EVERETT, Wash. KOMO NEWS - A police officer shot an apparently intoxicated man to death late Wednesday after the man refused to get out of his car and then drove into a fence.
A witness who was close enough to be splattered with blood says as many as six shots were fired at the drunk driver.
The witness, Elizabeth Thornes, had been knocked down when the man's white Corvette hit a fence Wednesday night outside a restaurant, the Chuckwagon Inn.
She told The Everett Herald she heard "pop, pop, pop" when she stood up. Officers tried to revive the man, but he died at the scene.
The bartender who served the man says he was an "innocent victim."
"I don't know, it was just so innocent - he just was innocent," says the bartender, Cindy Whitaker, adding he had only one beer at the Chuckwagon Inn.
Now investigators are trying to determine how a minor incident involving an apparently belligerent drunk could turn deadly so quickly.
Snohomish County officials said the incident began when several people called 911 because the man - reported to be in his early to mid 50s - insisted on driving home despite being drunk.
Police responded to the Chuckwagon Inn, in the 6700 block of Evergreen Way, at about 11:30 p.m. and ordered the man to get out of his car, a white Corvette.
But the man refused to get out, revved his engine, and slammed into a cyclone fence, police said. When the Corvette hit the fence, the fence buckled and struck Thornes, who was standing nearby, and knocked her to the ground.
At some point during the incident, officers fired a Taser at the man as he sat behind the wheel.
It's unclear exactly what happened next, but shots were fired and the driver was hit. Officers tried to administer first aid to the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.
"They told him to get out of the car ... and he wouldn't do it. And he started up his car, and he revved up the engine, and they told him to shut it off, and he didn't do it," said one witness, John, who didn't want his last name used.
"It hit the cyclone fence there, and all of a sudden I heard shots fired," said another witness who was nearby at the time of the shooting.
Police officials have not said exactly what prompted the officer to open fire.
No one else was injured in the incident. The woman who was knocked to the ground was not seriously hurt.
Detectives got a search warrant about 6:30 a.m. Thursday and began investigating the scene, including the parking lot and vehicle.
Investigators also spoke with witnesses at the scene and were working to determine how many shots were fired and by whom.
In the aftermath of the incident, patrons and employees of the restaurant are still shaken up and trying to make sense of it all.
One of them is Bobbie Smith, a waitress at the Chuck Wagon Inn, who says she didn't know the man who was shot.
"I don't even know who it was. You know, it just shook us all up," Smith said. "We don't have confrontations and stuff like that in the bar. We have a real mellow place to work, and have a family-type business here."
The 41-year-old officer has been with the Everett Police Department for 11 years. He was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure any time an officer fires a weapon on duty.
A Snohomish County task force is investigating the shooting.
Tags: police, taser, shoot, kill, intoxicated, man
Location: Everett, Washington, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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