The team investigating Monday’s fatal officer-involved shooting in Aberdeen has released audio of the incident that includes radio traffic between officers and dispatchers, and a still photo taken from surveillance video that appears to show a gun in the suspect’s right hand shortly before the shooting.
The release came from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading a multi-agency investigation of the incident, which involved an Aberdeen officer. The release said the audio provides “the public with more information and to address incorrect assumptions made in social and media reports based on incomplete review of surveillance video,” according to a statement that accompanied the audio.
The 46-second video clip of the incident, taken from a surveillance camera at a nearby business, surfaced on Facebook Tuesday and prompted an outcry of questions on social media.
The shooting took place in a parking lot just east of the intersection of State and K streets shortly before noon Monday. An Aberdeen officer initially made contact with the subject, identified as Kristopher D. Fitzpatrick, 41, of Aberdeen, who had felony arrest warrants, in the area of Broadway and Heron streets.
According to police, Fitzpatrick fled, repeatedly saying he was not going back to prison. After a short foot pursuit, Fitzpatrick, who police said was armed and had pulled a gun on officers, was shot and killed as he approached a police cruiser that had just arrived on the scene.
Thursday, Grays Harbor County Chief Deputy Coroner Tom Thompson said the results of an autopsy performed that day showed Kirkpatrick died of “multiple gunshot wounds of the trunk and lower extremities.”
The officer involved in the shooting, who has not yet been identified, has been placed on administrative leave — standard procedure in the aftermath of such an incident — as the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigations team investigates the shooting. The team consists of detectives from the Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, and Thurston County Sheriff’s Offices and has “extensive experience with investigating officer-involved shootings or deadly force incidents,” said Aberdeen Police Chief Steve Shumate.
In the video clip, which shows the immediate encounter just before the shooting and a few seconds afterward, a weapon was not readily visible on Fitzpatrick as the gunfire erupted. Shumate told The Daily World Tuesday that Fitzpatrick did indeed have “a very small pistol in his hand.”
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office distributed the audio late Thursday morning. The accompanying statement read, in part, “Investigators hope to release additional video footage later this week which will also help clarify the details of the incident.”
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office press release that accompanied the audio is printed below in its entirety:
A Grays Harbor Communications audio recording related to the shooting of an armed felon in Aberdeen on September 9 was released today by the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office.
The recording supports the initial reports by Aberdeen Police that the suspect was armed and had been warned by officers to drop his weapon. A gun was recovered near the suspect as a part of the evidence gathered by investigators.
The Region 3 Critical Incident Investigations Team (CIIT) released the audio to provide the public with more information and to address incorrect assumptions made in social and media reports based on incomplete review of surveillance video. Investigators hope to release additional video footage later this week which will also help clarify the details of the incident.
In the three-minute audio recording, police dispatchers and the responding officers are heard discussing the suspect, his location and that he had reached into his pocket.
Explanation of the audio:
There are two different female voices on the recording and both are dispatchers.
2S2 is a Patrol Sergeant with the Aberdeen Police Department who initially observed and identified the suspect walking down the road and alerted another Aberdeen Police Officer (2P21) of his observations and location of Broadway and Heron Street. 2P21 advised that the suspect had a felony warrant for his arrest as he just ran him. 2P21 and 2P24 were going to clear their location and respond to Broadway and Heron to assist with the apprehension of suspect.
2S2 calls out with the suspect at Broadway and Heron Street and Dispatch acknowledges.
2S2 requests a 2nd unit and Dispatch does not understand the transmission and tells 2S2 to go ahead. Officers request 2nd units to assist when suspects are being uncooperative or combative during the contact. 2nd units often help calm the situation down or can assist in taking a combative person into custody.
2S2 calls out that suspect is running southbound on Broadway.
2S2 calls out that the suspect was reaching for his left pocket and did not know why. This is an Officer Safety concern. Officers are worried about suspect(s) pulling weapons (gun, knife) out of their pockets and assaulting the Officer with the weapon
2P24 calls out behind Scoops which is an ice cream establishment in the area
2P24 calls out he is southbound toward State Street
2P24 calls out he has a gun
2P24 calls out to drop the *expletive* gun
2P24 calls out a broken shots fired
2S2 calls out for emergency traffic and shots fired
The investigation of the shooting is being conducted independently of the Aberdeen Police Department by the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation Team (CIIT). The CIIT is comprised of detectives from Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston County Sheriff’s Offices with assistance by the Washington State Patrol. The independent investigation process is required by Washington State law whenever there is use of deadly force by police.
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and the Region 3 CIIT encourages anyone with first-hand knowledge of the incident to contact Detective Paul Logan at the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office at 360-964-1729.