SEATTLE – Police shot and wounded a man Friday sought in connection with the Halloween night killing of a Seattle police officer, just as a massive memorial service for the officer drew to a close.
The shooting occurred as Seattle police detectives pursued a tip at an apartment complex in the south Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Tukwila police spokesman Mike Murphy said. Television footage showed dozens of cruisers surrounding the building, while some officers examined a car that, though covered by a tarp, resembled the profile of an old Datsun seen nearby when the officer was killed.
The man fled when approached by detectives outside the apartment building, but he was quickly boxed in, Murphy said. Three detectives opened fire when the man drew a handgun.
“When he produced a weapon that’s when it became a different situation,” Murphy said.
The wounded man was critically injured and was still in surgery Friday night, several hours after his arrival at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg-Hanson said. She said he had “multiple injuries” but refused to discuss them.
A citizen earlier told authorities about the car, Murphy said.
Two potential witnesses were also detained for questioning, he said.
The Seattle Times quoted interim Seattle police Chief John Diaz as saying the person of interest was 41 and had been shot in the head. The tarp-covered car was the one police were looking for in connection with the slaying of Officer Timothy Brenton, he said.
Brenton was shot and killed as he sat in a car with rookie Officer Britt Sweeney after a traffic stop Oct. 31. Sweeney was grazed in the neck but was able to return fire as a small, light-colored car sped away. The car, caught on surveillance cameras, was later identified as an early-1980s model Datsun 210.
Detective Jeff Kappel said the probe of Brenton’s murder and Sweeney’s wounding “remains an active and ongoing investigation.”
Friday’s officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the King County sheriff’s office.
Thousands of officers from around the country attended a memorial Friday for Brenton at KeyArena in Seattle.
Detectives have said they were looking into a possible connection between the killing and the Oct. 22 firebombings of three Seattle police cruisers and a mobile command post at a nearby city garage. Investigators reportedly found a note threatening to kill officers and fliers protesting police brutality at the arson scene.