Over a span of fewer than seven seconds, a 60-year-old Kent man fired seven rifle rounds at Kent police officers responding to a domestic-violence complaint last week, and three officers returned fire, firing a combined 22 rounds at the man and killing him, according to the Valley Independent Investigation Team (VIIT).
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the 60-year-old as Darren Butrick and determined he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
At 8:08 p.m. on Nov. 4, Kent police officers responded to a domestic-violence call at a home in the 13000 block of Southeast 204th Place, and when they arrived, officers learned a man armed with a rifle was inside, according to a news release issued Tuesday by VIIT. Officers were able to get other occupants of the house out safely and called for a SWAT team to respond following a brief standoff, the release says.
While officers awaited the SWAT team’s arrival, a man armed with a rifle came out of the house and fired seven rounds from outside his front door, the VIIT said its preliminary investigation showed: “Three Kent Police Department officers fired a total of 22 rounds in response,” says the release, noting all shots were fired in less than seven seconds.
Butrick, according to the release, was found dead inside the front door.
The release says the officers who returned fire were wearing body cameras that captured footage of the shooting. The Seattle Times has requested the footage from Kent police, but it had not been provided as of Tuesday evening.
One officer is 38-years-old and has 10 years police experience; the other officers are 31 and 29 and each have six years experience, according to VIIT.
Butrick’s daughter, Mecia Herron, started a GoFundMe campaign on Monday to raise money to cover funeral expenses and pay off Butrick’s outstanding medical bills. In a statement posted on the website, Herron described her father as a hard-working, respectful patriot and entrepreneur who was forced to close his business during the last recession and who in recent years suffered a variety of financial and medical problems. Unable to work, Butrick slipped into a deep depression, became addicted to alcohol and attempted suicide, but was seemingly getting better before his fatal confrontation with police, Herron wrote.
“On the sad evening of November 4th, after an argument at home, he locked himself in a room with a gun, the police were called to assist him and get him help. He was intoxicated and did not want the police to come. When they did come and attempt to make contact he opened fire and, as a result, was killed by their returned fire,” Herron wrote on the GoFundMe site. “I also want to say my family and I do not hold the police responsible or harbor any ill feelings towards them. They were doing their job and were trying to serve and protect and for that I appreciate them. My dad made a bad choice, one I wish he didn’t make.”
Attempts to contact Butrick’s wife and Herron were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Initiative 940, passed by Washington voters in 2018 and now known as the Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (LETCSA), requires that fatal officer-involved shootings are independently investigated by an outside police agency.
The VIIT is a multi-agency team of investigators from the Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Port of Seattle and Tukwila police departments in South King County.
VIIT is responsible for investigating the Nov. 4 fatal shooting, and the Tuesday news release says Kent police have been excluded from the investigation since its officers were involved in shooting Butrick. VIIT is also in contact with Butrick’s family members and is keeping them apprised of the investigation’s progress, the release says.