Featured

Seven Cops Fired at Armed Man in City Park After Armed Robbery

“I can only wonder about the person or people, perhaps another police officer, who will never know that those Seattle police officers saved his, her, or their lives on that cool December night.”

The criticism of cops, especially those involved in on-duty shootings, is most often done while snuggled within the clear-sighted, coziness of afterward. Such is the case with the officer involved shooting in Seattle’s Magnuson Park on Monday, December 11, 2017. After an alleged armed robbery of a Forever 21 store in a north Seattle mall, two suspects, a man and woman, drove to a nearby apartment complex.

An apartment complex employee, who’d apparently brought a cell phone to a gunfight, contacted the couple about parking their car in the property’s parking lot. After an expletive-laced, encounter, the suspect fired his gun at the ground directly in front of the employee. The employee, who video recorded the incident, called and reported the confrontation to 911. Officers soon located and arrested the female suspect who was walking on a nearby street.

Officers then located the male suspect and initiated a vehicle pursuit. During the chase, he reportedly fired shots at police officers before driving into a large brush-laden and woody city park adjacent Lake Washington in northeast Seattle. The suspect then left his car and fled on foot. After a brief search, officers located the suspect in the brush. The officer’s body-camera video recorded the confrontation and shooting.

Briefly, people need to understand that at an incident in which multiple officers fire weapons at a suspect, you have multiple individual perspectives and reactions.

The suspect can be seen refusing to follow officer instructions to put his hands up. One officer shouts, “You’re gonna get shot!” “Don’t reach!” another yells. Disregarding the officers’ commands, the suspect looks down, and he appears to be fumbling at his waistband when officers open fire. The suspect was shot multiple times and doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival at Harborview Medical Center. No officers or civilians were injured at any of the crime scenes. As is standard, the officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

As usual, a dependable cadre of cop-hating naysayers and pseudo police “technical advisers,” took to the comments sections of newspapers and websites to proclaim their ignorance to all and disparage just how “poorly” the cops did their jobs. What stood out for me were the negative comments made specifically about seven officers having fired at the suspect. To some civilians, this may seem like a firing squad or a lopsided OK Corral reenactment. It’s not.

Briefly, people need to understand that at an incident in which multiple officers fire weapons at a suspect, you have multiple individual perspectives and reactions. Each officer has his or her weapon aimed at the threat from a particular angle and unique location. Each officer is focused on the suspect, not the other officers. The officer will make his or her independent threat assessment, which can change in a millisecond, based on that officer’s observations. When officers believe fellow officers, bystanders, or their own lives are at risk, they will discharge their firearms to neutralize the threat.

Multiple officers firing at the suspect indicates that each officer determined a lethal threat existed, and they acted to eliminate the threat. In fact, you’d think people would get more ruffled if only one or two officers had fired, perhaps wondering why a majority didn’t perceive the threat necessary to use lethal force. Though again, even in those circumstances, each officer has a separate and distinct perspective and decision-making process, which again, causes differing responses to the same incident. Some may shoot, others may not, depending on the various perspectives.

When officers believe fellow officers, bystanders, or their own lives are at risk, they will discharge their firearms to neutralize the threat.

Another bit of “homework” for people is to take in the male suspect’s behavior with the apartment complex employee (click on the link above for the video). Even if the suspect had lived, no one would ever describe him as anything approaching charming.

The suspects exposed themselves, especially him, as nasty and vile air thieves. First by pointing a gun at people during a robbery, then firing a gun at another person, followed by shooting at the police from his moving vehicle, and finally refusing to obey police orders and reaching toward his waistband. If that ain’t a formula for getting yourself shot by police, then I don’t know what is.

Incredibly, some people think the cops need more than what this suspect did to fear for their lives. This suspect was a murder waiting to happen. I can only wonder about the person or people, perhaps another police officer, who will never know that those Seattle police officers saved his, her, or their lives on that cool December night.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.