A week after members of the King County sheriff’s SWAT team fatally shot a 31-year-old man in Federal Way, investigators have released few additional details about what led to the man’s death, divulging Wednesday only that the man was apparently armed with a gun.
Cicero Sanchez died May 4 from multiple gunshot wounds, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. Homicide is not a legal determination and simply means a person or people intentionally caused someone’s death.
The multiagency Valley Independent Investigative Team, which is responsible for investigating shootings by law enforcement in South King County, is reviewing Sanchez’s death.
The multiagency team released few details last week about the circumstances leading to the fatal shooting but said SWAT team members stopped Sanchez’s fleeing vehicle, “encountered a lethal threat” and responded with deadly force.
Investigators did not say until Wednesday what the threat entailed.
“The lethal threat encountered by the KCSO tactical team during this incident involved a firearm,” says a news release posted on the Auburn Police Department’s Facebook page. The department, which is a member of the multiagency team, is leading the investigation into Sanchez’s killing.
The release doesn’t say whether Sanchez brandished a gun or exchanged gunfire with deputies before he was shot.
Investigators have still not said how many deputies fired at Sanchez or provided their names, ranks or years of service with the sheriff’s office.
King County sheriff’s detectives developed probable cause to arrest a man for felony assault with a firearm and found the man inside a vehicle near a library at 848 S. 320th St. on the morning of May 4, according to information previously released by the multiagency team. Detectives and SWAT team members tried to arrest the man, but he took off, intentionally hitting occupied patrol vehicles as he fled, according to investigators.
Deputies pursued the vehicle, stopping it near South 317th Street and 28th Avenue South. SWAT team members encountered the “lethal threat” and fatally shot the man while again trying to take him into custody, the multiagency team reported at the time.
Court records show Sanchez was known to Seattle police and sheriff’s deputies as having a history of stealing cars and driving recklessly and at high speed to elude law enforcement.
Information from The Seattle Times’ archives is included in this story.