Armed man shot dead by Centralia officer after foot chase

CENTRALIA, Wash. - A man armed with a knife was shot dead by a police officer following a foot chase and a confrontation early Thursday in Centralia.

The incident began at about 2:20 a.m. when an officer spotted a suspicious man behind a closed business in the in the 1200 block of Mellen Street, said Patricia Finch of the Centralia police.

The officer approached the man, who ignored the officer and started to walk away. The officer then followed the man across Mellen Street toward an abandoned building.

Once near the building, the officer again contacted the man, who brandished a knife at the officer. The officer ordered the man to drop the knife, but he did not do so and told the officer he had a gun.

The suspect then turned away from the officer and took off running. Another Centralia officer arrived on scene and started to pursue the suspect on foot.

In the 1200 block of Elm Street, the man stopped and confronted the officer with the knife. At some point during the confrontation, the suspect was shot by the officer.

The suspect, a 48-year-old man with an out-of-state ID card, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Phil Weismiller, a former Army captain with more than five years experience in the Centralia and Kelso police departments, was later identified as the officer who pulled the trigger.

He has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, in accordance with standard operating procedure.

The other officer at the scene was identified as Tracy Murphy, who will remain on duty.