WENATCHEE — The two Wenatchee police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jeffery A. Sutherland were grappling with him on the floor when shots were fired, according to an investigative affidavit.
Sutherland, 24, died from gunshot wounds in the confrontation with Officers Justin Kissel and Jordan Orrell. When the uniformed patrolmen tried to arrest Sutherland, a struggle ensued and all three men “went to the ground in the living room” of Sutherland’s home, according to a search warrant affidavit sworn out by Chelan County Sheriff’s Detective Randy Grant.
While on the floor, Sutherland fired two shots from a handgun as Kissel and Orrell tried to get control of his weapon, then was killed by gunfire from Kissel, according to the affidavit. Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris on Friday said Sutherland’s cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the chest.
Grant swore out the affidavit Oct. 5, the same day Sutherland died, seeking permission to re-enter and search the home in the 800 block of Kittitas Street. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate the officer-involved shooting alongside the Washington State Patrol, independently of the city police department.
Chelan County Undersheriff John Wisemore said Oct. 11 the shooting of Sutherland appeared justifiable, based on the investigation to that point. He said Friday the sheriff’s portion of the investigation has been completed, and referred comment to the Wenatchee Police Department. Wenatchee Police Capt. Doug Jones said his department hasn’t received the investigative report and wouldn’t comment.
Police and ambulance crews responded about 1:30 p.m. to a report that Sutherland’s infant son had stopped breathing, apparently because he’d been left to sleep on his stomach. The child, who later recovered under medical care, had already gone to the hospital with his mother by ambulance when Orrell and Kissel met Sutherland at the house.
According to Grant’s affidavit, the two officers left Sutherland’s home to go to the hospital, and while en route radioed RiverCom to run Sutherland’s name and birthdate for prior warrants. When told Sutherland was wanted on a three-year-old warrant for violating probation in King County, they returned to Kittitas Street and sought to arrest him. According to police, he resisted.
“While trying to restrain him, officers and Sutherland went to the ground in the living room,” Grant wrote in his affidavit. “While on the ground Sutherland obtained (a) pistol from his pants pocket and fired a round toward the officers. The round struck the ceiling. Officers attempted to grab Sutherland’s gun hand. Sutherland fired another round. Officer Kissel shot Sutherland with his duty weapon and the altercation ended.”
A search of the house later found one discharged bullet lying on a couch, and three spent shell casings, according to an inventory sheet.
Kissel began CPR on Sutherland while Orrell secured the Kel-Tec .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun Sutherland is believed to have fired. EMTs arrived but couldn’t revive Sutherland; he was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:14 p.m.
The August 2010 warrant for Sutherland’s arrest was based on his withdrawal from a court-ordered drug treatment program. He had pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm and been sentenced to three months of treatment for amphetamine addiction, but left the program after just two months.
Grant’s affidavit was filed seeking a motive Sutherland might have had in refusing to submit to police, as well as evidence of illegal drugs or other crimes. Items listed on the search inventory include .380 ammunition, a digital scale and an “arm tie,” but no narcotics.