The Tacoma Police Department has identified the three officers who fatally shot a suicidal man Saturday night along Ruston Way.
Sgt. Pete Habib and officers Scott Harris and Matthew Verkoelen remain on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after officer-involved shootings. Habib, 52, has been with the Tacoma Police Department for 25 years; Harris, 34, has been with the department for seven years; and Verkoelen, 27, has been an officer for three years, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said Monday.
The three responded to the waterfront Saturday night after patrons at the R am Restaurant and Brewery heard Kenneth Wickham threaten to kill himself. The 63-year-old Gig Harbor man was a regular at the restaurant.
Wickham left the restaurant, walked to his car and retrieved a gun, Tacoma police reported. Witnesses reported seeing Wickham waving the weapon around when Tacoma police officers arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m.
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The officers repeatedly ordered Wickham to put down the gun as he stood near his vehicle. He refused, and when he pointed his gun at the officers, the officers fired their weapons, Fulghum said. The officers fired 17 shots, but Fulghum did not say how many times Wickham was struck.
Other officers were at the scene but did not fire their weapons.
Fulghum said a preliminary review found the shooting was within department policy.
Detectives continue to investigate. The case also will be reviewed by the department’s use-of-force review board.
Saturday’s incident was the third fatal officer-involved shooting in Tacoma this year.
Five Tacoma police officers shot and killed Sambo Sim on Feb. 10 after the 42-year-old Renton man opened fire on them during a traffic stop. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist ruled the shooting justified.
Two Tacoma police officers shot and killed Richards Sims, 64, on Sept. 3 on Sixth Avenue after he refused to drop a knife. Th at shooting remains under review.