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December 20, 2010
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Video: Cop shoots deaf knife-holding woodcarver

The shooting will be further reviewed in January, but the officer has already turned in his gun and badge

SEATTLE — Police have released dash-cam video of an incident in which a police officer shot a partially deaf woodcarver who was holding a knife.

“Hey, put the knife down,” the officer says three times. When the man, 50-year-old John T. Williams, does not drop the knife, police officer Ian D. Dirk’ fires five rounds, killing him.

The confrontation begins about 1:04 into the video below:

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The shooting is not actually shown in the video, but it captures the audio of the officer’s demands and the sounds of the gunshots. Authorities told Seattle PI they have more questions than answers in the fatal shooting.

“Every situation is unique and this one is going to be investigated as any officer-involved shooting would,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. “Any other questions that remain, we will continue to seek answers.”

Williams lost hearing in one ear after an ear infection eight years ago, which they Sgt. says is pertinent and will be reviewed in the investigation.

The knife that Williams was carrying, according to a police photo, had a 3-inch-long blade and was legal to carry in Seattle. Williams is known in the area as a transient and has nearly 30 convictions in the last 20 years, including five convictions for public indecency.

The firearms review board held that the shooting was not justified and Officer Birk has since turned in his badge and his gun.



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