The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the 22-year-old man fatally shot by two King County Sheriff’s deputies outside a Woodinville apartment complex on Monday.
Ronny Dunning died from a gunshot wound to the head, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the office. Homicide is not a legal finding but is instead defined as the action of a person that directly causes the death of another.
Court records show Dunning’s last known address is in Renton, and public records indicate he may have relatives in Woodinville. One family member reached by phone Wednesday declined to speak to The Seattle Times.
Dunning struggled with depression, addiction and other mental-health issues, court records indicate. In spring 2018, he was involuntarily committed to a mental-health hospital in Tukwila, where he repeatedly punched a fellow patient in the face, fracturing the man’s orbital bone; he was charged with second-degree assault, court records say. Days later, he was arrested for assaulting a family member at the Renton residence and was charged with second-degree assault domestic violence, say the records.
Then 20, Dunning was initially found not competent to stand trial and was sent to Western State Hospital for 90 days before accepting a plea deal and pleading guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault, which are misdemeanors, court records show. He spent eight months in custody before he was sentenced in November 2018 to time served and 12 months of probation, say court records.
According to a mental-health evaluation performed by a Western State Hospital psychologist that’s included in court records, Dunning likely had an intellectual delay and a neurocognitive disorder related to possible head trauma. However, given his young age, the psychologist opined that he may have been experiencing the onset of a more severe mental illness.
Just after noon Monday, two King County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a suspicious circumstances call, possibly involving someone prowling vehicles outside the Beaumont Apartments in the 14000 block of Northeast 183rd Street, sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Meyer said at the time.
The deputies spotted a man with a case slung over his shoulder and attempted to talk to him; that’s when Meyer said the man pulled out a gun and fired at the deputies, who returned fire. The man, who was identified as Dunning on Wednesday, died at the scene.
Both deputies were hit by gunfire but suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were treated and released from the hospital Monday evening, according to Meyer. The deputies, both men in their 50s, were wearing ballistic vests at the time of the shooting.
Woodinville is one of 10 cities that contract the Sheriff’s Office for police services.
The Seattle Police Department’s Force Investigation Team is leading the independent investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting. The investigation is expected to take several months to complete, according to an item posted Tuesday on the police department’s online blotter.
Dunning is the eighth person killed by police in King County so far this year; there were nine fatal officer-involved shootings in the county last year, according to a Seattle Times database compiled with information from police, prosecutors and the medical examiner.
News researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story, which includes information from Times’ archives.