A King County coroner’s inquest into the 2017 shooting death of Robert Lightfeather by two Federal Way police officers was postponed Monday after one of the officers tested positive for COVID-19.
Inquest Administrator Robert McBeth granted a continuance sought by Officer Tyler Turpin, who tested positive for the virus Sunday night, according to attorney Thomas Miller, who’s representing the involved officers and the Federal Way Police Department.
As one of the involved officers — the other is Austin Rogers — Turpin has a right to be present at the inquest and, according to inquest documents, is anticipated to testify. McBeth postponed the hearing until Sept. 26 and dismissed a six-member jury that had been empaneled.
A new jury will be sworn after a pre-inquest hearing Sept. 22.
Lightfeather’s family, represented by attorney Teri Rogers Kemp, professed “anxiety” over the postponement but did not oppose the delay. The family was not present Monday in the conference room at the Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center, where the inquest will be held.
Kemp said it is unlikely family members will attend the proceedings in person, in order to avoid further trauma.
According to news reports and inquest pleadings, Lightfeather, 33, was intoxicated and armed with a handgun when the officers confronted him in the parking lot of the Elephant Car Wash on Pacific Avenue South the evening of Oct. 30, 2017. According to witnesses, Lightfeather had been drinking with two other men and allegedly had threatened them with a small automatic pistol.
The officers said they shot Lightfeather after he pointed the gun at them and refused to drop the weapon.
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