Man shot dead by Everett police is ID'd

Man shot dead by Everett police is ID'd
Detectives continue their investigation of the shooting scene on Thursday morning.
EVERETT, Wash. - An apparently intoxicated man who was shot dead by Everett police late Wednesday has been identified as Niles Leo Meservey, 51, of Stanwood.

The man's identity was released by the Snohomish County medical examiner, who also confirmed that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Officials say an Everett officer fired a Taser at Meservey and then shot him several times after he refused to get out of his car and drove into a fence outside the Chuckwagon Inn restaurant in Everett.

Witnesses had reported hearing several gunshots. Elizabeth Thornes, a witness who was knocked down when the man's white Corvette hit the fence, says as many as six shots were fired at the drunk driver.

Officers tried to revive the man, but he died at the scene.

The bartender who served Meservey says he was an "innocent victim."

"I don't know, it was just so innocent - he just was innocent," says the bartender, Cindy Whitaker, adding he had only one beer at the Chuckwagon Inn.

In the incident's aftermath, investigators are trying to determine how a minor flare-up involving an apparently belligerent drunk could turn deadly so quickly.

Snohomish County officials said police became involved when several people called 911 to report that Meservey insisted on driving home despite being drunk.

Police responded to the Chuckwagon Inn, in the 6700 block of Evergreen Way, at about 11:30 p.m. and ordered Meservey to get out of his car, a white Corvette.

But he refused to get out, revved his engine, and slammed into a cyclone fence, police said. When the Corvette hit the fence, the fence buckled and struck Thornes, who was standing nearby, and knocked her to the ground.

At some point during the incident, officers fired a Taser at Meservey as he sat behind the wheel.

It's unclear exactly what happened next, but shots were fired and Meservey was hit. Officers tried to administer first aid to the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"They told him to get out of the car ... and he wouldn't do it. And he started up his car, and he revved up the engine, and they told him to shut it off, and he didn't do it," said one witness, John, who didn't want his last name used.

"It hit the cyclone fence there, and all of a sudden I heard shots fired," said another witness who was nearby at the time of the shooting.

Police officials have not said exactly what prompted the officer to open fire, and some witnesses said police had the Corvette boxed in with their patrol cars so he couldn't have driven away.

No one else was injured in the incident.

Investigators interviewed witnesses at the scene and were working to determine how many shots were fired and by whom.

The 41-year-old officer who opened fire has been with the Everett Police Department for 11 years. He was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure any time an officer fires a weapon on duty.

A Snohomish County task force is investigating the shooting.