King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of an armed, mentally-ill man inside his Capitol Hill apartment on July 5.
Two SPD SWAT officers fatally shot Joel Reuter, 28, following an hours-long standoff. The officers have been identified as Chad Zentner, 44, and Jeff Geoghagan, 42.
Zentner has been on the Seattle force since March 1996, while Geoghagan was hired in April 1994.
The standoff began shortly after 3 a.m. when several residents at the Marq Condos, on the corner of Denny Way and Bellevue Avenue, reported hearing shots and seeing a man with a gun walking around the hallways. Officers responded and knocked on the door of Reuter’s fifth-floor unit, but backed off and called SWAT officers and hostage negotiators when he threatened to shoot anyone who came into the condo, police said at the time.
After an hours-long dialogue with police negotiators, Reuter stepped out of his apartment with a weapon in his hand, and officers later heard what sounded like a shot fired inside the unit.
When Reuter appeared again and fired toward SWAT officers, Zentner returned fire with a Colt .223 rifle, firing three times, police said. Reuter retreated inside his condo but then reappeared, waving the gun, and was shot by Geoghagan, who fired a Colt M-16 .308-caliber rifle once, police said.
Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel said that Reuter was under two court orders not to possess firearms because of his psychiatric problems.
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 and are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member a King County law enforcement agency.