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Prosecuting Attorney

Posted on: October 3, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Prosecutor Finds Officers' Use of Deadly Force Lawful

TACOMA, WA – Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, the Lakewood Police Department, and the Cooperative Cities/Metro Crime Response Unit regarding the shooting death of 28-year-old Patrick Mitchell Omeara have been completed. Omeara died from gunshot wounds inflicted by Lakewood Police Officers Darrell Moore and Jeremy Vahle.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide, under state law. “This appears to be another sad example of ‘suicide by cop,’” said Lindquist.

On June 18, 2013, at approximately 10:45pm, Lakewood Police responded to a residence in the 14900 block of Washington Avenue Southwest after receiving information that Omeara was at the residence. Omeara was being sought in conjunction with a felony warrant for his arrest.

Officers located the homeowner nearby. She told police that nobody should be inside her residence, and that she had not seen Omeara that day. The homeowner gave officers permission to enter her residence through a large window that was already broken. As officers approached the window, they were verbally confronted by Omeara, who was inside the home. As police shined their flashlights through the broken window, Omeara stood up, but was partially hidden behind an object in the living room. He was holding what appeared to be a handgun to his right temple. Police told Omeara multiple times to drop the gun. Omeara appeared angry and hostile, and refused to comply with commands. Omeara suddenly lunged toward the officers standing outside the window, moving his gun in their direction. Officers Moore and Vahle feared for their lives and fired their duty handguns at Omeara.

Omeara was struck three times by the officers’ shots. Medical aid was sought, but Omeara was pronounced dead at the scene. It was determined that Omeara’s handgun was actually a realistic, toy-replica handgun. Earlier that night, Omeara told the homeowner’s boyfriend that he wasn’t “going to be taken alive.” During two prior arrests, Omeara told Lakewood Police that he wanted the police to kill him.

According to Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Omeara died from injuries caused by the gunshot wounds to his torso area, inflicted by Officers Moore and Vahle. It was also determined that Omeara was intoxicated on methamphetamine at the time of his death.


Heather Songer, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
[email protected]

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