King County Sheriff fires detective over tactics that led to fatal shooting of man

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknect has fired a detective over the policy violations, tactics and officer safety decisions that led to the fatal shooting of a man in 2019.

On Nov. 25, 2019, Anthony Chilcott, 36, was fatally shot in Cumberland.

Days before the shooting, investigators said Chilcott stole a black Ford Raptor truck with a poodle dog belonging to the owner and it was caught on surveillance video.

The King County Sheriff’s Office said Detective George Alvarez was one of two detectives in plain clothes who spotted the stolen truck with the dog inside.

Deputies said Chilcott started ramming the patrol vehicle with the stolen pickup truck, prompting an altercation. Officers then fired shots while Chilcott was sitting in the car, killing him.

Johanknecht’s termination of Alvarez is based on his decisions leading up to the use of force and not based on the use of force or fatal shooting of Chilcott, the sheriff’s office said.

According to a news release, the sheriff found “clear and convincing evidence that the tactics used here were substantially below what is required in our de-escalation policy, expectations based on your years of training, experience level and organizational knowledge from lessons learned from prior events.”

The sheriff’s office said Alvarez was driving an unmarked vehicle, without lights and siren, and was not wearing a ballistic vest marked “SHERIFF” or clothing identifying himself as law enforcement, which violated the department’s procedures.

Alvarez’s termination is effective April 2.