Witness Disputes Police Account of Shooting

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee August 31, 2010

The Seattle Times has spoken with a woman who says yesterday's officer-involved shooting didn't go down quite the way SPD says it did.

Seattle Times:


One witness who contacted The Seattle Times has questioned the department's version of events and said the man may not have even realized the officer was trying to get his attention before shots rang out.

Amber Maurina, 28, said she was driving home Monday afternoon from a doctor's appointment and was stopped at a red light at Boren and Howell. She said she was facing north on Boren and saw the officer stop his patrol car, which was facing south on Boren, and get out.

Maurina said a tall and scruffy-looking man was standing with his back to her. She said she never saw the man's hands but thought he might be urinating or fumbling around in a fanny pack. Maurina said she watched the officer approach the man and saw him mouthing something to the man, who did not appear to respond.

"His body stance did not look threatening at all," she said of the man. "I could only see the gentleman's back, and he didn't look aggressive at all. He didn't even look up at the officer."

The officer approached the man, but was still "at least two car-lengths" away when Maurina said she heard the officer say, "Hey, hey, hey," followed by five gunshots.

Update: We've heard that the medical examiner has identified the man, so we will too. His name is John Trouble Williams.

We've learned that the man who was fatally shot yesterday was a 50-year-old resident of the 1811 Eastlake building, which houses so-called chronic public inebriates.

The man's criminal history appears to primarily be misdemeanors, although he was on department of corrections supervision for an indecent exposure conviction.

We're waiting for the medical examiner's office to release the man's name before we do, but one thing we will say is that his middle name is rather unfortunate: Trouble.

SPD's holding a press conference at 3:30 today to discuss the incident. We'll report back after the briefing.

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