The mother of a man fatally shot by Seattle police early Tuesday is disputing the police account of the shooting, claiming her son was unarmed. "He wasn't reaching for anything," she said.
Kimberly Gray watched the video of her son being shot by Seattle police at Magnuson Park in utter disbelief.
“It was unreal, unbelievable; they did it like a firing line,” Gray said during a Thursday telephone interview while she was on her way from her home in Anchorage to Seattle.
“I think they picked and chose what they showed on the video,” she said of police. “But even if he had robbed a bank, he shouldn’t have been shot that way. He wasn’t reaching for anything, he didn’t have a gun in his hands and they (police) weren’t afraid. ”
Gray’s 24-year-old son, Kyle M. Gray, was identified by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office as the man shot by police early Tuesday morning.
Officers shot Gray after he and a woman were reportedly involved in an armed robbery at the Northgate Mall on Monday night, according to police. Gray then led officers on a car chase through North Seattle in which he fired shots, police said. Body-camera video released by police Wednesday shows him not responding to commands to raise his hands before he was shot.
Gray was wanted on an arrest warrant issued in June after he failed to report for community supervision, the state’s equivalent of parole, at the state Department of Corrections office in Port Orchard, according to a department spokeswoman.
Gray had been released from the Clallam Bay Corrections Center in December 2014 after serving time for bail jumping and possession of a controlled substance, the spokeswoman said. He began serving his sentence in May 2014.
Seattle police are investigating the circumstances of the shooting.
Kimberly Gray said she learned details of the incident from the mother of her son’s girlfriend. The girlfriend, a Bothell woman, is currently being held in King County Jail. She was booked on investigation of assault and robbery, according to jail records.
According to Kimberly Gray, her son and his girlfriend had been at Forever 21, where the woman was caught shoplifting some clothing.
“They (employees) were going to call police, but Kyle flashed the gun and said, ‘Don’t call. We’re out of here,'” Gray said.
The couple left the mall and stopped at a nearby apartment complex to let the girlfriend’s dog out for a minute to relieve itself. The dog ran off and the couple chased it, Gray said.
They were then confronted by an apartment employee whose cellphone video was included with those released by police.
In the video, the employee confronts Gray and his girlfriend and tells them to move their car or he’ll move it for them. The couple both respond with obscenities.
Kimberly Gray claims the man threatened to assault the couple.
“Of course, they didn’t show that part,” she said of the video.
The video shows Gray firing a handgun the ground toward the employee. The employee reported the incident to police as the couple drove away, according to police.
Police say officers found the woman on nearby Holman Road Northwest a short time later and took her into custody. As officers were arresting her, Gray drove away, police said.
Gray’s mother did not have exact details on how the police chase began, but she claims it’s obvious from the video that he was not speeding.
The pursuit ended in Magnuson Park in Northeast Seattle, where police say Gray drove to near the boat ramp.
In video captured on an officer’s body camera, police can be seen looking for the man before confronting him in a brushy and wooded area of the park. Police repeatedly shouted to the man to show his hands and put them in the air, the video shows.
The man appears to not raise his hands, keeping them at his waistband. Police warn him several times before they open fire.
Police said they found a handgun at the scene, but haven’t indicated where. However, a law-enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter remains under investigation, said Friday a gun was found near Gray after he was shot.
Gray’s mother disagrees.
“Once he crashed his car, he runs into the woods and they shoot him,” Kimberly Gray said Thursday. “He didn’t even have the gun on him — it was left in the car — and he didn’t reach for anything. They knew they were going to shoot him. It should be against the law in the entire United States of America. It’s just awful and that’s all I have to say.”
Gray acknowledged that her son had a criminal history, but said nearly every illegal act was connected in some way to his heroin addiction.
“He did get in some trouble. He did make some bad choices and this was a bad series of events, but who the (expletive) opens fire like that? That has to stop,” Gray said.
He’d been clean, she said, for almost four years and was an “unbelievable human.”
“My phone has been blasting from all the people whose lives he touched,” she said.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story.