Deputy shoots, kills man on I-5 overpass; family stunned

Deputy shoots, kills man on I-5 overpass; family stunned »Play Video
Justin Gaswint is seen with his baby daughter in this undated family photo.
LYNNWOOD, Wash. - A Snohomish County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a 32-year-old man Saturday morning during a fight on the 164th Street overpass spanning Interstate 5 in Lynnwood, officials said.

Stunned family members of the man - who they identified as as Justin Gaswint, 32 - were left reeling in disbelief after the fatal shooting.

The drama began when a deputy stopped to talk to the man as he was walking across the overpass at about 5:30 a.m., said Sgt. Robert Goetz of the Everett police.

As the deputy got out of his patrol car, the man charged the deputy, threatening to kill him, and a fight ensued, Goetz said.

At some point during the fight the deputy shot Gaswint once in the upper torso, Goetz said. Gaswint was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he died later.

A small army of police, deputies and emergency personnel swarmed to the scene immediately after the shooting. One witness said she counted 27 officers there.

"The entire overpass was covered with police. Literally I counted 27," said the witness, Sadie Favor.

Family members of Gaswint were left stunned by the fatal shooting.

 Patrol cars and a fire truck are parked on 164th Street during an investigation of the deputy-involved shooting.


"Her brother told me he was shot by a police officer. We don't know how, if he was defending himself," says Sean Stevenson, Gaswint's brother-in-law.

Investigators say it's still unclear why the deputy wanted to stop Gaswint in the first place.

"We haven't interviewed the deputy, so we don't know the details regarding the reason for the stop," said Sgt. Goetz.

Gaswint has an extensive criminal history and went to prison for assaulting his wife.

His family issued a statement, saying, "He had a huge heart and so much potential. We will miss him dearly. He leaves behind a caring family and a beautiful little girl, Kathryn, named after our mother."

The deputy who fired the fatal shot is 25 years old and has been with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for more than three years. The deputy is expected to be placed on paid administrative leave, a routine procedure following officer-involved shootings.

The 164th Street overpass over I-5 was closed to auto and pedestrian traffic for several hours after the shooting, but has now reopened.

This is the second fatal officer-involved shooting by Snohomish County deputies in as many weeks. Last week, a deputy shot a man inside a home near Bothell during a disturbance call. The man later died.

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If anyone witnessed the incident on 164th Street they are asked to call 911 or the Everett Police Department tip line at (425) 257-8450.