New information surrounding the officer-involved shooting in Federal Way, which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man and injured two officers in December 2019, was released today.
Preliminary information from an independent investigation, conducted by the Valley Independent Investigations Team (VIIT), concludes 23-year-old Malik Williams was the first to shoot at Federal Way officers during a fatal shootout on Dec. 31, 2019.
VIIT is a multi-agency team made up of investigators from seven south King County Police Departments, wrote Cmdr. David Leibman, of Renton, in a press release on Feb. 3.
The VIIT participating police agencies include Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tukwila and Port of Seattle.
On Dec. 30, 2019 at 11:58 p.m., a caller reported the sounds of a woman yelling outside in a parking lot in the 30800 block of 14th Ave South in Federal Way.
The caller also reported hearing sounds of a man’s voice and the sound of a bang, all associated with a car in the apartment complex parking lot.
The first Federal Way police officers arrived on scene around 12:17 a.m. Minutes later, officers radioed that they had a person at gunpoint, the release states.
“Additional Federal Way police officers drove to the scene and a short time later the officers radioed that shots had been fired, and that two officers were wounded,” the release states.
Officers returned gunfire toward a man in the car, later identified as 23-year-old Malik T. E. Williams. Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide in the days following the incident.
Evidence, video footage and witness statements indicate that the Federal Way officers contacted Williams, who was seated in the front passenger seat of the same car described by the initial caller, the release continues.
“Williams opened fire, striking two of the seven officers who had responded. The officers returned fire, mortally wounding Williams.”
One on-scene witness said they heard the officers yell “drop the gun” several times before hearing gunfire, the release states.
Investigators recovered a black 9mm handgun from the car and additional evidence has been submitted to the Washington State Patrol crime lab for processing.
During the shooting, one officer suffered a grazing wound to the left triceps and a gunshot to the torso. Only the officer’s ballistic vest prevented a life-threatening injury, which Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang highlighted in a press conference held the afternoon following the Dec. 2019 incident. The other officer suffered a gunshot to his right leg. Both officers were treated and released from hospital.
Investigators later learned that Williams used a wheelchair, the release confirmed.
“At the time of the incident, the chair was secured in the back seat with the wheel removed,” it states. “The windows were tinted and the chair was likely not visible to the officers.”
Seven Federal Way officers were placed on administrative leave as a result of the incident on Dec. 31, 2019. As of Feb. 3, 2020, the two officers who were injured remain on leave, according to Cmdr. Kurt Schwan of FWPD.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact Detective Gendreau at (206) 878-3301.