Whidbey Island man allegedly shoots friend, then is killed by a deputy

The friend had been helping negotiate with the man, a veteran who was said to be despondent.

OAK HARBOR — A three-hour standoff ended when an Island County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Whidbey Island man who was armed with a gun Sunday, according to police.

The man, 37, a military veteran, sent despondent messages to an acquaintance Sunday night, said trooper Heather Axtman of the Washington State Patrol. The recipient of the messages called police around 8:15 p.m.

Four deputies and a lieutenant rushed to the home in the area of Monkey Hill Road, a few miles north of Oak Harbor. They were told the man had a weapon, Axtman said. Through a second-story window they could see he had a long gun. A friend arrived at the house to help negotiate. They were in contact with the man throughout the standoff, police said.

At one point the friend was able to go inside to talk with the man. The armed man exited the front door carrying the long gun around 11:20 p.m., Axtman said.

The friend followed him out of the house and tried to stop him by tackling him in the driveway in front of the garage, Axtman said. In the scuffle the man fired multiple rounds, striking his friend in the leg, police said. One of the deputies shot the man. He died at the scene.

The friend was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with leg injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening.

One deputy was treated at the scene for a minor injury to his hand.

The case is being handled by the Skagit Multiple Agency Response Team, a group of detectives from Skagit County who investigate police shootings.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown told the Whidbey News-Times that the deputies directly involved will be placed on administrative duty during the investigation.

Authorities have not released the identity of the deceased man, or details about his military service.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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