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Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - Page updated at 12:07 PM

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Trooper kills man on I-5 after struggle

Seattle Times staff reporter

A state trooper shot and killed a 27-year-old Olympia man who had gotten out of a car on an Interstate 5 onramp, taken off his clothes, run around in traffic, and tried to choke the trooper Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The man, whose name was not released, died at the scene, said Trooper Cliff Pratt, a spokesman for the State Patrol. Police said they did not know how many shots were fired.

The trooper was not injured in the incident, which occurred near Federal Way and shut down two lanes of northbound I-5 and the southbound HOV lane. The State Patrol has asked the Federal Way Police Department to conduct the investigation.

Several people called 911 around 2:30 p.m. to report that a man had jumped out of a moving car near the onramp at South 320th Street and was "doing everything from taking his clothes off to running down the ramp and striking cars with his belt as they drove by," Pratt said. "Once he made it onto I-5, he was laying down in traffic and running back and forth, trying to cause collisions."

He also tried to pry open some car doors, according to Federal Way police.

The man had been in a car with a female driver and two juvenile passengers. At least one 911 call was made from that car, with the caller saying the man had a handgun, said Stacy Flores, spokeswoman for the Federal Way department. It was not known, Flores said, whether the man drew a gun during the incident.

Flores did not know the relationship between the others in the car and the man. Police were questioning the occupants of the car.

It took about 15 minutes for the State Patrol to arrive, Pratt said. The man tried to choke the trooper, and hit him repeatedly, possibly with his belt, Pratt said.

The trooper used a Taser on the man, Flores said, but it was "ineffective." That could mean that the Taser made contact but didn't stop the man, Flores said, or that it didn't penetrate his clothing.

The trooper, whose name was not released Tuesday, has been with the State Patrol for 11 years. He has been placed on standard administrative leave, the Federal Way department said.

Passengers on a stopped bus were among those who witnessed the incident, Flores said.

Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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