EVERETT, Wash. - A 60-year-old man died at the Snohomish County Jail late Friday evening, according to the Everett Police Department.
The incident happened after 9:30 p.m. when Everett police responded to a report of a man shoplifting at the 76 gas station at 3532 Broadway.
When officers arrived at the scene, they took Bill Williams into custody for the theft and brought him to the Snohomish County Jail.
Police said when Williams arrived at the jail, he became combative and actively resisted jail staff.
According to police, Williams was Tased, and then he was put into an isolation room.
As staff checked on Williams, they noticed he was distressed and performed CPR.
The Everett Fire Department was called in for assistance, but Williams died.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Alison Grande spoke with Williams’ family and they said he was mentally ill, and tried to get him help.
“His life was so difficult. Anyway for it to end like this, and die alone in his cell, is just incomprehensible,” said Williams’ daughter, Trina Blau. “There’s a hospital right there where they could have shot him up with a sedative to figure it out. Instead, they shot him with a Taser and he’s dead.”
Surveillance video from the convenience store showed Williams jumping over the counter to grab cigarettes, and then come back for a six-pack of beer.
Hardep Singn was working the evening of the incident and said he was scared.
“I’m scared, safety first,” said Singh. “He’s a good guy. He all the time buys stuff from here.”
Singh also said that he recognized Williams, who has been in the store before without a problem.
Williams’ family said he was off his medication, and Blau called 911 Thursday trying to get him taken to the mental hospital.
“They talked to him for 15 seconds. If they would have talked to him 10 seconds longer, they would have seen he wasn’t lucid,” said Blau. “I firmly believe my dad would be alive if they would have just taken the time to listen.”
Williams’ family left candles lit outside of the jail Saturday night because they wanted people to know what happened.
“It doesn’t have to happen, it shouldn’t have happened, and it never needs to happen again,” said Blau. “The system that we have right now that incarcerates people who are mentally ill is broken, and until that’s fixed, more people will die.”
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death, and the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team initiated an investigation into the death.