According to The Seattle Times, a 20-year-old Vietnamese man was fatally shot by a King County deputy in Seattle, Washington because officers mistook a pen he was holding for a knife.
The update contradicts the officer’s initial report which stated on June 13, Tommy Le aggressively advanced towards officers with a knife and refused to put it down.
Le’s death comes just days after King County officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old mother, after she called police to report a burglary. Lyles’ family revealed she was pregnant at the time of her death and suffered from mental health issues.
A police report stated Le chased a neighbor with an object that the neighbor believed was a knife. The neighbor fired a shot into the ground to ward Lee off and ran into the house. A friend of the homeowner told police Lee pounded on the door screaming he was “the creator.”
Authorities were called to the scene after several of Le’s neighbors reported a gunshot. Officers say Lee approached them with an object, and refused to put it down once he was warned. After using tasers, Deputy Cesar Molina fired three shots into Le. A deputy performed first aid, along with medics, but Le later died at nearby Harborview Medical Center.
King County deputies have refused to release a photo of the object and claim they did not send out an update to correct the initial account in a timely manner because the sheriff’s department spokeswoman was out on vacation.
Community members are calling for justice in the young man’s honor.
“I think the community is struggling with two narratives. On the one hand, it’s a fellow Vietnamese-American person, a member of the community, and that them being shot dead by anyone regardless of whether it is police is difficult for the community to grapple with,” Linh Thai, director of Seattle’s Vietnamese Community Leadership Institute, said in an interview with the Seattle Weekly.
According to the Seattle Times Le had no prior criminal record. He was preparing to graduate from high school hours before he was killed.
SOURCE: The Seattle Times