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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
Sept. 7, 2011

Inquest ordered into fatal police shooting of man in Walmart parking lot in Federal Way

Fact-finding hearing is routine to determine causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of law enforcement while in performance of duties

King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered an inquest into the shooting death of Jedidiah Waters in a Walmart parking lot by a Federal Way Police Officer on July 21, 2011.

Police say the 29-year old Federal Way man was being pursued across the parking lot of the Federal Way Walmart in the 1900 block of South 314th Street, on suspicion of shoplifting, when they say he reached for a handgun.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed materials from the Kent Police Department, which conducted the investigation at the request of Federal Way Police.

Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order they are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.

Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts established in a court of law. The ordering of an inquest should carry no other implication. Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.

The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Barbara Linde to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.

The ordering of inquests is a function vested in the county executive under the King County Code.