Police tape blocks off an area between two businesses in a residential area along 20th Street SE near Route 9 after a police-involved shooting that left one person dead Jan. 13, in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Police tape blocks off an area between two businesses in a residential area along 20th Street SE near Route 9 after a police-involved shooting that left one person dead Jan. 13, in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Man killed by Lake Stevens police in suspected carjackings identified

James Blancocotto jumped into a detective’s patrol car, according to a warrant providing a detailed account of the police shooting.

LAKE STEVENS — Authorities have identified a man killed by a Lake Stevens detective last month after a suspected carjacking and the attempted theft of a patrol car.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the deceased as James Blancocotto, 30.

And a detective’s search warrant provides the most detailed public account yet of the moments before a Lake Stevens officer killed Blancocotto on Jan. 13. The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team continued to investigate the killing this week. The task force of local law enforcement, known as SMART, investigates cases involving police use of force.

At 11:33 a.m. that day, witnesses called 911 reporting Blancocotto threw a woman, 33, to the ground in the Frontier Village shopping center parking lot and stole her Toyota Sienna van, according to the warrant obtained by The Daily Herald. As he left the parking lot, he hit several cars with the van.

Blancocotto, of Everett, reportedly fled south on Highway 9.

Minutes later, an officer told dispatchers he had probable cause to arrest the man for investigation of theft and robbery, according to the warrant penned by SMART detective Daniel Comnick.

At 11:38 a.m., officers reported Blancocotto abandoned the van just south of 20th Street SE, less than two miles from Frontier Village, the detective wrote. He was on a trail east of Highway 9.

Two minutes later, an officer confronted Blancocotto in the yard of a home on 20th Street SE. The officer reported over his radio the man “keeps acting like he has a gun in his pocket,” body camera footage reportedly shows.

A police K-9 unit patrols the scene along 20th Street SE near Route 9 after a police-involved shooting left one person dead on Jan. 13, in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A police K-9 unit patrols the scene along 20th Street SE near Route 9 after a police-involved shooting left one person dead on Jan. 13, in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The officer commanded Blancocotto to show his hands. A Lake Stevens detective also arrived on the scene, and she ran after Blancocotto, according to the warrant filed late last month. She fired her Taser twice at him, but it appeared to have no effect. Blancocotto ran toward the detective’s patrol car, got in the driver’s seat and closed the door, Comnick wrote. An AR-15-style rifle was mounted inside, in a vertical gun rack behind the center console.

The officer ran back to his own patrol car, according to court papers.

“He’s stealing the patrol car,” the officer reportedly said over his radio.

The detective opened the door to her car. The patrol vehicle moved forward slightly, indicating Blancocotto may have changed gears, reported Comnick, who is also a detective for Washington State Patrol.

The officer fired a single shot that could be heard on security footage, according to the warrant. Comnick noted he hadn’t reviewed any footage of the shooting.

Minutes later, Blancocotto died at the scene. An autopsy showed he died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The warrant does not indicate whether Blancocotto actually had a weapon, aside from the weaponry in the patrol car.

The detective had 12 years of experience with the Lake Stevens Police Department. As is standard procedure, she was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

SMART spokesperson Nathan Fabia, an officer with the Mukilteo Police Department, declined to comment. The task force posts weekly updates about the investigation on its website.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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