The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday identified 39-year-old Stonechild Chiefstick as the man fatally shot by Poulsbo police last week at a community fireworks celebration.
Chiefstick died from gunshot wounds to his head and torso and his death was ruled a homicide, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Lt. Jon VanGesen wrote in a news release. VanGesen is commander of the investigation being conducted by the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT) into the deadly use of force.
Medical examiners and coroner’s offices have five categories for determining manner of death: natural, accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined. Homicide is not a legal determination and means only that a human is responsible for killing another human.
Police say Chiefstick was armed with a flat-headed screwdriver, which was recovered at the scene.
Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, as a large crowd gathered at Waterfront Park awaiting the start of the annual fireworks display, several people contacted Poulsbo police officers who were working the event and reported that a man was acting strangely, alarming the people around him, investigators said last week. In addition to being armed with a screwdriver and lunging at people, witnesses complained “of his odd behavior around children and not respecting the personal space of others,” with one witness telling officers the man “threatened a little kid with a screwdriver” and said he was going to hurt somebody, police said at the time.
The witnesses pointed the man out to officers, who approached him to investigate the complaints. A struggle ensued and one Poulsbo police officer fired at the man, who died from his injuries a short time later, according to investigators.
The details of what occurred during the struggle and shooting are still under investigation, and the officer’s name has not been released. Efforts by The Seattle Times to contact Chiefstick’s relatives last week were unsuccessful.
Shortly after the fatal shooting, Poulsbo’s police chief requested that KCIRT lead the investigation in keeping with the recently passed Initiative 940, a police accountability measure that requires investigations of fatal police shootings be completely independent of the agency whose officer was involved in the use of deadly force. The KCIRT is composed of investigators from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Bremerton, Port Orchard and Shelton police departments.
A hotline has been set up for any witnesses or people with photos or videos from the time of the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call 360-473-5155.
At the time of his death, Chiefstick had posted a $2,500 bond after he was arrested and charged in May with fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest, court records show. He had also been the subject of two domestic-violence protection orders involving two different women, which were filed in 2010 and 2015, the records say.