Seattle Officers Shoot Suspect Armed with Knives

Seattle Police Department has released video of an officer involved shooting which occurred Sunday. Officers responded to a 911 call for a domestic violence incident. In the initial 911 call was made by the suspect’s “partner” (Editor’s Note: Domestic partnerships were dissolved when gay marriage was legalized in Washington, so we presume the suspect is the victim’s boyfriend) who advised that the suspect was suicidal and coming at him with a knife.

The video starts as the first officer arrives on scene and contacts the reporting party. The reporting party can be heard telling the officer, “He’s right there.” The officer repeatedly yells for the suspect to “drop the knife.” The suspect can be seen advancing on the officer with a knife in each hand. The officer then fired on the suspect and the suspect can be seen falling to the ground.

After the shooting, the officers can be seen disarming the suspect and securing two very large knives in the patrol car.

The suspect is in the hospital in critical condition.

It was later reported that the suspect had thrown a knife at the victim prior to the officers arriving. The suspect and involved officers have not yet been publicly identified.

Internet cop watchers are saying that the suspect was “just suicidal” and therefore could not be a threat. Suicidal people are some of the most dangerous that law enforcement can encounter because they don’t plan on sticking around to see the consequences of their actions, and their mental health crisis prevents them from thinking clearly. Had the officers allowed the suspect to continue to advance, he likely would have started stabbing anybody within reach until he was put down. The suspect had already showed a propensity towards violence by throwing a knife at the victim prior to the officer’s arrival.

Tasers also would have been a poor choice in this situation due to their very low reliability and limited range. A Taser failure, which is extremely common, would likely have resulted in the serious injury or death of an officer.

A less-lethal option of a beanbag round or pepperball gun may have been effective in a situation like this, however it was not possible to deploy one of those less-lethal options in this situation. The officer was immediately confronted by the suspect and had to immediately deal with the threat to her safety and the safety of the victim.

Officers did an excellent job stopping the threat to themselves and the victim by using the only reasonable option available to them at that time.