Via CareerLink

Via CareerLink

Sheriff to Attend Public Forum About Tommy Le, 20-Year-Old Killed By Deputy in Burien

Le was holding a pen when he was shot and killed by a deputy last month. The sheriff’s office says the pen was mistaken for a knife.

Sheriff John Urquhart and other county officials have agreed to meet with family, community members and other concerned citizens regarding the shooting death of Tommy Le by a King County Sheriff’s deputy in Burien last month.

The public forum is set for July 19, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service building at 3639 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.

King County Sheriff’s deputies contracted by the city of Burien responded to a disturbance on June 13, where several 911 callers reported a man was brandishing a knife and calling himself “the creator.” The man, later identified as 20-year-old Le, approached the deputies and ignored commands to drop what he was holding; after firing their tasers, one deputy, Cesar Molina, opened fire. Initial reports implied that Le was holding a knife as he approached the deputies. However, as first reported by Seattle Weekly, Le in fact was holding a pen.

Le’s death came just five days before two Seattle police officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles, which prompted widespread community outcry. Reaction to Le’s death has been more muted. However, there has been a concerted, behind-the-scenes organizing effort within the Vietnamese community to get more answers about the circumstances of Le’s death. Those efforts have culminated with the public meeting with the sheriff, which will also include King County Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Dave Upthegrove; King County Executive Dow Constantine; Prosecutor Dan Satterberg; and Office of Law Enforcement Oversight director Deborah Jacobs, according to the events page.

It’s an impressive guest list, all the more so given that Mayor Ed Murray and Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole declined to attend a similar forum about Lyles’ death, saying that doing so could compromise the investigation.

“As the community continues to mourn this loss and search for answers, Tommy Le’s family, along with officials from King County, will be hosting a public forum to discuss police intervention in this case,” reads the announcement of the forum.

Following Le’s death, Deputy Molina was put on administrative leave and met with a mental health professional, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. He was approved by a psychologist to return to work June 30. A week later, on July 7, Molina was driving home shortly after 2 a.m. and struck a pedestrian in Fife. The pedestrian was then hit by another car and died at the scene. Molina was put back on administrative leave pending the investigation of the traffic accident. The pedestrian was identified as James Taitano.

Le was killed just hours before he was to graduate from a high-school completion program at South Seattle College. Classmates described him as “a bubbly kid” to The Seattle Times.

dperson@seattleweekly.com




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Carpenters union members peacefully strike on Sept. 16 in downtown Bellevue (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike on pause after “illegal picketing activity”

Union spokesperson claims wildcat protestors harrassed and threatened violence.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about schools reopening during a past news conference. (Screenshot courtesy of TVW)
Masks required at big outdoor events; vaccine mandates expanded

Governor’s mask order takes effect Sept. 13.

Pixabay image
King County is looking for community members to help oversee law enforcement accountability

Community Advisory Committee for Law Enforcement Oversight is in need of applicants.