Two Federal Way Police officers were among recipients of the Washington State Medal of Honor at a ceremony on Oct. 8.
Federal Way Police Corporal Charlie Hinckle and Officer Nicholas Lara received the award from Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson at the state capitol in Olympia.
The Medal of Honor award was established in 1994 by the Washington State Legislature to commemorate police officers who have been killed in the line of duty, or who have exemplified exceptional meritious conduct, according to the Office of the Attorney General.
The law enforcement Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the state of Washington to an officer, said Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang.
Hinckle and Lara were shot on Dec. 31, 2019 when responding to a noise disturbance near the 30800 block of 14th Avenue South in Federal Way. During the incident, 23-year-old Malik Williams, a paraplegic Black man, was fatally shot by officers after he was “uncooperative” with police and fired at the officers, the Mirror previously reported.
Of the seven officers who responded to the call, Hinckle suffered one gunshot to the chest and another to the arm. Lara was shot in the leg.
Both officers have physically healed from their injuries, Chief Hwang said, adding that Lara has left the law enforcement profession.
The Valley Independent Investigations Team investigation into the shooting was closed in Sept. 2020.
The Washington State Crime Lab ballistic report states the single bullet found in Hinckle’s vest was fired from a 9mm Taurus pistol, the same gun that was recovered from the vehicle Williams was in, said Detective Fred Gendeau of Des Moines Police. Williams was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.
The gunshot to Lara’s leg was a pass through, therefore the round was unable to be recovered from the crime scene, Gendeau said. The bullet which struck Hinckle’s arm was also unable to be recovered.
“There’s no way for us to tell,” he said. “Due to where he [Lara] was standing and where he was hit … it’s more likely than not that he was hit by a round from the Taurus, but that cannot be definitively said.”
The Taurus pistol was registered to an owner in Utah, however the owner told investigators the gun had been sold and no longer belonged to him, Gendreau said.
The Mirror previously reported Williams was charged with first-degree robbery after robbing two people at gunpoint on separate incidents at the Renton Transit Center in April 2018. He was sentenced in January 2019 to concurrently serve 15 months in prison for second-degree robbery and nine months for first-degree theft for the crimes.
Investigators recovered 84 casings from the scene, though the autopsy report states Williams was shot three times.
Hosted by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and the Behind the Badge Foundation, Medal of Honor awards were given to several officers posthumously and their names have been added to the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia.
- Officer Jonathan Shoop, Bothell Police Department
- Officer Mustafa Kumcur, Bothell Police Department
- Deputy Justin DeRosier, Cowlitz County Sheriff
- Corporal Charlie Hinckle, Federal Way Police Department
- Officer Nicholas Lara, Federal Way Police Department
- Sergeant Steven Parker, Kalama Police Department
- Officer Jeff Skeie, Kalama Police Department
- Officer Benito Chavez, Kittitas Police Department
- Deputy Jason Goeman, Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department
- Deputy Ryan Thompson, Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department
- Deputy Cooper Dyson, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department
- Officer Charlie Cortez, Tulalip Tribal Police
- Officer Francis Reagan, Washougal Police Department
- Trooper Justin Schaffer, Washington State Patrol