Fatal shooting story in Burien unfolds; 20 year old suspect was armed only with a pen

911 calls reveal a dramatic scenario

King County Sherriff's Deputies and Burien Police were involved in a fatal shooting incident on June 13 with a man who appeared to be mentally disturbed. Now the 911 calls have been released surrounding the incident and they are unquestionably dramatic. The suspect involved was 20 year old Tommy Le who lived nearby the incident. Perhaps the most alarming new fact is that he was armed only with a pen.

According to Cindi West with King County around midnight on June 13th, the Sheriff’s Office received multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a “man with a knife” and gunfire. Callers described the suspect as wearing “black shorts” and shouting “I am the Creator” and “I am the killer” as he tried to stab people.

Ten patrol units headed toward the call.

Three deputies in separate vehicles arrived first, including Deputy Cesar Molina, Deputy Matt Paul, and Deputy Tanner Owens. Several people were in the front yard of a house and on the street.

Deputies were told that an unknown man had attacked one of them with a knife attempting to stab him. The man quickly made his way to a friends’ house nearby, who retrieved a pistol and went outside. The suspect subsequently came after the homeowner as well, so he fired a round into the ground in an attempt to stop the suspect from advancing which had no apparent effect. According to police and witnesses the suspect was lunging with the knife as one man ran off while the homeowner retreated into his house to call 9-1-1, just as the man stabbed at the front door. No one was injured.

As deputies were getting the story, one of the victims pointed out the suspect, now about ½ a block away or so and walking down the street towards the officers and residents. Officers Owens and Molina confronted him and told him to drop whatever was in his hand. The suspect kept advancing as the deputies backed away and circled around the man, who was making stabbing motions. The deputies were between the suspect and the residents who were still outside. Both deputies eventually used their Tasers but the suspect did not stop. Detectives are unsure why the Taser had no effect. At least one of the probes stuck the suspect. Others may have missed or they may have been too close together to incapacitate the suspect. As the suspect continued to advance on the deputies, Deputy Molina fired several times and the man was hit and fell to the ground. Deputies rendered first aid and a Fire Department Aid Car was called. The suspect was pronounced dead at Harborview. The object the suspect had in his hand at the time of the shooting was a pen.

The shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit. The completed investigation will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted. The shooting will be reviewed administratively by the sheriff’s Office Administrative review Team. There will be an inquest. The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Use of Force Review Board. The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight will review all administrative actions taken by the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Urquhart will forward the case and all reviews, including the results if the inquest, to the FBI for federal review.

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