SEATTLE — A King County sheriff’s deputy opened fire and killed a man who police said pulled at gun at a Light Rail station in Sodo Monday afternoon.
It happened just after 4 p.m., as the evening commute was getting under way.
“We were in the train and the guy hit his brakes,” said one passenger. “They came on the speaker and said there was a shooting at the station.”
Marquez Davis was at the Sodo station at the time. He said he saw three unarmed Metro Transit fare enforcement Officers pull a guy off the train for not paying.
“A deputy showed up, started asking him some questions. One thing led to another, there was a scuffle that ensued inside the shelter of the light rail,” Davis said.
The deputy shot the man. Emergency crews tried to perform CPR, but it was too late. Davis was surprised at the deadly outcome.
“Don’t get me wrong, the guy was resisting,” he said. “But there was three security guards and a sheriff — 4 people against one. There’s plenty of other ways to subdue somebody rather than just shooting them.”
But Seattle police, who are handling the investigation, say there were actually three men taken off the train. They also say one of them was armed.
“What we know is at some point during this contact, things turned very dangerous,” Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said. “One of the subjects produced a handgun, and the deputy opened fire.”
They recovered the handgun, but spent the evening interviewing witnesses and the two accomplices. Light Rail service was stopped for more than four hours, affecting thousands of commuters.
“The light rail is locked, there are a ton of cops,” said Michael Scott, who was stranded. “You can’t get on a train, doesn’t look like any trains are coming in or out.”
Buses were brought in to try to get riders from downtown to Beacon Hill, but it was confusing for tourists trying to get to the airport.
“I’m just surprised they don’t have something in place to handle this,” said one man from Minnesota. “There are people getting on buses who have no idea where they’re going.”
Investigators say this shooting happened during a busy time. They’re fortunate no one else was hurt.
“Certainly anytime someone pulls a gun on a uniformed law enforcement officer, that’s going to be a problem, a very dangerous situation,” said Whitcomb.
Fare enforcement officers are not armed, which is why King County sheriff’s deputies are contracted to be called in as backup.
The name of the deputy involved in the shooting has not been released, but authorities said he’s been with the sheriff’s office since 2002.