Shoe may shed new light on police shooting of Henry Lee

by: Amy Clancy, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Updated:

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SEATTLE —

Seattle police shared information and photos on Tuesday that may help explain why two officers felt their only choice was to open fire on a 77-year-old south Seattle man, killing him late Sunday night.

 

Police released a photo of the gun they said Henry Lee raised toward police when two of the three officers opened fire.

 

They also released a photo of a shoe that investigators believe may have led Lee to arm himself.

 

The shoe is important because Lee had called 911 to report a prowler shortly after a man suffered some sort of medical emergency just outside his home.

 

Investigators said the shoe, found just outside Lee's front door, belongs to that man.

 

"Most likely, the man who was having the medical emergency in the car went up to Mr. Lee's house," said Deputy Chief Nick Metz at a news conference Tuesday morning. "We don't know for what purpose at this point. We don't know if he was disoriented, or if he was seeking assistance. So, Mr. Lee may have thought that there was someone actually trying to get into his home."

 

Police also revealed Tuesday that Lee never spoke directly with 911 dispatchers to report the prowler. All communication went through a medical alert system.

 

"So basically, it went from Mr. Lee, to the medical alert system, to our 911 center, from our 911 center, back through medical alert, to Mr. Lee. So our 911 center never had direct communication with him," Metz said.

 

Police also said that the medical alert system never provided any information about Lee's medical condition.  Lee's family said he suffered from Alzheimer's.

 

Investigators said the health information might have helped, but might not have changed the outcome.

 

Lee's family members could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

 

The Seattle Police Department investigation continues.

 

There was be an inquest and a firearms review.

 

See the SPD's Firearms Review Board Process

 

See the King County Inquest Process