Lawyers for the deputies, the Sheriff's Office, the Muckleshoot Tribe, and Renee Davis' family approach Judge Susan Mahoney's bench. SB
There are lots of questions that jurors will have to answer at the end of the inquest into the police shooting of Renee Davis, a pregnant, 23-year-old Muckleshoot woman, killed during a welfare check last October. Perhaps most important: Did the deputies who shot her believe their lives were in danger when they opened fire?
During three days of testimony in a Kent courtroom, both of the King County Sheriff's Office deputies who shot at Davis, Nicholas Pritchett and Timothy Lewis, said they did.
The deputies recounted the moments leading up to the fatal shooting, all of which took place in about twenty minutes: From a boyfriend reporting that Davis expressed suicidal ideation, to the deputies initiating a welfare check without backup, to Lewis deciding to send her two children on the front porch. The most critical moment, however, came when the deputies, worried Davis might be a danger to herself, entered her bedroom after kicking off a child's lock on the door, and Pritchett ripped off a comforter that covered Davis on the bed.
Davis was holding a gun underneath the comforter. The deputies testified that she pointed the firearm at both officers before they opened fire. "I was looking down the barrel of a gun and it was a terrifying minute," Pritchett said.
Attorney Jenny Durkan, who is representing Muckleshoot tribe (and running for mayor), and attorneys for the Davis family, raised questions about decisions made by Pritchett and Lewis in the events leading up to the shooting. Implicit in their questions was the suggestion that the officers could have done more to de-escalate the situation, protect the community, and move the children out of harm's way. (The Muckleshoot Tribe contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office to provide police service on the reservation, and does not have a tribal police force of its own.)
At the end of the hearing, jurors will be asked to answer questions from lawyers on both sides, County prosecutors will review the findings to help decide whether to file charges against the officers for Davis' death.
(What follows is a chronological telling, through Pritchett and Lewis' testimonies, of what happened that night. We're describing their statements in detail because jurors will be asked to rule on specific questions about the shooting based on these accounts):
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