Robert Burgess Jr., a transient fatally shot during a struggle with Kirkland police Oct. 15, had fled earlier after handing his toddler son to another police officer, according to King County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
A transient who was fatally shot by a Kirkland police officer last month handed his toddler son over to another officer shortly before he was killed, according to an investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office, which is among the law-enforcement agencies investigating the fatal shooting of Robert Burgess Jr., released additional details on Monday.
Burgess, 35, approached a woman in her car in the 11800 block of 115th Avenue Northeast on Oct. 15 and tried to give her his 3-year-old son, the Sheriff’s Office said. The woman dialed 911 and followed Burgess as he drove off with the boy.
When police arrived and confronted Burgess, he handed the child to one of the officers and ran, the Sheriff’s Office said. One of the Kirkland officers announced over the police radio that Burgess had a gun in his hand.
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“When he started running, one of the officers said he had a gun,” said King County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.
As officers were searching for Burgess, they received another 911 call reporting that he had tried to carjack a delivery van in the 11500 block of Northeast 118th Street. When officers located Burgess they again indicated he was armed, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Burgess fought with officers and during the struggle he grabbed one of the officers’ guns, according to the sheriff’s investigation.
Police tried to disarm Burgess, “who continually raised the gun towards officers,” West wrote in a news release. “Fearing for their lives and the lives of bystanders one officer fatally shot Burgess.”
Sgt. Rob Saloum, a spokesman for Kirkland police, said the officer who fired his weapon has been with the department for 15 years. That officer along with two or three others present during the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave, standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting, Saloum said after the incident.
West did not indicate whether Burgess was armed with a firearm other than the officer’s handgun.
Kirkland police requested that an outside team investigate the shooting. The King County Investigative Response Team — made up of officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and several Eastside police agencies — is still investigating, West said.
In the news release, West said Burgess had previous convictions for second-degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm and first-degree assault.
She said that in January he fought with police in Arlington and took a flashlight away from an officer.
In another incident in Seattle in July 2014, Burgess was caught prowling cars and taken to a hospital after he became unresponsive, West wrote. As an officer was removing restraints from Burgess’s arms, Burgess punched the officer in his head, according to West.
Burgess had been living in motel rooms with his wife and son. Details on the current location of Burgess’s son weren’t disclosed by the Sheriff’s Office. The state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is investigating, West wrote.
Mindy Chambers, a DSHS spokeswoman, said she is looking into the incident.