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King County Sheriff
John Urquhart


Update to Officer Involved Shooting

Summary

(Burien) around midnight on June 13th, the Sheriff’s Office received multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a “man with a knife” and gunfire. Callers described the suspect as wearing “black shorts” and shouting “I am the Creator” and “I am the killer” as he tried to stab people.

Story

Ten patrol units headed toward the call. 

Three deputies in separate vehicles arrived first, Deputy Cesar Molina, Deputy Matt Paul, and Deputy Tanner Owens.  Several people were in the front yard of a house and on the street.

Deputies learned that an unknown man had attacked one of them with a knife, trying to stab him.  The man ran to his friends’ house, who retrieved a pistol and went outside.  The suspect came after the homeowner as well, so he fired a round into the ground in an attempt to stop the suspect from advancing, but to no avail.  The suspect was lunging with the knife and one man ran off and the homeowner managed to retreat into the house and called 9-1-1, just as the man stabbed at the front door.   No one was injured.

As deputies were getting the story, one of the victims pointed out the suspect, now about ½ a block away or so and walking down the street towards the officers and residents.  Officers Owens and Molina confronted him and told him to drop whatever was in his hand.  The suspect kept advancing as the deputies backed away and circled around the man, who was making stabbing motions.  The deputies were between the suspect and the residents who were still outside.  Both deputies eventually used their Tasers but to no effect.  As the suspect continued to advance on the deputies, Deputy Molina fired several times and the man was hit and fell to the ground.  Deputies rendered first aid and a Fire Department Aid Car was called.  The suspect was pronounced dead at Harborview.

FAQ’s

• Suspect is Tommy Le, 20 years old.

• Suspect lives around the corner and a few house away.  He was last seen by the victims headed that direction.  Detectives served a search warrant on this house, where he lived with several other people.  Knives were recovered and detectives are trying to ascertain one of these was used in the original assault.

• The deputy who fired is 38 years old.  He has been with the King County Sheriff’s Office for about 2½ years.  Prior to coming to KCSO, he spent over two years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  

• The second deputy is 26 years old and has been with the KCSO for a year and a half.

• The object the suspect had in his hand at the time of the shooting was a pen.

• Detectives are unsure why the Taser had no effect.  At least one of the probes stuck the suspect.  Others may have missed or they may have been too close together to incapacitate the suspect.

• The number of times the suspect was hit will come from the Medical Examiner’s Office.  The number of shots fired is part of the on-going investigation.

Next Steps:

The shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.  The completed investigation will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted.  The shooting will be reviewed administratively by the sheriff’s Office Administrative review Team.  There will be an inquest.  The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Use of Force Review Board.  The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight will review all administrative actions taken by the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Urquhart will forward the case and all reviews, including the results if the inquest, to the FBI for federal review.