Everett man dies in police shooting

EVERETT – Bear Whalen may never know exactly what happened at his house early Saturday morning, but he wants to get as close to the truth as he can.

Three Everett police officers responding to a report of a burglary shot and killed Whalen’s roommate at his home in the 2400 block of 23rd Street.

The slain man owned and lived at the house where he was fatally shot.

Someone in this neighborhood east of Broadway called police just before 2 a.m. Saturday to report that someone was breaking windows and kicking in the door of a nearby house, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.

Three officers arrived and said they were confronted by a man with a gun who was standing in the doorway of the home, Hover said.

Officers said they repeatedly ordered the man to drop his weapon but he refused to comply. The three officers fired multiple shots at the man, 31. He died at the scene, Hover said.

The man’s identity has not been released. His friends and roommate say he is one of the owners of the home and had every right to be there.

No one else was at the house at the time of the shooting, Hover said.

The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave as is standard practice while a team of detectives pulled from throughout the county investigates.

Whalen, 28, and his neighbor Gunner Nelsen, 26, were stunned by the death of their friend.

“It’s devastating. He didn’t deserve to die,” Whalen said.

Whalen described his friend and roommate as a good man who cared about his community and was a volunteer.

“He never even got a ticket. He respected the law,” Whalen said.

The men and some of their friends went out to a bar Friday night, Whalen said.

Whalen said his roommate went home around 1 a.m. Whalen and he spent the night at a friend’s place.

When he returned to his home later on Saturday it didn’t look the same, Whalen said.

Even after Whalen, Nelsen and others cleaned the house, marks of the tragedy remained: There were holes in the windows and splintered wood lying on the floor.

The men threw out the blood-stained carpet from the living room, where they say their friend fell after being shot.

“I just wish my friend was back. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get over this,” Nelsen said.

The officers involved in the shooting include a 24-year-old woman who has been with force for two-and-a- half years; a 29-year-old man who has been with Everett for one and a half years and a 33-year-old man who has been an officer with the city for two years.

Jonas Nicotra’s house is just across the alley from the shooting scene. He said he was awakened by the gunfire just before 2 a.m. and rushed outside to see what the commotion was about.

Officers ordered Nicotra and some gathering neighbors away from the small house, which backs up to the Virginia Market.

A dog owned by one of the residents at the house where the shooting took place was “just going crazy” after the shots were fired, Nicotra said.

Steven Mestras tried to walk to the neighborhood convenience store to pick up a newspaper Saturday morning, but was turned back by police tape closing off a few blocks of 23rd Street.

Mestras, who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade, said he was smoking a cigarette outside of his house about a block away when a burst of shots broke the night’s silence. “I heard rapid fire, then a last one,” he said.

Sandra Rodriguez, 35, moved into a house across the street in February along with her children. She said she was awakened Saturday by shouting and what she thought where firecrackers going off because there were so many explosions.

Later she learned that what she had heard were gunshots that had ended a young man’s life.

“I can’t believe it happened in front of my house,” she said. “We are scared and I want to know what happened.”

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452; kyefimova@heraldnet.com.

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