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Originally published Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 8:32 PM

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Papers say deputy struggled with suspects before Sodo shooting

The King County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a man Monday at Sodo Station wrestled with two men, including one armed with a handgun, before opening fire, according to a court document.

Seattle Times staff reporter


A King County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot an armed 23-year-old man Monday afternoon at Sound Transit’s Sodo Station wrestled with the gunman and fended off an attack from behind by one of the man’s companions, according to a probable-cause statement that provides a narrative of the incident.

Mario Jesus Parra, also 23, is accused of grabbing the deputy’s gun arm from behind before the deputy opened fire, killing the man’s companion, according to the statement, which says the incident on the platform at the Link light-rail station was captured by video-surveillance cameras.

A judge ordered Parra, of Seattle, held in lieu of $100,000 bail Tuesday on investigation of unlawful possession of a firearm, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

According to the statement, Seattle police found a 9-mm handgun in Parra’s backpack along with two loaded magazines and 19 additional rounds of ammunition after the shooting. Parra, who is also identified as Parra-Cetina in the narrative, has a felony drug conviction that bars him from possessing a firearm, the statement says.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday did not release the identity of the man who was fatally shot. The name of the deputy also has not been released by the Sheriff’s Office, which typically does not release names of deputies involved in shootings until 48 hours after an incident.

Seattle police are investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Around 4 p.m. Monday, fare-enforcement officers contacted three men — two 23-year-olds and a 26-year-old — on a southbound train near the Stadium Station, said Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray.

One of the men — the 23-year-old who was later shot — could not show proof that he had paid his fare and refused to show the unarmed security officers his ID, Gray said.

The fare-enforcement officers, following protocol, called for Sound Transit police officers to meet them at the next station, which was the Sodo Station, he said. Sound Transit police are sheriff’s deputies contracted to patrol the transit agency’s trains, buses, stations and platforms, Gray said.

At 4:18 p.m., Seattle police received a “help the officer” call from Sound Transit police near Fifth Avenue and South Lander Street, according to the probable-cause statement about Parra’s arrest.

Video shows three men — the 23-year-old who was fatally shot, Parra and the 26-year-old man — getting off train 144B with three fare-enforcement officers, the statement says. Each of the three men carried a backpack, it says.

The 23-year-old pulled a gun on the deputy, holding the gun in his right hand, the statement says. The deputy wrestled with him and grabbed the man’s right wrist while drawing his own gun with his right hand, it says. During the struggle, Parra grabbed the deputy’s right wrist and arm from behind, according to the statement.

The deputy shot the armed 23-year-old and managed to break free from Parra’s grasp, the statement says. Parra fell to the ground and put his hands up as the deputy turned and pointed his gun at him, the statement says.

Parra slipped off his backpack as other officers arrived, according to the statement, which says the handgun and ammunition inside the bag were later discovered by crime-scene investigators.

Police say Parra claimed he was “playing with his phone when he got off the train and did not see anything,” the statement says.

During an interview with homicide detectives at Seattle police headquarters, “he claimed the property recovered from his person at our office was the only thing he had with him at the train platform,” the statement says of Parra. “When asked about the bag, he asked for an attorney.”

The 26-year-old man was interviewed and released, according to Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a Seattle police spokesman.

Court records show that Parra lives about 3½ miles south of the Sodo Station.

Gray, the Sound Transit spokesman, said fare-enforcement officers typically work in pairs from the rear of a train car, asking to see everyone’s proof of fare payment or ORCA cards. Riders who haven’t paid their fares usually are given at least one warning and are asked to show ID, which is photographed and added to a database, he said.

Failure to pay a transit fare carries a $124 fine, but fare-enforcement officers have “a lot of leeway” in deciding whether to give a warning or issue a ticket, he said.

“They’ll run into people who don’t want to show ID or claim not to have ID,” in which case the fare-enforcement officers will radio Sound Transit police to meet them at the next platform, Gray said. “When somebody doesn’t want to show ID — which they have to do by statute — that kind of sets off warnings,” as it did on Monday, he said.

“Obviously, this is the first incident like this that we’ve had,” Gray said of Monday’s officer-involved shooting.

Eight million riders rode Sound Transit in 2013, and fare-enforcement officers checked fares of about 10 percent of them, Gray said, adding the transit agency has a “fare-evasion rate” of just under 3 percent, which “is well below the industry standard.”

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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