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King County to pay $5M for 2017 Shooting Death of Tommy Le


King County has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Tommy Le. Le, a 20-year- was shot and killed by a King County Sheriff’s Deputy in Burien on the night of his 2017 graduation.

“Le reportedly ran at deputies who had responded to a report of a disoriented man, possibly armed with a knife or sharp object, who had frightened and threatened several people in a Burien neighborhood the evening of June 14, 2017,” writes Mike Carter of the Seattle Times. “The Sheriff’s Office initially reported Le had attacked the deputies with a knife or sharp object and was shot in self-defense.”


Read Carter’s full article on the county’s settlement and reaction from the Le family: King County Sheriff’s Office will pay $5 million settlement in deputy’s fatal shooting of Tommy Le

Statement from King County Council: 

king county metropolitan council logoKing County Councilmember Joe McDermott is releasing the following statement concerning today’s news of a $5 million settlement between the King County Sheriff’s Office and the family of Tommy Le, a 20-year old high school student shot and killed by a deputy in 2017. Le was a resident of Burien and a constituent of McDermott.

“The painful loss of Tommy’s life cannot be made right, but I hope the conclusion of this particular legal process might allow his family to move toward some peace. Tommy’s killing shed a bright and tragic light on the need for accountability and reform in the King County Sheriff’s Office and how we envision providing safety within our communities. I’ll continue to hold Tommy’s memory close as we move forward with implementing the reform of the Sherriff’s office that King County voters demanded last November.”

Statement from King County Sheriff:

The King County Sheriff’s Office was ready and willing to try this case in a court of law.king county sheriff's office, kcso, king county sheriff,


Although the parties do not agree on the fundamental facts of this case, we are pleased this settlement will allow everyone to avoid a difficult, and likely painful, trial.

King County Sheriff’s Deputy Cesar Molina was dismissed from the lawsuit as a named party as a condition of the settlement.

The above statements were issued by the King County Council and King County Sheriff’s Office. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified their contents. 

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