BELLEVUE, Wash. - The shooting death of 51-year-old robbery suspect Russell Smith was caught on camera. KIRO 7 obtained the video from the camera mounted inside the Bellevue SWAT vehicle.
The shooting happened in Columbia City, March 22, 2013. Bellevue police were going to arrest Smith in connection with several robberies in Bellevue.
When they approached the house, they found Smith was sitting in a Mercedes outside. The video shows the car back up and hit a truck, then pull forward. Smith’s son, Colin Clark, is convinced his dad was trying to get away.
“My dad was not trying to kill and police officers. I believe he was trying to get away from them,” said Clark.
Bellevue police believed they were in danger, three swat officers opened fire and killed Smith. Clark said his dad was not armed, police considered his vehicle to be the weapon. Clark requested the video from police. It will be key evidence in the inquest set to start Dec. 9th.
While it’s hard for Clark to see, he wanted the public to see it and make up their own minds. Clark thinks police should have arrested his father when he checked in with his corrections officer or at work.
“They need to be held accountable for what they did,“ said Clark.
KIRO 7 contacted Bellevue police Tuesday night.
“Chief [Linda] Pillo commented that the video confirms the statements of the officers,” Bellevue Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said Wednesday afternoon in a written statement. “Russell Smith was a serial armed robber, a convicted felon and on parole. Once he knew the Bellevue Police were set to arrest him, he tried to escape.
“As the video shows, he first rammed a truck on the street, and then started to speed toward the officers who were able to shoot and prevent him from hitting and killing anyone. Protecting lives is at the heart of everything we do. No law enforcement officer ever wants to use lethal force.”