The man shot and killed by Tacoma police officers Friday night was identified Saturday as 42-year-old Robert David O'Connell.
The man also had gone by the last name of Besel, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said. He is believed to have been a Tacoma resident.
Fulghum said a family member told police that O’Connell had been diagnosed as mentally ill and had stopped taking his medication. A supervisor at O’Connell’s workplace told police he had been acting irrationally lately and had been placed on leave.
The two officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is standard police procedure. One officer, age 33, has 2½ years of service with Tacoma police. The other officer is 27 and has been with the department for 3½ years. Fulghum said their names could be released Monday.
Fulghum gave this account of what happened Friday night:
Just before 7 p.m., two Tacoma police officers tried to make contact with a suspicious person in the parking lot of a Union 76 gas station near Puyallup Avenue and East M Street.
Officers got out of their patrol car and told the man to take his hands out of his pockets. O’Connell did so, then pulled a handgun and began firing at the officers. He fired three rounds.
Officers returned fire and struck O’Connell several times as he moved toward the gas station’s food mart. He fell to the ground, and police kicked his weapon away and handcuffed him.
Detectives were able to recover one round fired by O’Connell that struck a patrol car. Other rounds had not been located Saturday.
They also retrieved the revolver used by O’Connell and a knife that he had just purchased in the food mart. A second knife was found near O’Connell, but police were unable to immediately confirm whether it belonged to him.