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Originally published December 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 26, 2007 at 4:03 PM

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Investigation under way to see if suspect fatally shot on I-5 was on drugs

Authorities are investigating whether a 27-year-old Olympia man a trooper fatally shot Tuesday may have been under the influence of drugs...

Seattle Times staff reporters

Authorities are investigating whether a 27-year-old Olympia man a trooper fatally shot Tuesday may have been under the influence of drugs.

Officials with the King County Medical Examiner's Office said they are awaiting toxicology tests on the man who jumped out of his family's vehicle and ran through traffic on Interstate 5.

"His behavior was unusual, not normal," said Stacy Flores, spokeswoman for the Federal Way Police Department, which is investigating the shooting.

Several people called 911 around 2:30 p.m. to report that the man had jumped out of a moving car near the onramp at South 320th Street. Witnesses said he dropped his pants around his ankles and was exposing himself to motorists, Flores said.

By the time State Patrol troopers arrived, the man had his pants back on, but his belt was in his hand and he was using it to strike passing cars, Flores said. He also tried to pry open some car doors.

It took about 15 minutes for the State Patrol to arrive, said State Patrol spokesman Cliff Pratt. The man tried to choke a 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 the Taser made contact but didn't stop the man, Flores said, or that it didn't penetrate his clothing.

"Once he made it onto I-5, he was lying down in traffic and running back and forth, trying to cause collisions," Pratt said.

Trooper Mike Cheek then shot the man.

Cheek, who patrols South King County, was not hurt and has been placed on administrative leave, the State Patrol said today.

Cheek has been with the State Patrol for 11 years and never involved in another fatal shooting while with the department, according to the State Patrol. The suspect had been in a car with his girlfriend and their two children, boys ages 11 and 12. At least one 911 call was made from that car, with the caller saying the man had a handgun, police said.

Flores said detectives are still investigating whether the suspect had a gun. She said it's unknown whether the man drew a gun at any point when he was on the roadway Tuesday.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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