined to comment further. An attorney representing Wallin did not respond to a phone call or email Friday.
According to the police account of events, Peters did not appear to comply with deputy’s orders after they rammed his pickup off the road the night of Oct. 23, 2018.
Peters’ girlfriend, Britt Jakobsen, later called the orders confusing and conflicting. She was sitting in the passenger seat. They were on their way to her parents’ house in Brier, she said.
In the year since Peters’ death, the shooting has been the subject of a civil lawsuit and an investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, a task force of detectives that reviews cases in which police use deadly force.
Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell declined to press charges against the deputy in July, calling the encounter a “tense, uncertain, rapidly evolving situation.” A jury would be unlikely to convict Wallin, Cornell concluded.
Wallin was on his way to a disturbance call in the 19500 block of Sixth Drive SE, east of Lynnwood, when he attempted to pull over a Ford F-150 pickup leaving the neighborhood. The driver, who turned out to be Peters, sped off and led deputies on a brief but frantic pursuit. Wallin gave chase.
At one point, Wallin appeared to have Peters’ vehicle pinned in, but Peters backed into a retaining wall and sped off. Peters drove west on Filbert, also designated Highway 524, at speeds of more than 100 mph, his truck swerving and running a red light, according to the SMART investigation. Wallin stopped the truck with a PIT maneuver, using his patrol car to strike a back corner of the truck to make it spin out. But Peters regained control and kept going.
“He’s taking off again,” Wallin said on the radio. “He is all over the road. This guy is going to kill someone.”
“We have to take this guy out,” Wallin said seconds later.
A deputy performed another PIT maneuver, causing Peters to spin out off Damson Road, and another patrol car pinned the truck against some bushes.
One deputy jumped on the hood of the truck and shined a flashlight through the windshield, while Wallin positioned himself outside the passenger door.
They shouted commands at Peters, telling him to turn off the truck, open the door and put his hands up, according to an investigative report.
Wallin fired two shots. Both bullets went through Peters’ right arm. One embedded in his ribs, while the other pierced the right lung and landed in the spine.
Wallin declined to speak with detectives investigating the confrontation.
In a civil lawsuit filed in June in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Peters’ family is seeking a jury trial and more than $5 million in damages.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that the sheriff’s office failed to adequately train its deputies to avoid deadly force when unnecessary — despite calls from the public for police to use less lethal alternatives.
“It’s our belief that Nick should have been arrested, not shot,” attorney Jeff Campiche said at a press briefing in June.
In an email, attorneys Campiche and Phil Arnold said the plaintiffs have not received notice that Wallin is no longer with the sheriff’s office.
“If true that Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy Wallin was fired,” Arnold wrote, “that is consistent with the evidence that the deadly shooting of Nickolas Peters was unnecessary and unjustified, and Snohomish County has taken proper steps to protect its citizens from officers who shoot to kill without justification.”
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zachariahtb.