23rd Ave E police shooting inquest process begins

Screen-Shot-2013-11-29-at-6.58.48-AMKing County will start the process of investigating the Seattle Police Department’s fatal shooting of a man who allegedly shot at officers from inside his 23rd and John apartment building late last November.

Leonid Kalyuzhnyy died after police opened fire during a brief 4 AM standoff. The 51-year-old Russian-born man was shot by East Precinct Officer Brad Devore early November 29th after Kalyuzhnyy allegedly fired a shot from inside the building. Neighbors told CHS that Kalyuzhnyy may have become aggravated over a money dispute.

The county’s inquest into the incident is a routine procedure following fatal shootings during law enforcement actions. A statement on the inquest is below.

In January, the jury convened for the investigation into the July 2013 shooting that killed Bellevue Ave man Joel Reuter decided that SPD snipers faced an adequate threat to justify the use of deadly force against the armed man.

Kalyuzhnyy’s death was one of only four homicides on Capitol Hill in 2013 — two involving SPD officers acting in the line of duty. In the meantime, SPD has rolled out new use of force policies related to “crisis intervention.”

A friend who knew Kalyuzhnyy from his days living on a boat at a Seattle marina said the incident was not something he would have expected from the man. “It was out of character, he never ever behaved like that,” the friend told CHS. “He helped people a lot on the marina, doing carpentry work.”

The county’s statement on the inquest is below.

Inquest ordered into fatal police shooting of armed man at Capitol Hill apartment building
Fact-finding hearing is customary to determine causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of law enforcement while in performance of duties

King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of Leonid Kalyuzhnyy by a Seattle police officer on November 29, 2013.

Police were called to the Elizabeth James House at 23rd Ave. E. and East John on reports of gunfire. Police say they were confronted by a man with a rifle in an open hallway on the second floor, who shouted at them and fired one shot at officers. Police fired back, fatally wounding Kalyuzhnyy.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed materials from the Seattle Police Department, which conducted the investigation.
Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order, inquests are convened 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.

Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.

The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Corinna Harn to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.

The ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive under the King County Code.

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