Police probe shooting on I-5


Christmas took a frightening turn for the worst for some motorists traveling northbound on Interstate 5 when a man was shot dead by a Washington State Police trooper.

About 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aaron G. Larson, 28, of Olympia exited the car he and three other occupants were in on the South 320th Street off-ramp and began creating a disturbance on Interstate 5. He shed his clothing and attempted to open the doors of cars stopped in traffic, according to a Federal Way Police Department press release.

Several calls to 911 were made and a Washington state trooper was the first to arrive on scene at approximately 2:45 p.m. The trooper, 11-year veteran Mike Cheek, confronted the man and was attacked by him, reports said. Cheek verbally commanded the man to cease his actions, but he continued to lunge at Cheek, who then drew his gun and fired at the suspect, reports said.

Larson, who was shot several times, died at the scene, Federal Way Police spokeswoman Stacy Flores said. Cheek was not injured. He is now on administrative leave. Cheek has not been involved in any other incidents in which he used deadly force, according to a Washington State Police press release issued Dec. 26.

The WSP has requested the Federal Way Police Department to conduct an investigation of the occurrences. It is unknown whether the man was under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances at the time of the incident, Flores said. The King County medical examiner has not released that information yet and toxicology tests could take a few weeks, she said.

The occupants of the vehicle the man exited have been questioned and the police department is seeking the assistance of anyone who witnessed the scene, Flores said. More than 150 calls to 911 were made in reference to the man’s actions and the department must return each of those calls in hopes of learning more about the case, Flores said.

The police department must also review statements by Cheek and witnesses, as well as review videotape footage of the scene, Flores said. Evidence must also be processed, she said. The investigation will be timely, Flores said.

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