Prosecutor Finds Deputy’s Use of Deadly Force Lawful

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Independent and concurrent investigations by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, regarding the shooting death of Eduardo Navarrete Cordero have been completed.

Navarrete Cordero, 35, died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies Christopher Kurkowski, Greg McClendon and James Oleole. Cordero was shot and killed after he lunged at Deputy Oleole while armed with a knife.

Pierce County Medical Examiner Doctor Thomas Clark performed an autopsy and determined that Cordero had 11 gunshot wounds, two of which would have been fatal. The toxicology report noted methamphetamine in Cordero’s system as well.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist concluded that the deputies acted lawfully.

“Mr. Cordero was suicidal and sadly chose to commit suicide-by-cop,” said Lindquist. “As a community, we need to address mental health issues before the conduct escalates into self-harm or harm to others.”

On Aug. 12, 2017 South Sound 911 received a call from a home on 189th Street Court East about a dispute. The caller said Cordero was high on meth and armed with a knife that had been pulled on another individual at the residence. Multiple deputies from the Pierce County Sherriff’s Department responded to the call due to there being a weapon involved. While en route, deputies were told that Cordero had left the residence and was last seen walking southbound on 74th Avenue East. The caller also stated that Cordero was armed with a knife and made threats to kill whoever tried to stop him.

The first deputies arrived at 6:42 a.m. and quickly confirmed Cordero was no longer at the residence. Responding deputies began an area check. Within minutes, Deputies Kurkowski and McClendon located Cordero near 74th Avenue and 190th Street Court East.

Additional deputies including Deputies Oleole and Hirschi responded to that location.  Deputies Kurkowski and McClendon gave Cordero several verbal commands to stop and drop the knife, but Cordero would not comply. Deputy Oleole gave Cordero verbal commands to drop the knife but again, Cordero would not comply. Cordero lunged at Deputy Oleole and the first shots were fired. Deputies Kurkowski, McClendon and Oleole fired rounds at Cordero due to the immediate threat to Deputy Oleole. Cordero was struck several times and fell to the ground with the knife still in his hand. Deputies requested medical aid but Cordero died before emergency responders arrived.

Doctor Clark also noted recent incised wounds to Cordero’s left wrist suggesting that Cordero had cut his wrist prior to this incident.

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