Seattle police have released information on the fatal shooting Tuesday evening of a 21-year-old man in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.
The man, Jack Keewatinawin, was shot by officers who were responding to phone calls that he was holding a knife to his father's throat.
Police said dispatchers received two calls from Keewatinawin’s brothers. Both said Keewatinawin was threatening to kill their father. They also said their brother was mentally ill. They told 911 dispatchers he was schizophrenic and violent.
But it appears the responding officers didn’t know Keewatinawin’s history of mental illness. The information was entered in the computer, but not broadcast to other officers.
Deputy Chief Nick Metz said police follow special protocols when dealing with mentally ill suspects. He said the first thing they do is get them to talk. “If you get them to talk and slow their thinking down, get them to focus on something other than what’s going on, then that’s the key and hopefully get them to voluntarily comply and get whatever help they need,” said Metz.
But on Tuesday night, police say the situation was moving very fast. According to police, Keewatinawin was agitated and threatening and officers were focused on his behavior and preventing public harm.
When police arrived at the scene in Greenwood they were able to set the father free. They used a taser on Keewatinawin but it didn’t work and he ran off. One of the officers in the chase slipped. Police say the suspect then threatened him with an 18-inch piece of metal rebar. Three officers fired at him. Keewatinawin was taken to Haborview Medical Center where he died.
The three officers involved in the shooting were put on paid administrative leave and the investigation of the case continues.