SEATTLE — A 36-year-old man who led state troopers on a high-speed chase from Tacoma to Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer late Tuesday night after he said “I have a pistol, too” and then pointed a weapon, the department said. The “weapon” turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Austin J. Derby and listed his cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds.
The Seattle Police Department said that Derby, after leading the Washington State Patrol on the chase from Tacoma, ditched his truck and ran through yards in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. There, he hid inside a shed, and warned approaching officers, “I’ve got a pistol, too,” SPD said.
Here is the audio released by the Seattle Police Department in which the man can be heard saying, “I have a pistol, too.” This audio also includes a 911 call from a Beacon Hill neighbor telling police that there is a man in their garage.
After Derby refused to step out from inside the shed into the darkened yard of a home in the 6400 block of S. Eddy Street, police officers saw the suspect holding what they believed—and he had told them—was a handgun.
“The suspect pointed the gun at police, and one officer—a 6-year veteran—opened fire, fatally striking the suspect. Police were then able to recover the man’s weapon, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun,” the SPD said on its online blotter.
The officer who fatally shot Derby has been placed on paid administrative leave, as per standard department policy.
Police have not yet determined why Derby fled from state troopers, but have learned he was wanted on felony and misdemeanor warrants for failing to appear in court for forgery and drug charges, the SPD said.
A woman who was in Derby’s truck during the high-speed freeway chase was taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries sustained during the pursuit. She was later released from the hospital and is not considered a suspect in the case.
A WSP infrared camera-equipped plane, Smokey 3, also captured footage of the chase and lengthy search for the suspect, as WSP troopers, and SPD patrol and K9 officers combed the neighborhood. See below: