Olympia Use of Force Events Board clears Olympia police officer over Tumwater shooting


Olympia’s Use of Force Events Board cleared an Olympia police officer who returned fire during the 11-hour standoff in Tumwater last December 2022, saying the use of force was justified.

"The officer's actions were within department policy and training," OPD Deputy Chief Shelby Parker reported the Board's findings at the Olympia City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

The Use of Force Board is responsible for reviewing the circumstances of any use of force resulting in great bodily harm or death or an officer's intentional discharge of a firearm.

The incident started when the Thurston County Sheriff's Office Civil Division responded to an eviction attempt at 7108 Desperado Drive in Tumwater on December 29, 2022, at 10:30 am. The occupant of the residence did not respond after the deputies attempted to communicate with him.

According to Parker's narration, the deputies forced open the front and found it heavily fortified. Deputies observed the occupant at the top of the stairs, who refused to show his hands or exit the residence. They also observed what appeared to be an improvised explosive device at the rear of the residence.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office Command activated the county's Special Weapon and Tactics team and requested the Washington State Patrol bomb squad due to the increased risk to public safety.

The Thurston County SWAT team is a multi-agency team comprised of members from the Thurston County Sheriff's Office and police departments from Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Yelm, Medic One, and Providence Health.

There were negotiations with the occupant while the SWAT team was responding and developing a tactical plan. Parker said the occupant's behavior was erratic. He was yelling in English and his primary language and laughing out of context.

At approximately 1:26 pm, Parker said, the occupant fired multiple rounds directly at SWAT members, who retreated. Additional resources were deployed.

"Over the next eight hours and 16 minutes. The occupant repeatedly fired SWAT members and SWAT armored vehicles. SWAT members returned fire several times," Parker said, adding, "One Olympia police officer returned fire. The Olympia officer's rounds did not strike the occupant."

A terabyte of case materials

Sarah Nagy, a community representative who participated in the Board review, concurred that using force in that instance was justified.

Nagy, a legal aid attorney, recounted that she underwent a rigorous review process as the community representative on the Use of Force Board. She was provided with a terabyte of case materials from the incident, including body camera footage from the multiple law enforcement officers involved in the 11-hour standoff and materials from prior investigations into the incident by other law enforcement agencies.

That required her to spend two to three hours most nights for a couple of weeks thoroughly reviewing body camera footage, documents, and other evidence to familiarize herself with the extensive timeline of events.

Over two days, Nagy said, the board meeting allowed for comprehensive questioning of all involved parties. Various witnesses, including officers from prior investigations, were made available. The inquiry was structured to initially ask broader questions before focusing on the involved officer.

"In preparing, my goal was to understand the events that led to the moment the officer fired his weapon, what else had been tried and failed, what he had seen, how the situation had escalated, and what position he was in when he decided to fire," Nagy said.

As a non-officer representative, Nagy said she asked questions from the perspective of community members lacking a law enforcement background.

Nagy noted that it was a significant time commitment to become fully familiar with the extensive timeline of events by reviewing over a terabyte of case materials. It was necessary to understand where the brief use of force incident fit within the overall timeline, as the actual use of force only lasted a few seconds but was preceded by over 12 hours of negotiation and standoff activities. Specifically, she highlighted that the use of force took place just a few hours before the end of the nearly day-long incident when the occupant finally surrendered.

"I found the part of the investigation I was involved with to be extremely thorough and well done. We had as much information as we could possibly need to fully understand the situation. I had every opportunity to ask questions about the process and the policy weeks ahead of the actual review board… I felt the Board truly left no stone unturned. They took this use of force incident seriously, and we can have full confidence in the decision," Nagy said, concurring with the Board's decision.


In response to the prodding question from Councilmember Dani Madrone, who asked about the sustainability of community involvement in the Use of Force review process, Nagy recommended expanding the composition of the review board to allow for more community perspectives.

Nagy also suggested providing alternative, less time-intensive roles beyond serving on the review board, such as participating in policy reviews or more regular discussion meetings on relevant issues.

The community representative echoed Parker's recommendation of bringing interpreters into police interactions when the individual primarily speaks a language other than English.


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  • USA_Ronin

    What was the outcome? Did this guy end up getting killed?

    Monday, March 25 Report this