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Tacoma police identify officer who fatally shot man in Hilltop

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Sep. 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm with 3 Comments »
September 4, 2012 2:46 pm

A Tacoma police officer who shot and killed a man in the city’s Hilltop neighborhood Friday has been identified as Keith O’Rourke, a six-year veteran of the department.

Officials initially said O’Rourke, 40, had been involved in prior police shootings. Today, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said the officer had been present at two other officer-involved shootings but never fired his gun.

O’Rourke has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a police shooting. Detectives are scheduled to interview the officer later this week.

Police Chief Don Ramsdell has said O’Rourke appears to have acted within department guidelines when he fatally shot 29-year-old Prince Jamel Gavin during a short confrontation in the 800 block of South M Street.

The incident began with a domestic violence call that led police to South M Street, where the suspect reportedly lived.

O’Rourke spotted Gavin drive up, get out of a truck and run toward the house with a gun in his hand. Gavin turned around while standing on the front porch and the officer fired his gun twice, feeling threatened. O’Rourke was standing in the middle of the street when he shot Gavin once in the chest.

Investigators found a .45-caliber handgun by Gavin’s body.

Gavin was a soldier who used to be assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord but was in the process of transferring to another base.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. I have been following this story waiting to see when the officer information came out. I hope for Tpd there is more to the story. Just because he turned around didn’t give the officer a reason to fire. This doesn’t indicate the officer identified himself or that the now victim raised the firearm.

  2. MrCarleone says:

    I am normally a staunch police supporter, BUT, there is a overwhelming stench to this !

  3. ALittleRealityHere says:

    MrCarleone – why do you feel there is an overwhelming stench to this? This was a DV situation, when emotions typically run high. For whatever reason the officer felt threatened, and apparently knew the guy he was chasing had a gun. The article says the officer was in the street when he shot at Gavin who was on the porch, which is probably at least 30-40 feet away. Obviously from that distance, the officer saw something and felt his life (or maybe even someone else’s) was in danger. Seems clear to me. And for you people that think the TPD is going to release all of the details, you’re sorely mistaken. Departments have reasons for not realeasing all of the details until they have all of the details. This appears to be an ongoing investigation, so before people pass judgement, allow the process to happen.

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