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SPD Releases Limited Details On South Seattle Shooting

Patricia Murphy

The family of a 77–year–old man who was shot to death by Seattle police told the Seattle Times he suffered from dementia. Neighbors say the man's name is Henry Lee. Last night Seattle Police offered a few more details on the shooting. KUOW's Patricia Murphy reports.


Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz says officers responded to a call about a disturbance at Henry Lee's south Seattle home. Lee had reported a potential prowler through his medic–alert device. Police say Lee told the dispatcher he had a gun and would shoot anyone who tried to come into his home. Metz says 911 dispatchers ordered Lee to put his weapon away. When officers arrived according to Metz they saw Lee in his doorway pointing a gun at them.

Metz: "The gentlemen on being told to drop the gun lowered the weapon and then raised the weapon back up again towards the officers at which time two of the three officers fired their guns. One officer fired once one officer fired twice."

The third officer on the scene did not fire. Metz says it's difficult to assess whether the officers would have had time to react differently with Lee.

Metz: "You know they gave him specific directives to drop the weapon. He pointed the gun at them and at that point they obviously felt their lives and the safety of others who were on the street may have been in danger."

Paramedics who were nearby on another call attended to Lee but he had died. Metz says the suspected prowler was not found. One of police officers is a 19–year veteran of the department. The other has been on the force for seven years. Both officers have been reassigned for now. The firearms review board will investigate the shooting.

I'm Patricia Murphy, KUOW news.

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