Sultan man dies in custody

6 DAYS, 5 DEATHS: Suspect stopped breathing after being stunned by deputies

The Associated PressSeptember 5, 2010 

A deadly week in the Puget Sound area continued Saturday with the death of a 25-year-old Sultan man in a confrontation with Snohomish County sheriff's deputies.

The early-morning incident was the sixth violent encounter for police in as many days; two were in Pierce County.

Two deputies responded to a call Saturday about a man causing a disturbance in Gold Bar, about 25 miles east of Everett, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. When they arrived, they were confronted by a man who charged them and fought them to the ground, the office said in a news release.

After one of the deputies used his stun gun on the man, the officers discovered he was not breathing and immediately started CPR. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man’s name was not immediately released. Investigators were trying to determine what caused his behavior.

The deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave, standard in such incidents, the Sheriff’s Office said.

On Friday night, Seattle police shot and wounded a 59-year-old man they say had leveled a rifle at them.

Deputy Chief Nick Metz said that when the man, who had been described as suicidal, came out from a West Seattle house, he had what appeared to be an assault rifle. The man pointed the weapon and three officers fired, Metz said.

The man was taken to Harbor-view Medical Center. Police said he was in stable condition.

Earlier Friday, Tacoma police fatally shot a man at a bus stop. Police Chief Don Ramsdell said the man was waving a knife, ignored officers’ commands to drop it and raised it in a “threatening gesture.” The two officers were about seven feet from the man when they fired.

The chief said he was confident the use of force was appropriate .

On Tuesday, Federal Way police fatally shot David Charles Young, 23, who was driving a stolen truck and reportedly tried to run down an officer who approached him.

Also Tuesday, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies used a stun gun on a 27-year-old man who reportedly was causing a disturbance at a Spanaway apartment complex.

A few minutes later, deputies noticed the man was having trouble breathing. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. An autopsy was inconclusive; the Pierce County medical examiner still is assessing the cause of death.

On Monday, a Seattle police officer fatally shot John T. Williams, 50, a First Nations totem carver, in downtown Seattle. Officer Ian Birk saw Williams with a knife and repeatedly ordered him to drop it just before shooting Williams four times from a distance of nine to 10 feet.

Williams had told people he was deaf in one ear and often had trouble understanding what was said to him, according to The Seattle Times.

The man fatally shot by Tacoma police Friday was 64, but investigators aren’t yet certain where he lived, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office said Saturday.

The man’s name wasn’t being released Saturday because staff members still were searching for the man’s relatives , said Karen Barr, an investigator with the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office.

Barr said an autopsy likely will be performed Tuesday.

Two Tacoma police officers shot the man at a bus stop in the 6100 block of Sixth Avenue in the Highland Hills shopping area . The man bought a knife at a discount store, walked outside and waved it around , prompting bystanders to call 911, police said.

Officers ordered the man to drop the knife, but he raised it above his shoulder, police said. Officers then fired.

Police did not have new information to release Saturday, spokesman Mark Fulghum said. He said the names of the officers who fired the shots likely wouldn’t be released until Monday or Tuesday.

Staff writer Debby Abe contributed to this report.

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