Widow of former soldier wants police shooting inquest

TACOMA, Wash. -- The widow of a former soldier gunned down by police is calling for a public inquest into the shooting.

Brian McLeod died following a fight in his University Place apartment. McLeod's family and friends staged a demonstration Thursday after the medical examiner turned down the request.

The entrance to the Pierce County-City Building was clogged with protestors saying they want justice for McLeod. The 25-year-old who had just gotten out of the Army was shot and killed by a Fircrest police officer and a sheriff's deputy on March 20.

"It's the worst thing I could ever imagine," said widow Katie McLeod. She didn't witness the shooting, but is confident her husband did nothing wrong. "He made it through a year in Afghanistan watching friends die and then comes home and gets killed in his own home."

But the sheriff's office says neighbors reported a violent fight between McLeod and an Army buddy. They say they announced themselves and the friend came out an laid on the ground.

"The second male came out carrying a shotgun, pistol-grip shotgun," said Det. Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. "He raised it up and leveled it at our police officers and one of our officers fired at him."

McLeod's family sees it differently.

"Why did the officers not announce themselves as officers?" asked McLeod's brother in law Joseph Norton. "And why was force used when he was standing in his own home?" Katie said, "We want to have an inquest so we can look further into this and get the answers that we deserve. I don't want it to be swept under the rug."

But Pierce County says it's been 10 years since the last inquest and that was ordered only because the officers refused to cooperate. They believe the system in place gives a full airing of the facts. The medical examiner has already turned down the request for an inquest.

"The family wants an inquest and they want answers and they'll have the full report," Troyer said. "We're not hiding anything. We are just not done with the investigation."

The prosecutor has the final say and the case hasn't even been presented to him for consideration. He says this protest is premature. However, he also said there's no indication that one will be needed.

The demonstrators plan on returning Friday to continue to put pressure on the county.

The two officers have already been returned to duty.