Vietnamese-American shot dead by Seattle cop before high school graduation

By VnExpress   July 1, 2017 | 08:11 pm PT
Police say they thought the victim was holding a knife, but it turned out to be a pen.

Police in Seattle are investigating the fatal shooting of a young Vietnamese-American by an officer who mistook the pen the victim was holding for a knife.

A spokesman from King County Sheriff’s Office said, as cited by the Seattle Times, that the shooting is under investigation by the sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit.

The incident happened around two weeks ago when three deputies arrived at a block after receiving several 911 calls about a man holding a sharp object and threatening people, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

She said the officers found the man, who was later identified as 20-year-old Tommy Le, pounding and stabbing at a door and screaming.

They confronted him and fired their tasers to force him to drop “what they thought was a knife”, the source said.

She said when he moved toward the deputies, one of them shot him three times. He died at a medical center soon after, just hours before his high school graduation ceremony.

Police found out later that Le was holding just a pen, the report said.

His teachers, family and friends are all questioning the police account, as most of them knew Le as a “bubbly kid” who was “always smiling,” the report said.

Le dropped out of a high school and enrolled in a completion program at the South Seattle College in July 2015.

His teachers said that he had just picked up his cap and gown for the graduation ceremony.

His father told the Seattle Times that he wonders whether the police handled the situation properly.

“I want to know what happened to my son.”

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