2 fatal officer-involved shootings in Yakima County within 24 hours

2 fatal officer-involved shootings in Yakima County within 24 hours

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- Two deadly police shootings only a few hours apart is a rare thing here in Yakima County. What we saw last weekend is the most we've seen in almost three years.
   
Gunfire rocked the night in Selah back in 2011. Bullets were exchanged between a suspect and police. This had been the last time a Yakima Officer fatally shot someone until just this past weekend. The shooting Friday in Selah and the shooting Saturday in Yakima made for a shock to the community and to the department.

"Timing is not in our hands," YPD Capt. Rod Light said. "It's not predictable to us. We can't establish when a shooting is going to take place or when someone's going to make poor decisions in their life and decide to challenge law enforcement with a deadly weapon."

KIMA pulled the numbers to see how often officer-involved shootings have happened in the Yakima Valley. There was one in all of last year. It happened in Sunnyside. The Sheriff's Department killed a man in Selah back in 2012. Those gunshots in 2011 were one of four officer-involved shootings that year. All but one involved YPD.

Covering the last three years local law enforcement agencies have killed six people. All were ruled justifiable meaning the officer acted appropriately based on the situation.

"They're trained what to do and how to react in those critical seconds that they have to make a decision to take ones life," Light said. 

It's standard procedure to put officers on leave following a shooting. There can even be a waiting period before the officer is interviewed.

"There has to be an opportunity of time for the officer," Light said. 

Two investigations will take place in tandem for both of these recent shootings. One will determine if the killing was justified. The other will determine if the officer followed department rules and state law. Results for both are not expected quickly.

The five officers on the SWAT team involved in Friday's shootout are on administrative leave. However, they could transition back to active duty quickly. The other investigation will take longer.