An inquest has been ordered into the fatal shooting by Federal Way police of a man who killed four people at an apartment complex on April 21.
Metropolitan King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered the inquest into the shooting of Dennis Clark III on a recommendation by Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson said the city’s deadliest shooting began as a domestic-violence homicide around 9:35 p.m. when Clark shot his 25-year-old girlfriend in the head in their apartment at Pinewood Village in the 33300 block of 18th Lane South. The 27-year-old gunman then left the apartment and headed to the parking lot, Wilson said.
There he encountered two men, 23 and 46, who were standing next to a car. Wilson said police do not know what, if anything, the two men said to the gunman, but witnesses reported hearing shouting before both men were shot.
Police said witnesses told them that the shooter “executed” one of the men. One died next to the car, and the other was shot in the back as he tried to run away, police said.
As shots were fired, resident James Mack, 63, said he and a neighbor opened their doors to see what was happening.
Mack said the neighbor ran up a small flight of stairs to look out into the parking lot, then he ran back down and told Mack to call 911. Both men went back into their apartments, Mack said.
“I saw him go into his apartment, and we both closed our doors,” Mack said. “Next thing I know, I hear more gunshots. I looked through my peephole and saw a man I didn’t recognize leaving his apartment.”
Wilson said the gunman used a shotgun blast to breach the door of Mack’s 62-year-old neighbor’s apartment and then killed him with a second shot.
Police responded and ordered Clark to drop his shotgun, but he did not comply. Police opened fire and wounded the man, causing him to drop the weapon. But they say he fled and fell to the ground near one of two men who had been shot earlier. Police say Clark reached for a gun on the ground nearby, and police opened fire again, killing him.
Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing executive order, they are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.