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Suquamish shooting investigation complete, now in prosecuting attorney's hands

Inside the Black
Inside the Black's home, where remnants of Tony Black's death, such as the cardboard covering where the bullet struck the wall, are still visible.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

PORT ORCHARD — The nearly month-long investigation is over. And now Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Russell Hauge is reviewing the investigation report and will decide whether charges are warranted in the police shooting death of a Suquamish man.

Thomas Anthony Black, 44, was killed Dec. 8 when police attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Stacy Callihoo, 42, who was in the Black home. The warrant was issued by Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Court and was being served by Port Gamble S’Klallam, Suquamish and Kitsap County Sheriff’s officers.

Police said they told Black, who was seated, to keep his hands where they could see them. They said they shot him when he raised his hands holding what they thought was a gun. Investigation determined Black was unarmed. A toy gun was reportedly found in the room, although Black’s sister, Sherri, who lived with her brother, said they did not have a toy gun.

Black was sitting on a daybed in the corner of the living room when he was shot, according to Sherri, about 15 feet from the front sliding glass door. After shots were fired, police retreated from the house and secured the area. SWAT officers and a crisis negotiator went to the scene. Callihoo didn't come out of the house for two hours. Officers then entered the house and found Black dead.

Callihoo, who is Port Gamble S’Klallam, was booked into county jail for failure to appear in tribal court for a probation violation; he was on probation for indecent liberties and assault. He is now serving two years in Chehalis Tribal Jail.

Hauge was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Drury said Hauge received the report in a binder Jan. 5, and could make a decision within two weeks.

Drury said that although the shooting took place within the boundaries of the Port Madison Reservation, any charges would be filed by the prosecuting attorney because the shooting took place on fee-simple land – that is, land that has passed from Native ownership to non-Native ownership; Black is not Native.

Because of the checkerboard of Native and non-Native land ownership on the reservation, sheriff's deputies and Suquamish police are often jointly dispatched to calls, Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said.

Wilson said investigators are not disclosing who fired the fatal shots — that will be up to Hauge — but did say it was not a sheriff’s officer.

In a statement issued Dec. 15, Suquamish Police Chief Mike Lasnier said body cameras worn by his officers captured the circumstances leading to the shooting.

“When a subject in a dark room full of police officers refuses multiple commands to show their hands, and then suddenly reaches and swings up with what appears to be a gun, any sane person knows how the officers are going to react,” Lasnier’s statement read.

“The fact that the gun found near the subject was not an operational firearm should not be misinterpreted. The Lakewood Police recently arrested an armed robber who had committed over 30 robberies with a 'toy' gun. The robber wasn’t released 'because it’s not a real gun'; he’s being charged with the robberies ... Law enforcement officers can not hesitate when a subject suddenly produces a firearm, or assume it’s a toy."

 

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