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Footage of fatal Ritzville police shooting released

UPDATED: Fri., April 24, 2020

By Emry Dinman Columbia Basin Herald

The Columbia Basin Investigative Team released a partial video of an April 11 incident in Ritzville where a man armed with a machete experiencing mental health distress was shot and killed after advancing on police officers.

The video, which starts shortly before officers make contact with the suspect and ends soon after the suspect is shot, shows a family member of 48-year-old Shawn Lee, the deceased, approaching officers to explain the situation. During the conversation, Lee is seen quickly opening his car door and waving a machete in the air while stepping a few feet toward officers. Lee was approached by his family member, who attempted to get Lee to stand down and got between Lee and the officers, despite commands from officers to step away.

Although the investigative team had previously reported that officers did not have time to create distance with Lee, dashcam footage shows officers actively approached Lee and came within feet of him.

Ritzville Police Officer Jeff Lane is seen deploying a stun gun, which stuck in Lee’s jacket and did not appear to have any effect on him. Lee advanced a few more feet toward the officers when he was shot three times.

According to the investigative team, Lane and Washington State Trooper Nate Romaneschi attempted first aid.

Lee was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The limited dashcam footage is available on the Grant County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page.

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