WA: Deputy Kills Man at Sodo Light-Rail Station

July 01--A Sound Transit Police officer fatally shot a man after he pulled a handgun on the officer Monday afternoon at the Central Link light-rail Sodo Station, police officials say.

The incident started shortly after 4 p.m. as a light-rail train left the Stadium Station. Fare-enforcement officers contacted three men on the train and at least one couldn't produce fare, said Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.

The officers asked them to exit the southbound train at the Sodo Station, Whitcomb said.

The preliminary investigation showed the fare-enforcement officers called for backup, and a sheriff's deputy located the three men on the platform at the Sodo Station. At some point, one of the men pulled out a handgun, and the deputy shot the man.

The deputy called for additional backup, and arriving deputies performed CPR, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. He has not been identified.

Light-rail passengers who were on the next train that stopped at Sodo Station after the shooting said an official told them to get on the floor in case more shots were fired. Passengers were eventually evacuated from the train and put on buses.

The King County Sheriff's Office has asked the Seattle Police Department to lead the investigation, which involves interviewing witnesses who were on the train during rush hour.

The two people with the man who was killed were taken into custody for questioning.

"This incident is primarily about a man pulling a handgun on a deputy, and the deputy responding with lethal force," Whitcomb said.

The deputy has been with the Sheriff's Office since 2002 and transferred to Sound Transit police in 2009, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. DB Gates said. Sound Transit contracts with the Sheriff's Office for security.

Sound Transit employs fare-enforcement officers to walk the trains and instruct passengers to show proof of fare by displaying a ticket, or by presenting an ORCA fare card to be checked by handheld scanners. The officers are Securitas private security guards, trained for transit work. They do not carry firearms.

Sodo Station was closed for more than four hours while homicide detectives and crime-scene investigators remained on the scene.

The light-rail blockage affected thousands of passengers, who used shuttle buses between the Stadium and Beacon Hill stations, according to Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray. Service resumed shortly before 9 p.m.

Two officers responding to the shooting were injured when their patrol car collided with another car, then hit a parked car near 12th Avenue and East Spruce Street shortly before 4:30 p.m., police said. The patrol car, which had its lights on, was traveling south on Spruce when it collided with a northbound Lincoln Town Car, then hit a parked, occupied taxicab.

The two officers, a male and a female, and two civilians were taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Twelfth Avenue near East Spruce was closed for about three hours while Seattle police traffic-collision detectives investigated the crash.

Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or pcornwell@seattletimes.com

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