WENATCHEE — A Wenatchee officer who shot and killed a Wenatchee man last weekend was justified in using lethal force, a preliminary investigation found.
The investigation of the Oct. 5 incident by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office — which is still incomplete — also found: Wenatchee Police Officers Justin Kissel and Jordan Orrell were trying to restrain Jeffery Sutherland when Sutherland fired a .380 semi-automatic handgun at Orell.
That’s when Kissel shot and killed Sutherland, who was wanted for a felony warrant.
Orell did not fire his gun.
“At this point, all indications appear that the shooting and use of lethal force was justified,” a news release Friday from the sheriff’s office said.
Undersheriff John Wisemore said he cannot say at this time how many shots Sutherland or Kissel fired.When the investigation is complete — which is still several days away — the case will be turned over to the Chelan County Prosecutor for review, he said.
Wenatchee Police Chief Tom Robbins said Kissel is a 12-year veteran with the department, and a former custody officer at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.
He has never before fired his gun at someone. “He’s a SWAT team leader and been to a lot of tactical trainings, but hasn’t had to fire toward a person at all,” he said.
Kissel is also a firearms training officer, which involves training other officers in use of different tactics, and how and when to draw and use their guns, Robbins said.
Officers are trained separately in the police department’s use of force plicy, but fiararms training officers “do use shoot and don’t-shoot type exercises” in their tranings, he said.
Kissel is also a combat First Aid trainer, teaching other officers about providing medical help while in a combat situation.
Police initially went to 801 Kittitas St. with emergency responders after a child there stopped breathing. Wisemore said he was told the baby is now fine.
Police discovered that Sutherland was wanted on a King County felony warrant, and went back to arrest him. They were attempting to restrain him so they could put on handcuffs when he pulled out the gun and fired at Orell, the news release said.
Investigation of the fatal shooting was turned over to the sheriff’s office, and both officers were placed on paid administrative leave — both standard practices in officer-involved shootings.
The sheriff’s office has completed all interviews and evidence has been processed, Wisemore said.
“While this is a tragic loss of life and our condolences go out to Sutherland’s family, police work is dangerous, and when it is necessary for officers to protect their lives, or the lives of others, they are trained to take the necessary amount of force to stop the threat,” Robbins said in the news release.
Undersheriff John Wisemore said Robbins provided information about the officers for the news release, along with his comment on their initial findings.K.C. Mehaffey: firstname.lastname@example.org