A suspected driver and passenger of a fleeing vehicle that was shot by Seattle Police officers in Eastlake were both treated for bullet wounds after they were arrested on Friday, according to court and police records. Prosecutors charged both suspects with vehicle theft.
Officers from the Seattle Police Department and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office arrested Joshua Brooks, 20, and Wendy Lee, 46, on suspicion of vehicle theft in Everett on Friday. Both were transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of bullet wounds. The suspects appear to be mother and son, according to police reports.
Brooks suffered two wounds in his lower left back consistent with bullet holes found in the seat of a Subaru that police shot at, according to a report. Lee had shrapnel injuries to her lower legs and lower back. Three days before the arrests, SPD reported it had “no indication at this time of any serious injury” to any of the vehicle’s occupants. When asked if the bullet wounds came from police gunfire, a SPD spokesperson said the department is still investigating and conducting forensic testing. Under questioning, neither Brooks nor Lee identified a front seat passenger of the vehicle.
Brooks was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, a felony punishable by 10 years in prison. Lee was charged with taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. Both are being held at King County Correctional Facility. A judge set bail at $40,000 for Brooks and $10,000 for Lee.
On October 8, two Seattle police officers, Kenneth Martin and Tabitha Sexton, opened fire on a black Subaru allegedly driven by Brooks in a residential Eastlake alley. Dash cam and body camera footage from that evening show four Seattle officers approaching the vehicle with weapons drawn. The officers announce themselves and one of the officers moves in front of the Subaru and places a hand on the car as it drives forward. The driver ignores an order to stop and drives past the officer. In response, he and another officer open fire on the car before it drives into a wall. Officers order the driver to "get on the ground" again before the Subaru backs up and begins to drive away from the scene. Officers fired another round of bullets as the vehicle flees.
The 911 caller who led officers to go to the scene said he thought he saw one of the passengers carry a gun, but that he couldn't be sure it was a firearm. Police did not report recovering a gun from the Subaru.
The incident is under investigation by both the Office of Professional Accountability and SPD’s Force Investigation Team. The Seattle Times reported on October 10 that the officers involved were also subject to a criminal investigation, but a department spokesperson would not comment on that report. Department policy prohibits firing at moving vehicles unless the person in the vehicle is “immediately threatening the officer” with deadly force.
Martin and Sexton have been placed on leave, per department policy.
Court documents detail the probable cause used by prosecutors to file charges against Brooks and Lee. Police recovered the Subaru in North Seattle on October 9, finding bullet holes in the vehicle ostensibly from when officers shot at it. They found that the ignition switch had been removed, as well as fingerprints from Brooks and Lee, according to a police report. Police that same day recovered a white Honda Accord that was reported stolen from the same parking lot where officers found the Subaru. The Honda was found near the home of Brooks’ brother, according to police. Police found foreign currency and jewelry inside the Honda. Officers also recovered lock picking tools, keys, cell phones, files and a propane torch in backpacks belonging to Brooks and Lee.