Sheriff’s deputies who killed man won’t face charges

Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies acted properly Dec. 12 when they shot and mortally wounded a man who pointed a pistol at the officers, chief criminal deputy prosecutor Mark Roe said Monday.

No criminal charges are justified against either of two deputies who fired at Stuart Michael Brown, 48, of Stanwood, he said.

Brown was shot in the abdomen during a standoff in which he twice pointed a .357-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun at officers, who ordered him to show his hands and surrender, Roe said.

The shooting happened near the Roadhouse Bar and Grill in the 4900 block of Lakewood Road after a 911 call complaining that someone with a gun was threatening another man.

Roe’s conclusion was contained in a letter to Everett police detective Joe Neussendorfer, who was a prime investigator under a county multi-agency team that looks into police shootings. The Herald obtained the letter after filing a public records disclosure request.

“Your investigation shows that Mr. Brown was armed with a handgun he had used to threaten another man only minutes before … deputies arrived,” Roe said.

When Brown first pointed his pistol at deputies, one fired at him, apparently hitting a utility pole that Brown was using for cover, Roe said. After more commands to drop the gun, Brown pointed the pistol at a deputy again. Two deputies fired and Brown went down.

He died Dec. 27 at a Seattle hospital.

Just before the shooting, a witness heard deputies repeatedly yell for Brown to drop his gun, show his hands and give up, Roe said.

“If Mr. Brown had simply dropped his gun instead of pointing it at the deputies, they would not have fired at him,” Roe said.

Patrons and employees at the nearby tavern told investigators that Brown pointed the gun at another patron inside the bar, leading to the 911 call.

“According to these patrons, while Mr. Brown was inside the tavern, he had threatened to shoot the other patron and even pursued this (person) outside while he continued to point the gun at him,” Roe said.

Brown’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times above the legal limit for driving, Roe said. In addition, his friends said he had been despondent over health and personal issues, as well as the loss of a job, Roe said.

Officers are instructed not to wait to see if an armed person will shoot first, or if some bystanders will be shot, Roe said.

“Any loss of life is always tragic and regrettable,” Roe said. “However, in my review … it appears the deputies who shot at Mr. Brown were left with little choice but to do exactly as they (did).”

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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