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Inquest ordered into deputy's fatal shooting of man holding a pen

Tommy Le is seen in a family photo.

SEATTLE - King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Burien man by a sheriff's deputy .

King County Sheriff's Office deputy Cesar Molina shot Tommy Le in Burien on June 13 while responding to reports that Le was threatening people with a knife. Authorities say deputies confronted Le, who refused commands to drop what they thought was a knife.

More than a week later, the sheriff's office reported Le had a pen, not a knife. An autopsy also found that Le was shot twice in the back and once in the wrist.

Sheriff John Urquhart has said he would ask the FBI to take over the investigation, as Le's family requested.

In the June 13 incident, Molina and other deputies were sent to the 13600 block of Third Avenue South after several 911 callers claimed a man was in the neighborhood shouting, "I am the Creator" and "I am the killer" while trying to stab people.

While deputies investigated the incident, one of the alleged victims pointed out Le as the assailant, who was about half a block away and walking down the street toward the officers and residents with something in his hand, reports say.

Deputies confronted Le and ordered him to drop whatever was in his hand, according to the Sheriff's Office. Le continued to advance, however, prompting the deputies to back away and circle around him. The deputies then used their Tasers, which had no effect.

As Le continued to approach the deputies, Molina fired six times. Le was hit by three gunshots, which knocked him to the ground. Deputies offered first aid and medics took Le to Harborview Medical Center, but he was declared dead at the hospital.

Investigators learned the object in Le's hand at the time of the shooting was a pen.

Le lived around the corner from the site of the attacks.

The autopsy also revealed that Le - who was set to graduate from a high school program at South Seattle Community College later that day - had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he was shot, nor did he show signs of being a serial drug user.

His family claims he had never shown signs of mental health trouble. He was close with his family and lived with them until six months before his death, but still saw them daily.

Constantine's office says the purpose of inquests is to determine the causes and circumstances of any death involving a member of law enforcement while performing her or his duty.

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