Herald-Republic SELAH. — After eight months of silence, the father of a Selah teenager who was shot to death by a Yakima police SWAT team spoke publicly Friday with questions about the way the standoff was handled.
SELAH. — After eight months of silence, the father of a Selah teenager who was shot to death by a Yakima police SWAT team spoke publicly Friday with questions about the way the standoff was handled.
Howard Nager said he decided to call the Yakima Herald-Republic after reading Friday morning that the shooting of his 18-year-old son, Ross, last May had been ruled by Yakima County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty as a justifiable use of deadly force.
Nager said he’s hired an attorney.
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“We are going to review the investigation in detail with our own experts, with the intent to show that proper procedures might not have been followed or followed to the extent they should have,” he said, adding, “Procedurally, it raises a lot of questions.”
He did not say he was going to sue.
On Thursday, Hagarty issued a news release, announcing he had completed a review of the shooting based upon an independent investigation by the Washington State Patrol and concluded the two officers who fired shots had acted within state law that governs the use of deadly force.
The four-page announcement describes the standoff May 18 that culminated in the death of Ross Nager, a 2010 Selah High School graduate.
According to Hagarty, the standoff began shortly after authorities received a 911 call at 9:55 p.m. reporting a disturbance and shots fired at the Nager home in Selah.
Hagarty said a friend of Ross Nager told sheriff’s dispatchers Nager was despondent over a breakup with his girlfriend and had armed himself with a shotgun. The friend said Ross Nager had fired the gun several times inside the house and everyone but his mother had fled the home.
The call led to a standoff, during which a Selah police officer at one point briefly spoke to the teenager by phone but was hung up on, according to Hagarty, who said the officer could hear a woman crying in the background.
Meanwhile, officers reported Ross Nager fired a shot through a window and that pellets from the shell were heard striking their squad cars and the driveway. They said Nager later emerged from the house with the shotgun to his head and, defying orders to drop the gun, fired a round in the air before retreating back into the house.
With the Yakima police SWAT team by now in position, Nager left the house through the garage and got into the family’s GMC Yukon.
Moments later, two members of the SWAT team opened fire on him as he tried to maneuver the Yukon around the house and driveway.
Hagarty said Sgt. Shawn Boyle was the first to fire, striking the Yukon seven times after he felt endangered by Nager’s maneuvering.
The final and fatal shots were then fired by Sgt. Jay Seely, who said he fired when it looked like Nager was trying to exit the Yukon with a weapon in hand.