On Tuesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered an inquest into the fatal police shooting of Russell L. Smith on March 22, 2013.
Smith was shot inside a car by a Bellevue Police SWAT team moving in on a home on 43rd Ave. S. near S. Hudson St. to serve a search warrant on suspicion of armed robbery. Police say when ordered to surrender, the suspect put the car into reverse, slammed into a parked truck, and drove directly at officers. Police say three Bellevue SWAT officers opened fire on the driver, fatally wounding him.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed materials from the Seattle Police Department, which conducted the investigation.
According to the executives office, inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury. Under a standing Executive Order they are routinely called to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of any law enforcement agency within King County while in the performance of his or her duties.
Inquest jurors answer a series of interrogatories to determine the significant factual issues involved in the case, and it is not their purpose to determine whether any person or agency is civilly or criminally liable.
The order signed by the Executive requests King County District Court Presiding Judge Corinna Harn to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.