SWAT team actions ruled justifiable

jpawloski@theolympian.comMay 24, 2013 

The Grays Harbor County prosecuting attorney has decided that Thurston County SWAT team members’ fatal shooting of an armed man in Hoquiam in March was a justifiable use of force.

The Thurston County SWAT team was called to the scene to assist with a standoff involving a man who had barricaded himself in a Hoquiam residence March 25.

The suspect, known as Rick or Rob Marlowe, was wanted on a warrant out of Sacramento County in California for a fraud charge. Marlowe shot and wounded a Hoquiam police officer who tried to serve the warrant at the Aberdeen Avenue address, and the local SWAT team was called in.

The Thurston County SWAT team was called out to assist during the latter stage of the 20-hour standoff, on March 26, to relieve the Washington State Patrol’s SWAT team, Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said. Thurston County’s SWAT team will assist any municipality in a neighboring county if they are needed, Elwin said.

Three Thurston County SWAT team members fired a total of 33 rounds at Marlowe, Elwin added. The SWAT team members fired when Marlowe appeared in the doorway of the home wearing a gas mask and armed with a pistol and ignored orders to drop the firearm. At the same time Marlowe appeared in the doorway, the residence caught fire. Fourteen or 15 of the rounds fired by the SWAT operators struck Marlowe, who died at the scene, Elwin said.

Grays Harbor County Prosecuting Attorney H. Steward Menefee said Thursday that his office’s review of an outside agency’s investigation of Marlowe’s shooting has determined that Marlowe’s death was a justified use of force by law enforcement officers. He added that prosecutors in his office also have determined the officers’ shooting of Marlowe was justified under the state’s self-defense statute.

The investigation was conducted by a regional critical incident investigative team of law enforcement officers, headed up by a detective with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Menefee said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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