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Originally published July 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM | Page modified July 22, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Woman identifies man killed in Walmart shooting

A 29-year-old man who was shot and killed by Federal Way police at a Walmart parking lot on Thursday had a criminal history and a troubled background, but also had a "heart of gold," according to a woman who knew him.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A woman who knew the man who was fatally shot by a police officer outside a Federal Way Walmart on Thursday said he was troubled.

Jedidiah J. Waters' criminal record shows a pattern of theft, robbery, drug use and assault. He was sent to prison in 2007 for violating an order of protection that banned him from seeing his on-and-off again girlfriend.

In May, the 29-year-old failed to report to his state Department of Correction (DOC) probation officer, and he was wanted on a warrant when he was shot by a Federal Way police officer, according to DOC spokesman Chad Lewis.

But according to Deb Shamley, his longtime girlfriend's stepmother, Waters "had a really good heart, a heart of gold. Despite all his troubles, you couldn't help but love him."

Waters was killed Thursday afternoon after he reportedly reached for a handgun while being chased by police, according to Lt. Pat Lowery of the Kent Police Department, which is investigating the shooting.

Shamley, of Florence, Ore., confirmed Waters' identity although his name had not been released by authorities Friday.

She said Waters' mother had been in and out of prison during his childhood and that he had been raised in foster homes.

When Waters and Shamley's stepdaughter talked about getting married a few years back, Waters asked if he could take their last name.

"We were all he had," Deb Shamley said. "He didn't have a family of his own."

The couple never married.

Lowery said the shooting came after Walmart loss-prevention officers saw a man allegedly shoplifting and kept him under observation while police waited outside the store.

When the man left the store around 6 p.m., two officers tried to contact him and he bolted, Lowery said.

He ran across the parking lot, leading police on a short chase, according to police.

"As officers closed their distance on the suspect, the suspect stopped suddenly, spinning toward the officers while reaching for a handgun located at his ankle," Lowery wrote in a statement released on Friday.

One of the officers, an eight-year veteran of the Federal Way department, fired several shots, hitting the man, according to the statement.

Paramedics attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Lowery.

A handgun was found on him, Lowery said.

The officer, who has not been identified, is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Court documents indicate Waters had numerous misdemeanor and felony convictions for theft, drug possession and domestic-violence assault.

He was arrested several times for violating separate orders of protection prohibiting him from contacting Shamley's stepdaughter, who was the mother of his child.

Shamley's stepdaughter unsuccessfully tried to have the protection order lifted, writing in a 2006 court document that Waters had never hurt her, was a good father and provider and that their family had been "shattered" by the no-contact order.

Waters was sent to prison for violation of the no-contact order in 2007 and released in 2008, according to DOC spokesman Lewis, who said Waters had been classified as a "high-risk violent offender."

According to Deb Shamley, Waters had been doing well for a period of time and had been "clean and sober for about a year."

But something changed a couple months ago, she said.

"I don't know what happened," she said. "He was doing real well when all of a sudden he took a wrong path."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf and staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to this report.

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