SEATTLE — An autopsy report released Sept. 7 shows that a 20-year-old Burien man killed by a sheriff’s deputy was shot twice in the back and once in the left wrist.
The family of Tommy Le released the autopsy results, as they announced plans to file a federal civil-rights claim against the King County Sheriff’s Office seeking $20 million, the Seattle PI reported.
“I cannot find any plausible way my son would deserve to be shot in the back,” said Hoai Le, Tommy Le’s father, through a Vietnamese interpreter at a news conference.
The autopsy also revealed that Le had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he was shot, despite reports that his behavior at the time was bizarre, said Jeffrey Campiche, an attorney for Le’s family.
Deputy Cesar Molina fired at Le in Burien on June 13 after responding to reports that Le had been threatening people with a knife.
Deputies confronted Le, who refused commands to drop what they thought was a knife, according to the sheriff’s office, who says efforts to use a Taser on Le were ineffective.
Over a week later, the sheriff’s office reported Le had a pen at the time, not a knife.
Campiche and Le’s family said that Le, an aspiring firefighter, had no history of mental health problems. Campiche also said the deputy who killed Le overreacted after the Taser application to Le’s chest failed.
King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said that before commenting, the sheriff’s office wants the investigation to be completed and an inquest held.
“We expect an inquest to be scheduled soon by the KC (King County) Prosecutor’s Office, where all the facts will be produced,” she said in an email.
Speaking at a July forum about the shooting, Sheriff John Urquhart said witnesses in Le’s house and across the street said they saw Le return to his house down the street and then leave again with a pen before the shooting, Urquhart said.
Investigators found a knife similar to one witnesses described in the house, he said.
The shooting is being investigated by the sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit.
The planned claim by Le’s family, which precedes a lawsuit, would seek $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, Campiche said. ■