Tommy Le was shot June 13 after residents of a Burien neighborhood reported a man with a sharp object, possibly a knife, was threatening people, the Sheriff’s Office has said. The object turned out to be a pen.
King County Executive Dow Constantine on Thursday ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Burien man by a King County sheriff’s deputy in June.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office recommended the inquest after reviewing an internal investigation into the death of Tommy Le, says a news release issued by Constantine’s office.
Inquests are routinely called following a death involving a law enforcement office.
Le was shot June 13 after residents of a Burien neighborhood reported a man with a sharp object, possibly a knife, was threatening people, the Sheriff’s Office has said. At the time he was shot, Le was carrying a pen.
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Le was shot after sheriff’s deputies were summoned by several 911 calls about a man making threats in the 13600 block of Third Avenue South in Burien. One homeowner told dispatchers he had fired his handgun into the ground, hoping to scare off the man, later identified as Le.
When Le continued to approach, the homeowner fled back inside his house. Le, who was barefoot, then pounded on the door and stabbed it, screaming he was “the Creator,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Three deputies confronted Le, who refused commands to drop what they thought was a knife. Two deputies fired their Tasers, with one of them hitting Le, but it had no effect, the sheriff’s office has said.
When Le reportedly moved toward deputies, Deputy Cesar Molina shot Le three times. Le died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Two people who called 911 have continued to tell investigators they are certain Le was armed with a knife, not a pen, when they summoned police, according to the sheriff’s office.
Le’s family plan to file a federal civil-rights claim seeking at least $20 million against King County, they announced last month.
Inquest jurors do not decide whether any officers or agency is civilly or criminally liable. Instead, they answer a series of interrogatories to determine factual issues involved in the case, the news release release says.