Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Tacoma Police Department regarding the shooting death of 29 year old Prince Jamel Gavin have been completed. Gavin died from a gunshot wound inflicted by Tacoma Police Officer Keith O’Rourke. The officer was responding to a 911 call after Gavin’s girlfriend reported she had been assaulted by Gavin. She was worried he was going to her house where her son was.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded the death was justifiable homicide under state law. “This began as a domestic violence call and ended when Mr. Gavin pointed a handgun at the officer,” said Prosecutor Lindquist. “The officer acted to protect himself and anyone inside the 911 caller’s home.”
On August 31, 2012, Gavin’s girlfriend called 911 and reported that she had been assaulted by Gavin at his Tacoma area apartment. She said Gavin had fled the scene. Believing that he was driving to her residence, she was afraid he would assault her son there.
Tacoma Police Officer Keith O’Rourke was dispatched to the woman’s Hilltop neighborhood home. Officer O’Rourke parked his patrol car across the street from the woman’s residence. Officer O’Rourke immediately noticed a man get out of a truck parked down the street. The man was carrying a handgun. The gunman, who was identified as Gavin, walked quickly toward the woman’s house. Officer O’Rourke told Gavin to stop and drop the gun. Gavin continued to the front door of the residence and attempted to force his way inside. Officer O’Rourke moved behind a vehicle parked in front of the residence and continued to tell Gavin to drop the gun. Gavin turned and raised the handgun toward Officer O’Rourke. Officer O’Rourke, fearing for his life, fired his duty weapon at Gavin striking him once in the upper body. Gavin collapsed on the porch and was pronounced dead at the scene.
After the shooting, investigators recovered a loaded .45 caliber handgun on the front porch near Gavin’s body. Witnesses reported hearing the officer yell commands to drop the gun.
According to the Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark, Gavin died from injuries caused by a gunshot wound to his torso. Laboratory reports indicated that Gavin had a synthetic type marijuana substance (Zombie Matter) in his bloodstream at the time of his death. This substance was found in his vehicle.
Emily Conlee, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Kelly Kelstrup, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office