Officer-involved shooting deemed ‘legal and justified’

The incident ending in the death of Willie McCord was a matter of self- and community-defense.

BREMERTON — A memorandum regarding an officer-involved shooting Dec. 17, 2017, was released by the Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office June 14.

The case under review involved Bremerton Police Officers Kent Mayfield and Allan McComas, both of whom were involved in the fatal shooting of Willie McCord in December.

The memorandum, written by Tina Robinson, prosecuting attorney, asserts that Mayfield’s and McComas’ “actions in defending themselves and this community were both legal and justified.”

McCord was issued a domestic violence no-contact order on Nov. 14, prohibiting contact with his wife and from being within 500 feet of their residence. McCord was suspected of violating the no-contact order on three separate occasions between the issue of the order and Dec. 17.

On Dec. 17, Mayfield, who was on duty, drove into the Lions Park parking lot at 1:15 a.m. and saw what he believed to be McCord’s vehicle; Lions Park is within 500 feet of the McCord residence, which indicated McCord’s presence was a violation of the no-contact order. Mayfield called McComas for backup, then approached the vehicle, identified himself as a police officer, then asked for identification, confirming the vehicle’s occupant as McCord. McComas arrived shortly after Mayfield received the identification.

According to the memorandum, as McComas stepped up to the vehicle’s doorway to speak to McCord, “he observed a silver-colored revolver in the driver’s side-door pocket.”

“Officer McComas asked McCord to place his hands on the steering wheel and then attempted to engage McCord in conversation to divert his attention and gauge McCord’s level of cooperation,” Robinson wrote.

“When Officer McComas observed McCord’s attention was briefly diverted, he decided it was necessary to control the situation by removing the gun from McCord’s reach.

“McCord, however, realized Officer McComas’ intent to remove the gun and launched out of the RAV 4 (his vehicle), grabbing for the gun. A struggle ensued, with Officer McComas and McCord both holding the gun and trying to pull it away from the other.”

Ultimately, McComas was able to pull the gun from McCord’s grasp, but McCord continued to struggle. McComas passed off the gun to Mayfield to try and handle McCord, but Mayfield was “forced out of necessity to quickly toss the revolver he had been handed toward the grass, off to the front of the driver’s side of the RAV 4, so that he could assist Officer McComas.”

Both officers heard, around that time, a shot. Mayfield felt a “sharp pain in his left hip and right side” and retreated toward McComas’ vehicle. McComas, continuing to struggle with McCord, said he “felt a searing pain in his lower right side, and knew he had been shot.”

“Officer McComas now realized that he was dealing with an armed suspect who was wanted for several domestic violence crimes, was actively using lethal force to resist arrest and was an immediate threat to Officer McComas, Officer Mayfield and the citizens in and around the Lions Park area,” Robinson wrote. “Based on these factors, Officer McComas drew his own firearm, a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, and maneuvered for cover behind the RAV 4.”

According to the report, McCord then re-entered his vehicle for “approximately three seconds” and came out “armed with two handguns.” He approached the officers “in a crouched position with both arms stretched out in front of him with both guns pointed in Officer Mayfield’s direction, continually firing the guns at both Officer Mayfield and Officer McComas.”

When McCord came fully into view, “Officer McComas fired several more rounds at McCord until he fell to the ground and lay motionless.”

Mayfield, who “Having already been shot and realizing that McCord was an immediate deadly threat to both himself and Officer McComas,” also began firing his department-issued pistol at McCord, and did so until McCord stopped moving toward him and fell to the ground.

McCord was declared dead at the scene. The cause of death was determined to be by multiple gunshot wounds — having been shot 10 times. His blood/alcohol level was 0.082, and no illegal drugs were in his system.

McComas was shot once, the report stated Mayfield was shot twice and sustained three wounds, including one that entered his abdomen and required surgery.

“There is no question that at the time Officers Mayfield and McComas drew their weapons and fired at Willie McCord, they were defending their lives, and the lives of anyone else who may have been in the vicinity,” Robinson wrote. “Both officers were shot by the suspect before either officer drew his own weapon.”

Their actions were legally justifiable, according to RCW 9A.16.02(3) and RCW 9A.16.040(1)&(2), Robinson stated.

“Officer Mayfield’s and Officer McComas’ actions in defending themselves and the lives of others was legal, absolutely justified and in dedicated, selfless performance of their duties as law enforcement and public servants of this community,” Robinson added.

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