CHOKEPOINTS

I-5 north in Everett reopens after officer-involved shooting left suspect dead

May 16, 2024, 5:17 PM | Updated: May 17, 2024, 10:41 am

Image: Interstate 5 north in Everett was shut down and blocked on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The closu...

Interstate 5 north in Everett was shut down and blocked on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The closure was due to an officer-involved shooting. (Image courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation/@wsdot_traffic on X)

(Image courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation/@wsdot_traffic on X)

Interstate 5 (I-5) north in Everett at US 2 reopened late Thursday night after an officer-involved shooting closed the freeway for multiple hours during the evening commute and beyond.

The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team (SMART) said in a statement that just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Washington State Patrol (WSP) responded to a report of a road rage incident on the shoulder of I-5 north near milepost 197. According to the SMART website, members of that law enforcement team are from “various Snohomish County law enforcement agencies and (WSP) who respond to and investigate police use of force incidents.”

The suspect began ramming his vehicle into a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) vehicle and a lift that was on the shoulder of I-5 with two employees onboard, the statement reads.

From there, “an altercation” ensued between the suspect — who was armed with a hammer — WSDOT employees and a WSP trooper, SMART reported. During the incident, the WSP trooper shot the suspect. Members of law enforcement rendered aid to the suspect. But he was pronounced dead at the scene.

During the dispute, a WSDOT employee sustained minor injuries and was treated on the scene, SMART Public Information Officer Courtney O’Keefe told KIRO Newsradio.

The law enforcement agency stated the identity of the suspect will come from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Video recorded by KOMO News from a WSDOT traffic camera shows some sort of physical confrontation between a driver and, possibly, a construction worker on the side of I-5 ahead of the shooting. O’Keefe did not definitively confirm the video posted and seen widely online is from the altercation that led to the suspect’s death. However, that video may be connected.

“I know detectives are working on getting a copy of that at this time. I can’t confirm for sure that (it’s the video). But it does appear that footage is a clip of what led up to this,” O’Keefe said to KIRO Newsradio late Thursday.

I-5 north in Everett reopens after the officer-involved shooting

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) confirmed on X, formerly known as Twitter, just before midnight Thursday night that I-5 north reopened after the officer-involved shooting.

Previously, all lanes of I-5 north had been blocked and the left lane of I-5 south near Marine View Drive also was closed. WSDOT first announced the I-5 north blockage on X at 5:05 p.m. Subsequent updates at 6:34 p.m. and 8:49 p.m. provided the same message before announcing the reopening: Travelers and commuters should avoid the area and use alternate routes.

Image: Traffic backed up in on State Route 9 in Lake Stevens after Interstate 5 north in Everett was shut down and blocked. on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The closure was due to an officer-involved shooting.

Traffic backed up on State Route 9 in Lake Stevens after Interstate 5 north in Everett was shut down and blocked on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The closure was due to an officer-involved shooting. (Image courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation/@wsdot_traffic on X)

On Thursday afternoon, before WSDOT began providing traffic updates, WSP Trooper Kelsey Harding wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the freeway was “blocked due to ongoing police activity.”

She also asked “everyone to avoid the area until the incident has been resolved.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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I-5 north in Everett reopens after officer-involved shooting left suspect dead