SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into two officers who fired on a fleeing car in the Eastlake neighborhood Sunday night, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.
The news came as the SPD released dashcam and bodycam video Tuesday of the two officers firing a ferocious volley of shots at a car after the driver allegedly tried to run over one of the cops.
The Seattle Times, citing law enforcement sources, said the investigation by homicide detectives into the actions of the two officers would determine if a criminal violation occurred. The sources told the Times the department’s Force Investigation Team was conducting a separate inquiry into the shooting.
Police were called to the 2200 block of Yale Avenue East Sunday for a report of “suspicious activity” possibly involving a weapon, the department said. When officers arrived, they found suspects sitting in a black Subaru Impreza.
“As officers approached the car, the suspects attempted to strike the officers with the vehicle,” SPD said. “Officers opened fire … the suspects fled the area and have not been located. No officers were injured.”
Reaction to the rapid gunfire shown in the police body camera video of the Sunday night police activity to those who live in the normally quiet Eastlake neighborhood was one of both shock and surprise.
"I am now 200 percent for police having body cameras," says Aaron Harold. He's lived in Seattle for several years and says he was surprised by how many bullets police fired at the fleeing car. "If they're shooting guns we definitely need to have that on camera."
For many in the neighborhood near where the Sunday police incident unfolded, they appreciated the police transparency in releasing the footage. They liked the raw and unbiased view of what happens with the public able to view an incident from the very beginning when officers exit their car and approach the suspect.
"The data shows it seems to help, I know I'd hate for my job to be monitored 24/7," says Logan Garrett, who lived in Seattle for more than a decade before he relocated to Portland. "It's a dangerous job. I would not want to do it-- and I'm glad there's guys that do it. I think they kind of get picked on a little bit much."
Going forward, many who spoke to Q13 News in the Eastlake area say they think police body cameras will be a game-changer with not only how police conduct themselves but also how people interact with police knowing that they're being recorded too.
On Monday, police found the vehicle in North Seattle.
On Tuesday, SPD released video of the confrontation. Police said there was "no indication of this time of any serious injury to the occupants."
However, The Seattle Times, citing a law enforcement source, said a small amount of blood was found in the car when it was located.
It is the first release of body-cam footage involving a shooting by the Seattle police. West Precinct officers became the first to wear body cameras on the Seattle force.