Maple Valley man fatally shot by Seattle officers

Seattle Police officers fatally shot a University of Washington student from Maple Valley early Thursday morning while investigating complaints of gunfire.

Miles Murphy, 22, died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was taken after two officers fired seven shots at him when he reportedly refused to put down a rifle.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the officers responded at 1:55 a.m. to 9-1-1 calls about rifle or shotgun shots being fired in an alley in the city’s University District. The officers encountered Murphy and ordered him to give up what was later described as a vintage rifle, and opened fire on him when he didn’t respond, authorities said.

Murphy didn’t shoot at the officers, officials said.

He was a senior at UW.

Murphy reportedly was a military history buff. He was a senior at UW and was majoring in German-related subjects, according to the university.

“We mourn the loss of a member of the UW community and extend our condolences to his family and friends,” said university president Mark Emmert.

In information on its Web site, the Seattle Police Department stated that “officers responded to 9-1-1 calls of shots being fired by a group of males in an alley west of the 5200 block of 17th Avenue Northeast. The suspects were reported to be armed with rifles and/or shotguns and wearing military clothing. Uniformed officers arrived on scene and were contacted by witnesses who told them that they saw several males outside, one or more dressed in a military uniform, firing rounds into the air. The witnesses said that the suspects might have gone into a basement apartment. Officers approached the location in question and guarded the door.”

Someone later identified as Murphy “emerged from a basement door with a military rifle” that had a bayonet attached to it “and pointed the rifle in the direction of the officers,” the department reported. The officers identified themselves “and ordered the suspect to drop the rifle multiple times. The suspect failed to comply. The suspect pointed the rifle at the officers, at which time the officers shot him. Medics were immediately summoned.”

The officers involved in the shooting are assigned to patrol duty. One has 10 years of experience with the Seattle department and the other seven years.

The incident was under investigation by Seattle Police detectives, officials said.