Acting Seattle Police Chief Paul McDonagh—Interim Chief Harry Bailey is out of town—just held a press conference with the below surveillance photo blown up and posted to his immediate left:
McDonagh said a robbery suspect yesterday—who we now know was 26-year-old Cody Spafford, a beloved chef at a local restaurant—fled from a bank, crashed his car, and eventually charged a lone officer with knife. The officer shot and killed him.
Here's what happened, according to police: At around 9 a.m., they received a 911 report of a robbery at a Wells Fargo in Madison Park. "The suspect, described as a white male wearing lots of makeup, a fake nose, dark wig, and women’s clothing, brandished a handgun during the robbery and told witnesses inside the bank he would kill them if he heard police sirens," according to the Blotter.
What Acting Chief McDonagh only explained when asked, however, was that a gun recovered at the scene where Spafford subsequently crashed his vehicle fired airsoft pellets. He said "the suspect displayed it in a manner" that led officers to assume it was a real firearm.
After an unsuccessful search for two hours following the discovery of the crashed car, Robbery Detective Jim Rodgers, a 15-year-veteran of the force who's been involved in two previous shooting incidents, spotted Spafford running through an unoccupied residence, McDonagh explained.
Rodgers "was able to climb up a wall and take a position" near the suspect, according to police. There was a short discussion between the two men—McDonagh estimates it took less than a minute.
And at that point, Rodgers had no other option than to use lethal force once he felt threatened, said SPD spokesperson Renee Witt. "The officer was on top of this garage, he was alone. The officer said, 'It doesn't have to end like this.' And he said, you know, "I'm not going to drop the knife."
Then Spafford charged across an unspecified distance—police said it would be determined in an investigation, but McDonagh suggested it was the length of a garage—allegedly holding a knife. Witt said she doesn't know if Spafford threatened Rodgers in any other way—only that "this guy is running towards him with his knife...and the blade was sticking out." She said Spafford wasn't trapped and could have run the other direction, away from the officer.
Detective Rodgers fired six or seven rounds from his rifle. "If the officer felt that he was charging and his life was in danger, he could use force to stop him," McDonaugh said. "And the suspect went down. Unfortunately, the suspect died at the scene."