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Family of man killed by Lakewood cops want answers: ‘Police just shot him like he was garbage’

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LAKEWOOD — Police still don’t know why 37-year-old Daniel Covarrubias was seen running or why he hid inside the Pinnacle lumberyard on Tuesday.

Daniel’s sister, Lanna Covarrubias, said her family is devastated by the shooting. She said while Daniel had a history of drug addiction and mental issues, he wasn’t a violent person. Now she want’s to know why police had to shoot him Tuesday.

“It was for nothing,” Lanna said Wednesday. “It was a pointless, senseless death. And he’s gone.”

Lanna said Daniel leaves behind seven children who will grow up without their dad.

On Tuesday, multiple 911 callers reported seeing a man running through a lumberyard.

The Lakewood Police Department said officers found the man hiding on multiple stacks of plywood in the lumberyard.  While communicating with the man, police radioed saying that he was reaching into his pocket. That's when officers fired their weapons, hitting Daniel multiple times.

Investigators will not yet say if Daniel was carrying weapons.

“He was shot in broad daylight at 2 o’clock,” said Lanna. “He was unarmed, something we’re seeing all across our country every day, by the police.”

Daniel had a criminal history with convictions and arrests ranging from DUI, assault and police obstruction.

Lanna said her brother was putting his life back together and that he was back in school.

“Even my own kids looked up to my brother. He was such a good person, you know when he was clean, he just had an addiction,” she said. “That’s separate from who he was, he wasn’t just some drug addict who wasn’t nothing.”

Lakewood police wouldn’t comment on camera Wednesday but said their Major Crimes Unit is getting help from the Cooperative Cities Crime Response Unit and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office on the investigation.

Daniel’s family wants answers now.

“The police just shot him like he was garbage,” Lanna said. “And they’re doing that to all our men, men that are struggling with addiction, struggling with mental illness.”

The Lakewood Police Department is not using body cameras. The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Officials from the department said the names of the officers involved would not be released until the case is sent to prosecutors.

The Tacoma Action Collective said a vigil and rally for Covarrubias will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lakewood Police Department, where gatherers will "demand the investigation into his death be timely and transparent."

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26 comments

  • today was a good day

    cops need to be retrained or something, maybe giving other race opportunities than just white cops get in the police force. This is BS, now this family has to go thru the pain of loosing one of of their loved ones. Ofcourse Police and the media are going to bring up his back ground but after the fact that he was shot” AND KILLED”even if he was not armed. Maybe he was pulling out his ID or something. So, now we all better watch ourselves when officers are around cause they might just get SCARED and shoot to kill beuse they fear their safety???? WTF!! this has been going on for centuries and will continue but only now it’s being caught on camera and these cops are trying to hide this by saying it was self defense!!! why does this happen only to minorites? you don’t hear about this happening to some white person that looks suspicious like the methheads that walk around and steal from houses and cars.. Scary cops need a different job if their first though of saving themselves is to shoot to kill. there is other ways to put a man down and it is not shoot to KILL!!! why not shoot his kneecaps or his arm if they “had to”???? The police are not our friends and will never be.

    • David Ve

      I am not sure of the particulars – However, It is a well known fact that you NEVER reach into your pocket when police have guns drawn on you. You simply have to be smart enough to put your hands in the air as they ask – or you are going to risk the consequences. Stop blaming the police every time. Most of these people that get themselves shot
      are creating the circumstances that get them killed.

      • HMR

        Agreed. Sad that he didn’t follow the directives he was given. He has been arrested multiple times before and knew what not to do.

        • jenny

          it don’t matter if he had been in prison for shooting a cop or killing someone the cops in lakewood like to be heard but never want to hear anyone else so to say he new better you are just as dumb

      • TGB

        Interestingly, there was a story published last week about an officer/former marine who “showed great maturity and restraint” because he did not shoot a man being arrested for murder who was charging towards him, and reaching into his coat pocket in an effort to probably die by cop suicide. It’s just food for thought here…proper training and a more sound mind against using unnecessary force is absolutely something we as Americans must call for. We musn’t simply write off these situations as “people were asking for it by not complying…” because it’s a slippery slope, and it’s all subjective as who really feels threatened.

        Here’s the link:
        http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ohio-officer-praised-restraint-refused-shoot-suspect-30416656

    • SBXLIX

      “…why not shoot his kneecaps or arm…” You watch way too much TV.
      Don’t want to get shot by cops? Don’t run. Don’t fight. Don’t reach for stuff in your pockets. It’s pretty simple, really.

