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Officer shoots, kills man brandishing knife in Lynnwood

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LYNNWOOD, Wash. – One man is dead after police opened fire, saying he charged at officers with a knife.

Police said the the officer was forced to shoot the man in the middle of Highway 99. It happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday in Lynnwood.

Investigators said it all started when a local business owner called 911 to complain about a man acting strangely and being combative. Minutes later, police said, they had to shoot the man after he threatened them with a knife.

A witness to the shooting took cellphone video of the incident, standing about 100 yards from the scene. The man who shot the video declined to be identified. He said he stood only about 100 yards away when police opened fire.

“I’m still shocked, I can’t believe it,” he said. “I looked over and they’re chasing this guy, he had a knife, and the cops were telling him to put it down and he didn’t listen and he tried to cross the street and rush towards the cops and the cops shot him.”

Evidence markers and crime tape stretched across Highway 99 while detectives from the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team took over the investigation.

The investigation closed the stretch of highway for hours.

“I heard the word ISIS mentioned,” said business owner Dave Schultz.

Schultz, owner of Western Carpet Center, said the same man had been in his store acting strangely and arguing with his employees about using the bathroom.

Schultz said the man rambled on about several things, including saying people were trying to kill him and his parents.

“He was making some references, some Middle Eastern references,” said employee Evan Whichham.

“It just didn’t take too long to figure out there was a pretty good level of danger with this person,” said Schultz.

Investigators said they are looking into everything that led up to the fatal shooting.

“There’s a rumor -- and we’re still working on it -- that the male had been making all sorts various statements one of which possibility related to ISIS,” said public information officer Aaron Snell. “We’re still, again, trying to figure out what was said, what wasn’t said.”

Schultz said he called 911 after the man refused to leave his store, but then watched as the man walked outside. Schultz said he also went outside and spotted the man in the middle of Highway 99 while officers had pulled out their weapons.

“I see him running across the street, cars swerving everywhere,” he said. “He ran into the Costco parking lot, came back out in the street and the shooting began.”

Investigators said three officers responded to the call but only one opened fire.  That officer is described as a three-year veteran with the Lynnwood Police Department. He has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

The man killed by police is described as a white man in his 20s, but the county medical examiner is tasked with confirming his identity.

Highway 99 in Lynnwood opened to traffic shortly after 4:30 p.m.