Prosecutor: Tacoma officer justified in fatal shooting

TACOMA — Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says a Tacoma police officer was justified when he shot and killed a 48-year-old armed man in May.

Lindquist on Friday ruled the police shooting death of 48-year-old Stephen Cunningham as “justifiable homicide” under state law.

Prosecutors say Cunningham refused orders to drop his gun and pointed it at Officer Jimmy Welsh. They say Welsh feared for his life when he fired multiple shots, killing Cunningham.

The May 10 incident began when Welsh and another officer responded to a noise complaint at a house in Tacoma. Prosecutors say the officers saw Cunningham look at them through a window, walk toward a back door house and then pick up a handgun. He then left the house, armed with the gun.

Records show Cunningham had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit at the time of his death.

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