    • Resident

      Hi there. Go talk to some educated young men of color and ask if they would like to become cops. Chances are really good not one of them will be interested because they know cops spend most of their time dealing with people none of us would like to have to deal with regardless of our skin color. Even lawyers have commented this year people are better to comply at the scene and sue later than to not comply in some manner that comes across as unpredictable regardless of if it meets policy on use of force or it the use of force is unjustified. And once you get beyond projecting the class war thing onto this you may actually be able to contribute to evolving an improvement. Either extreme on this issue is not going to cross the finish line. Sorry.

  • wowjustwow

    If you want to be called a man, act like a man. Stay home with your 7 children and don’t run around acting like a fool. 37 year old “men” don’t hide in lumberyards from the cops. No sympathy here in that regard. The rest of us are getting tired of the “addiction and mental illness” defense, day after day… And a piece of advice….enabling these people does not help them. I am sorry for your loss, but personal responsibility is required of everybody, not just police.

  • As a genius, I'll explain plain and simple....

    Why? Probably, he was acting like a dangerous monkey at that time. Dangerous enough for the officers to commit murder and get away with it.

    • As a genius, I'll explain plain and simple....

      This is how smart people deal with police. Let’s suppose you’re being arrested even though you didn’t do anything wrong. Cooperate with the officer and follow their command. And then kick their asses – legally – by hiring the best attorney the money can buy.

  • a funny guy

    Daniel had a criminal history with convictions and arrests ranging from DUI, assault and police obstruction…. Well, ma’am, your brother was a piece of garbage indeed.

    • nativewoman

      Well I’m not his sister or even a close friend, but I knew him in high school and off and on throughout adulthood, just because a man makes poor choices doesn’t make his life less valuable and doesn’t make him “a piece of garbage” he was a man who clearly had challenges in his own life that doesn’t mean there weren’t people who loved him very much. Try to take that into consideration while you’re hastily typing your hurtful and negative comments

  • jeddie

    How about looking at his own chosen behavior instead of whining about the “poe-leece”? How stupid does a person have to be to reach into his pockets when on the short end of a gun? Idiots. Sounds like this was another nice score for Darwin.

    • jenny

      You seriously need help a good score are you kidding me this is a person just as you not everyone has the same mentally capacity. Of others so let’s say my 9 year old yes who has mental illness is standing on my roof and I call the police to come help me get him down and my son sticks his hand i n his pocket your saying he would be a dumbA## and got what he had coming your killing me with your sight on things

  • Jeff williams

    Daniel was a really good person. I knew him for almost 18 years. He was a son in law to me and the cops murdered him. He was contained in that yard and up high so where could he go

  • John Fuller

    Cops are murdering people at an alarming rate… It’s time for law abiding citizens to start shooting back and let them know what it feels like.

  • thuggy gets a dirt nap

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Hopefully, this career criminal learned a very valuable lesson in his last one second on earth about respecting the police and obeying their orders. But probably not.

    • Sal

      Thuggy…..You are clearly an Idiot! Your statement reffering to a career criminal, that being DUI, assault and obstruction are violations that a majority of the public are guilty of everyday!
      You on the other hand are obviously guilty of living a pathetic selfish existence inside a box that includes an IQ below that of a box…of rocks!

  • Lanna C

    My name is Lanna Covarrubias, I want to clarify that I did not state that my brother had a mental illness!!! I also shared that my brother had been clean (for a year) and had just successfully completed his first semester of college. What I said was that the police are incapable of working with the community, they do not have the qualifications to properly assess a situation. I said that police should be required to take psychology, chemical dependency and mental illness if we are going to pay them to protect our community. The police failed to protect my brother on April 21, 2015!!! Those cops MUST be Indicted!!!! Do your job Mark Lindquist!!!!!

  • Lanna C

    The IGNORANT Comments from these hateful closet racists hiding behind there computer screens (most likely “white” Voices) is a perfect example of how far we have to go before hateful, heartless species like this are erased from our planet. I actually feel sorry for you… None of you could ever live up to my brother Daniel. Your hearts are Black and Cold… You are miserable lonely people whom will never have the pleasure of knowing a kindhearted, humble, intelligent, strong and loving person like my brother Daniel. I am blessed to have been his big sister…
    Now crawl back into your lonely cold holes with your ignorant hateful comments. You have already wasted enough of my time. I have just given you the most attention a filthy person like you will ever receive in your lifetime. Now go look in the mirror, You are all weak and Powerless Cowards!!!! Who really hate themselves!!!!