An Auburn police officer shot and killed an alleged vandal who threatened the officer and a civilian ride-along with a metal pipe Sept. 9, according to the department.
Officer Jeff Lewis, who joined the police force a year ago, was called about 8:20 p.m. to a condominium complex at 810 Pike St. NE after residents reported seeing a man breaking the carport lights with a stick.
As the officer inspected the damage, the alleged vandal, later identified as 64-year-old Travis Lell, “appeared from the darkness ‘growling’ at him,” according to a news release.
It’s unclear whether the civilian ride-along was inside the patrol car or next to Lewis.
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Lell approached the officer and civilian “while making noises and saying things that could not be understood,” according to the department.
Lewis shined a flashlight on him and saw that the man was holding a large metal pipe and had a dagger sheath on his belt. The officer demanded Lell drop the pipe.
Instead of setting down the pipe, Lell allegedly raised it in the air as if to swing it at the officer and continued walking toward the officer and the civilian.
When Lell was a step away, Lewis shot the man three times.
Lell was pronounced dead at the scene.
The metal pipe weighed 8.6 pounds and was three feet long, police said.
“We do not know why this man approached Officer Lewis in such a threatening way, and we are saddened that it had to come to this conclusion,” the department said in a statement.
Police said the entire incident happened in seconds.
The Valley Investigative Team is investigating the shooting, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting. Lewis remains on paid administrative leave.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653