Daniel Covarrubias, 37, was shot by two police officers in a Lakewood, Washington lumberyard last month after mistaking the man’s cellphone to be a gun, informed interim Lakewood Police Chief Mark Zaro.
Zaro broke the news during a press conference on Monday. The incident was reported to 911 by an employee at the lumberyard who saw Covarrubias running from the police after hearing sirens. When officers David Butts and Ryan Hamilton approached, they tried to talk to him, but Covarrubias climbed above a 25-feet-tall pile of lumber.
“Mr. Covarrubias was in an elevated position atop the stack of lumber and was seen reaching into his pockets,” Zaro said. “Officers gave numerous commands to show his hands, but Mr. Covarrubias did not respond. Seconds later, Mr. Covarrubias raised up with a dark object in his hands and pointed it at the officers in a manner that was consistent with pointing a firearm.”
Covarrubias pointed the dark object to the officers multiple times. Thinking the object to be a gun, the two officers fired nine shots at Covarrubias, who was hit five times. He died on the spot.
Covarrubias was taken down by a ladder and put in a ambulance. The officers discovered that the dark object in his hand was not a gun, but a cell phone.
Investigations suggested that Covarrubias was not medically and mentally fit.
“It was not him holding the phone in his hand like he was making a phone call, it was not just him holding up a dark object, he was definitely described by not just the officers but the civilian witnesses as him mimicking a gun,” Zaro said.
Both officers returned to duty after going through the necessary process.