The King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Friday identified a 31-year-old man as the person fatally shot by a sheriff’s SWAT team Wednesday in Federal Way.
Cicero Sanchez died from multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner.
The Valley Independent Investigative Team, or VIIT, a multiagency team responsible for investigating shootings by law enforcement in South King County, is investigating his death.
A Wednesday news release from the multiagency team divulged few details about what led to the fatal shooting but said SWAT team members stopped the man’s fleeing vehicle, “encountered a lethal threat” and responded with deadly force.
Investigators have not said what the lethal threat entailed. An update on the case had not been made public as of Friday.
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., shortly after 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to the VIIT. Detectives and SWAT team members tried to arrest the man, but he took off, intentionally hitting occupied patrol vehicles as he fled, the VIIT said.
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, according to the VIIT.
Investigators have not said how many deputies fired on the man.
Aerial footage from KOMO News, which reported that the man was driving a stolen vehicle, shows a black car stopped facing a curved concrete wall, boxed in by a patrol vehicle and four unmarked police vehicles. The car’s back window appears to have been blown out, and what appears to be a body covered by a yellow sheet could be seen on the ground on the driver’s side of the car.
Court records show Sanchez is 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.
Sanchez in November 2020 received a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative instead of prison time to resolve four criminal cases for possessing stolen vehicles, attempting to elude police and injuring two Seattle police detectives after directing another man to ram the back of the officers’ undercover vehicle with a stolen truck, the records say. Both detectives were treated for neck and back pain.
Court records show Sanchez lived in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood as of late 2019.