County executive orders inquest in deadly Auburn police shooting

A police crime scene tape close-up

SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting by an Auburn police officer on Sept. 9.

An officer shot Travis Eugene Ell after responding to a 911 call on Pike Street Northeast, according to a Renton Police Department investigation.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office recommended the inquest after reviewing police reports.

An inquest is a fact-finding hearing conducted by a six-member jury to determine the circumstances of any death involving law enforcement.

“Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order, inquests are convened to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while performing his or her duty.

Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.”