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Family, community gather to talk about justice for Tommy Le

KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen
Tommy Le's family sit front and center at Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS) in Seattle.

A community forum was held Wednesday night in Seattle, to give people a chance to talk about the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Tommy Le. Parents of the young man spoke about his death.

Silence filled the room as Tommy’s mother, Dieu Nguyen, stepped up to the microphone, speaking in Vietnamese: “Chưa bao giờ đánh lộn hoặc là đánh nhau với người khác.”

Nguyen said her son was a gentle boy who never hit anyone or got into any fights.

Last month, officers responded to call about “a man with a knife” in a Burien neighborhood. A report from the King County Sheriff’s Office said the man, later recognized as Le, shouted in the streets, trying to stab people. Officers used Tasers that had no effect on Le and the encounter ended with gunshots.

A pen is the item he held when he was shot, but that wasn’t known to officers at the time.

Le’s father, Sunny Le, asked why.

“Tôi muốn biết tại sao bây giờ, tại sao con tôi không cầm một vũ khí mà cảnh sát đã bắn con tôi.”

He said, “I want to know why my kid was shot when he wasn’t holding any weapons.” Le also said there's no greater pain than losing your own child.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said he’s reaching out to the FBI to take over the investigation.

Ed: Translation by Angela Nhi Nguyen with help from her aunt.