Newly-released body camera video reveals the tense final moments before an officer-involved shooting that took the life of Army veteran Jed Zillmer on February 11 in Spokane Valley.
Zillmer, 23, was shot and killed by Spokane County Sheriff's deputies. He was an Army combat veteran who had received the Purple Heart for injuries he received while serving in Afghanistan. At the time of the shooting, Zillmer's family said his actions were uncharacteristic. They said they knew he had PTSD, they just didn't know how bad it was.
The video that has been released from the shooting was taken from a Liberty Lake police officer's body camera mounted on his chest.
Around 8 p.m. on February 11 officers had just finished following Zillmer for about an hour on a chase that went from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene and back to Spokane Valley, where he got off Interstate 90 and stopped at the intersection of Sullivan and Indiana near the Spokane Valley Mall.
Zillmer was believed to be on the phone with dispatchers throughout the entire chase.
The video shows no commands being shouted and a person can't see or hear much of what's going on until about three minutes into the clip.
Zillmer told 911 dispatchers he was suicidal, heavily armed, wearing a bulletproof vest and wanted to commit suicide by cop, even saying he would shoot civilians if it took too long for deputies to shoot him.
Two officers can be heard in the video speaking at one point; one asked, "What is he … taking off his vest?" The second replies, "Yep, making it easier for us."
Twenty seconds later, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has said Zillmer had the gun pointed at himself and then made a move.
Later, officers, believing Zillmer might have homemade bombs in his vehicle, approach him cautiously. Shortly afterward someone realizes he's still breathing and call for medics.
Then, for a split second at the end of the video, other weapons can be observed in the back of his vehicle.
Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker has not made a ruling yet on whether or not the shooting was justified.