TUMWATER, Wash. — With his cell phone, Sven Akerman Jr. captured the moment Jose Diaz drove a truck toward police in Tumwater Wednesday evening.
“As he hit the gas, the threat level was certainly high for that officer,” Akerman said.
Before the shooting, police said the 20-year-old Diaz was allegedly driving erratically in the parking lot of a Tumwater Safeway. According to court documents, he was driving from Gilroy, Calif. to Washington D.C. to talk to the FBI about threats to his family by drug cartels. He mistakenly wound up in Washington State where his journey ended in a confrontation with members of the Tumwater Police Department.
Officers surrounded Diaz and tried to talk him into surrendering. At the same time, Diaz was on the phone with the FBI, telling them he wanted the officers to shoot him.
“He was on the phone with the FBI and wanted to commit suicide by cop,” said Tumwater police spokesperson Laura Wohl.
Akerman watched and recorded as Tumwater police, backed by Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies, negotiated with Diaz.
“While I was sitting there recording, there was just a lot of conversation,” Akerman said. “Looked like they were trying to talk him down or whatever.”
The video shows Diaz driving in loops around the parking lot. According to a probable cause affidavit, he admitted that he drove toward police in an effort to get them to shoot. The gunfire missed Diaz, who suffered only minor injuries.
According to the affidavit, he lied to officers about having a gun, hoping that would cause them to shoot him. During a long negotiation, he tried to cut his throat with a knife. Just before sundown, he finally surrendered.
Diaz appeared in Thurston County Superior Court this afternoon draped in a suicide prevention smock. He faces a charge of first degree assault and was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
“You know, it’s kind of surreal,” Akerman said. “You’re going to pick up some veggies at the grocery store, you don’t expect to see something like this go down.”
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