News

Inquest coming in fatal apartment shootout

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

An inquest has been called for in the death of a man who held police at bay during a nearly 12-hour standoff in mid-November at a Federal Way apartment.

Pondexter Bryant, 44, died from multiple gunshots after he fired on members of an inter-agency police tactics team. They responded, firing their own weapons. Bryant died at the scene.

An inquest is held when a person is killed by a law enforcement officer. The inquiry determines if the act was warranted.

The King County Sheriff Department’s major-case squad investigated the events surrounding Bryant’s death because that department wasn’t involved in the incident.

After the investigation, the case was sent to the county prosecutor’s office, which reviewed it and sent it to County Executive Ron Sims, the only official who can call for an inquest.

Accortding to Federal Way Police, a woman called 9-1-1 to say Bryant had become agitated while visiting her and wouldn’t let her leave. When he used the bathroom, she escaped.

The standoff started at 4 a.m. on Nov. 19 as police tried to contact Bryant. They also evacuated residents in the apartments around him. For the rest of the day, police tried to contact Bryant several times but he eventually stopped talking to them.

Officers fired tear gas into the apartment to flush him out but it didn’t work.

They eventually realized he was in another apartment, having crawled through the attic to reach the it. It was there, authorities said, that he fired on police, apparently using a handgun inside the second apartment. Police fired back, killing him.

A date hasn’t been set for the inquest, a spokesman for Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng said.

The inquest is the second one that’s pending related to Federal Way. Sims also authorized an inquest into the death of Christopher Dodge, 27, of Federal Way, who died after being struck by a Sheriff Department patrol car driven by Sgt. Steven Keeney. Keeney couldn’t recall the incident because he hit his head in the apparent accident, leaving him unable to give any information on it to investigators.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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