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Inquest ordered into fatal Bellevue SWAT shooting

A car sits in the middle the street in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood where robbery suspect Russell Smith was shot and killed by members of the Bellevue Police Department SWAT team as they attempted to serve a warrant.  - NEIGHBORS OF 43RD AVE S
A car sits in the middle the street in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood where robbery suspect Russell Smith was shot and killed by members of the Bellevue Police Department SWAT team as they attempted to serve a warrant.
— image credit: NEIGHBORS OF 43RD AVE S

An inquest has been ordered into the shooting death of Columbia City resident, Russell Smith, by Bellevue SWAT. Smith was fatally shot in his vehicle near 43rd Avenue South and South Hudson Street when Bellevue Police attempted to serve a warrant for a series of robberies he was suspected of in both cities.

An official statement by the Bellevue Police department reported that in the early hours of Mar. 22, Smith rear-ended a parked truck behind him, before switching gears. Three officers opened fire, fearing that he would run them over. On Tuesday, June 2 King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered the inquest, per the suggestion of King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg who reviewed materials in the Seattle Police Department investigation.

The order would result in a fact-finding hearing, conducted before a six-member jury. Such hearings are routine when a member of law enforcement is involved in any death on the job.

In April, a month after the incident, Columbia City neighbors rallied in concern. A community meeting attended by Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo, Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Seattle interim chief Jim Pugel, among others, raised more tough questions about the use of force and the lack of communication between police and residents.

 

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