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The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

November 23, 2010 at 3:23 PM

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Police: Officers who shot man faced 'continuous threat environment'

Posted by John de Leon


Seattle police say a man fatally shot by three SWAT officers on Monday was armed with this handgun. Police also recovered three live rounds and one spent shell casing from the handgun.

-- From Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green:

Three Seattle police SWAT officers fired a total of five times Monday afternoon at an armed man who was seated in a car on North Beacon Hill. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police on Tuesday released more details on the shooting during a media briefing at police headquarters.

Witnesses summoned Seattle Fire Department paramedics to the scene after seeing the man slumped over in a Volkswagen, said Paul McDonagh, assistant chief for special operations. But once medics arrived the man raised a handgun and pointed it to his head, he said. The medics backed off.

Seattle police patrol officers and SWAT responded to the scene and approached the man, who was still seated in the Volkswagen. The man ignored several orders to drop the handgun. He kept raising and lowering the handgun, McDonagh said.

"It was a continuous threat environment in that the gun was going up and down," he said. Officers also considered the man's vehicle a potential threat. The officers fired a total of five times, although it was not immediately known how many times the man was hit.

The dead man's name was not released at the briefing. He was a 31-year-old Asian man, McDonagh said. Police recovered a .32-caliber handgun from the car. The cylinder contained three live rounds and one spent casing, McDonagh said.

The Volkswagen turned out to be stolen, he said.

The three officers who opened fire were identified as SWAT members Evan Ehring, a 10-year veteran; Shawn Benshoof, an 8-year veteran; and Jeff Geoghagan, a 16-year veteran. All three have been placed on administrative leave while police investigate the fatal shooting.

We'll post a full story on the briefing shortly.

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