King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Joel Reuter by Seattle police on July 5, 2013
King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Joel Reuter by Seattle police on July 5, 2013.
Police responding to reports of gunfire in the 100 block of Bellevue Avenue E. found an armed man barricaded inside his condominium and threatening to shoot. After hours of negotiation, police say the gunman fired at SWAT officers covering the building and an officer fired and struck the suspect, who retreated into the unit. Police say the gunman came forward again, still holding the handgun, and was fatally shot by a second SWAT officer.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed investigative materials from the Seattle Police Department.
Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order, they are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.
Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.
The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Corinna Harn to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.
The ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive under the King County Code.