About three dozen family members, friends and activists protested in front of the Shoreline Police Department for about an hour Thursday over the death of David Albrecht, who was fatally shot by police Aug. 10. Police had been called after Albrecht threatened suicide.
The mother of a man fatally shot by Shoreline police last month stood on North 185th Street on Thursday, only inches from traffic, holding a sign and a megaphone.
“Police killed my son,” yelled Tatiana Albrecht to passing cars. “I loved you, my son.”
David Albrecht was shot and killed Aug. 10 — his 22nd birthday — in front of his family home in the 700 block of North 200th Street.
Police were called to the house after Albrecht reportedly put a knife to his throat and threatened to kill himself.
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Albrecht emerged from the house holding a knife and a shotgun, and was told several times to drop the gun. When he didn’t, two deputies fired several shots, police said.
They tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to his wounds, but Albrecht died at the scene.
On Thursday, Tatiana Albrecht and about three dozen family members, friends and activists protested in front of the Shoreline Police Department for about an hour. Then they moved a block west to the more visible intersection with Aurora Avenue North
“Something needs to be changed,” said Joel James, whose sister dated Albrecht. “The police need to be held more accountable for what they’ve done.”
James said officers should have tried to “talk him down” instead of immediately firing their assault rifles. “We can’t bring David back. It hurts all of us,” he said. “What we can do is to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.”
Cynthia Whetsell, a Seattle member of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, was at the protest.
“Hundreds of people are killed by police every year,” she said. “It’s a national epidemic,” Whetsell said.
Albrecht was convicted last year for felony assault of a police officer stemming from a night out drinking. He’d been ordered to go through a court-ordered rehab program, friends said, and had several other scapes with the law.
James said Albrecht got caught in the legal system and couldn’t get himself out.
“He had a great outlook on life,” James said. “He said, ‘I just want to get this court stuff over and done with and get on with my life.’ “
Albrecht was a cancer survivor, loved cooking and simply liked to hang out with his friends, James said. The protest was called in part so that friends and family could paint a different picture of Albrecht from the one given so far by police.
The officers who shot Albrecht were placed on paid administrative leave — a standard procedure — but they haven’t been named, which is unusual. They are back on duty now.
The city of Shoreline contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Department to provide police service, although officers wear Shoreline uniforms and drive patrol cars marked with the city’s name.
Sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said Thursday the officers are not being named for safety reasons. “There’s been a lot of street talk, and it’s very emotional out there,” he said.
An inquest will be held to examine the facts, Urquhart said, and prosecutors will go over the case to ensure that state laws were followed.
Albrecht’s father, Victor Albrecht, was also at the protest. He said he wasn’t angry at police, but blamed himself for some of the actions that took place Aug. 10.
The father called police after his son cut himself in the neck. They had been about to prepare a meal when David Albrecht had grabbed a knife.
Albrecht’s girlfriend tried to stop him, and her hands were cut.
“I took the knife,” Victor Albrecht said. “But he took another one.”
His son was afraid he’d wind up back in jail one day, the father said, and David Albrecht predicted that police would kill him one day.
The father said that he called police because he thought deputies could handle the situation better than he could have.
“Let’s go, David,” he’d said, when the police arrived. But it didn’t end the way he expected.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report. Jeff Hodson: 206-464-2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org