CopBlock Contributor, Joshua Hotchkin, first reported about the officer involved shooting by a Lakewood Police employee stating:
On Tuesday April 21st, police in Lakewood, Washington shot and killed a man for reasons that are still very unclear. The man was reported by many in the neighborhood where he was shot. Residents claimed his behavior was suspicious and that they assumed he was on the run from the police. Police responded to reports of the suspicious man in the hooded jacket, who then climbed a fence and ran into a lumber yard. At that point, the man climbed up onto a pile of lumber to hide. Police said they asked him to put his hands up, but that instead he reached into his pocket. At this point, officers opened fire on the man, who later died at the hospital.
Now, three weeks after the shooting Lakewood Police Chief, Mark Zaro, says that Daniel Covarrubias was shot by Lakewood police officers David Butts and Ryan Hamilton after he pointed his cell phone at them like a gun. According to KomoNews:
“Mr. Covarrubias was in an elevated position atop the stack of lumber and was seen reaching into his pockets,” Zaro said. “Officers gave numerous commands to show his hands, but Mr. Covarrubias did not respond. Seconds later, Mr. Covarrubias raised up with a dark object in his hands and pointed it at the officers in a manner that was consistent with pointing a firearm.”
Zaro said the man crouched down, then raised up a second time and pointed the dark object at the officers. That’s when both officers began shooting, firing nine shots in all, of which five struck Covarrubias, Zaro said.
Covarrubias raised up a third time with the dark object, then dropped back onto the lumber. Zaro said six seconds elapsed between the first time Covarrubias raised up and the final shot was fired by the officers.
Covarrubias was taken down via ladder and loaded into an ambulance. That’s when officers discovered the dark object in Covarrubias’ hand was a cell phone, not a gun, Zaro said.
Is this another case of police officers rushing to use deadly force too soon? Of course it is and anyone who watches the video can see that the officers didn’t have the best position to determine what was in Covarrubias’s hands. Zaro mentions that the man crouched down several times and pointed his phone at the officers a number of times too. If that’s the case the officers should have sought cover if they believed it was a leathal weapon, or have determined that it was not a gun. Marylin Covarrubias nailed it on the head when she said, “I don’t believe it. The police are just protecting their own. That’s standard procedure. Which was echoed when Zaro said, “I’m not going to ask our officers to stand there with a gun pointed at them, or what they believe to be a gun pointed at them, and not take actions to defend their lives.” So the age of shoot first ask questions later continues on.
If officer’s truly want to prove they’re brave and courageous, how about taking some fire before dishing it out. Be absolutely certain you’re actually in danger before you kill someone with a cell phone on top of a lumber pile.