Crime

Officer cleared in fatal shooting

Pierce County prosecutor Gerry Horne has ruled that a Tacoma police officer was justified when he fatally shot a Northeast Tacoma man during a standoff with officers Feb. 3.

“The police officer involved acted in strict conformity with state law, and the resulting death was justifiable,” Horne said in a statement Friday.

In addition, the Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled that no inquest will be held in the death of Wayne Allen Koenig, 39.

Officer Dennis Quilio, a 19-year Tacoma police veteran, SWAT officer and trained marksman, killed Koenig after he pointed an assault rifle at Quilio and other officers.

Prosecutors gave this account of what happened:

The incident began shortly after midnight Feb. 3, when Koenig’s wife called 911 to report that he’d pushed her into a wall at the couple’s house in the 1900 block of Lighthouse Lane Northeast.

Koenig reportedly was drunk and had several weapons at his disposal.

He was gone when officers arrived, but police were called back about 1:45 a.m. Dispatchers could hear Koenig making suicidal threats on the phone.

“The caller reported Koenig has returned to the house, was creating a disturbance and arming himself by removing multiple guns from a safe within,” according to Horne’s statement.

The police SWAT team, including Quilio, was called out just after 3 a.m. Officers tried for more than four hours to talk Koenig safely out of the house. He refused to disarm himself and surrender.

Just after 6 a.m., officers spotted Koenig armed with a rifle outfitted with a laser sight. At one point, he approached the front of the house and pointed the rifle at officers.

“SWAT officer Quilio, believing that Koenig was going to shoot at the officers in the front of the house, fired a shot at Koenig, which missed the mark,” Horne’s statement said. “Koenig disappeared into the darkened house and was quiet for a few minutes.”

A short time later, Koenig pointed the rifle at Quilio’s location. Officers “could see the laser dot pointing in their direction,” the prosecutor’s statement says.

Quilio fired a second shot, killing Koenig.

A toxicology report put Koenig’s blood-alcohol level at 0.21, more than twice the legal limit.

As is standard procedure with deadly officer-involved shootings, the incident was investigated by Tacoma police homicide detectives, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

In addition, the Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit reviewed the case to see whether Quilio complied with the agency’s administrative policies and procedures. That investigation will be presented to a department review board.

The six-person board, made up of department members and two citizens, will meet May 28. The board will review the investigation and make recommendations on whether the shooting was within department policy and whether any other steps – including training – need to be taken.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268

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