On Friday, June 23, the King County Sheriff’s Office released dramatic 9-1-1 call audio and dispatch recordings, along with new information about the fatal officer-involved shooting of Tommy Le in Burien on June 13.

As we previously reported, police say that around midnight on June 13, they received multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a “man with a knife” and gunfire on S. 136th Street near 3rd Ave S.

Originally, it was reported that Le was brandishing a knife, when in reality it turned out to be a pen.

Callers described him as wearing “black shorts,” running around in his bare feet and shouting “I am the Creator” and “I am the killer” as he tried to stab people.

Ten patrol units headed toward the call.

Click each ‘Play’ button below to hear the raw, harrowing 9-1-1 calls below; in some you can hearing shouting in the background as the incident unfolds (NOTE: we have removed all identifying/contact information from the raw audio of these calls):

Man who fired warning shot at Le:

Man who witnessed the warning shot from across the street:

Man who followed Le, thought he had a knife and heard him call himself “The Creator”:

Woman who heard gunshot and hid:

Police also released a 40-minute audio recording of their internal dispatch calls:

Three deputies in separate vehicles arrived first: Deputy Cesar Molina, Deputy Matt Paul, and Deputy Tanner Owens. Several people were in the front yard of a house and on the street.

Deputies learned that an unknown man had attacked one of them with a knife, trying to stab him. The man ran to his friends’ house, who retrieved a pistol and went outside. The suspect came after the homeowner as well, so he fired a round into the ground in an attempt to stop the suspect from advancing, but to no avail.  The suspect was lunging with the knife and one man ran off and the homeowner managed to retreat into the house and called 9-1-1, just as the man stabbed at the front door.   No one was injured.

As deputies were getting the story, one of the victims pointed out the suspect, now about ½ a block away or so and walking down the street towards the officers and residents.  Officers Owens and Molina confronted him and told him to drop whatever was in his hand.  The suspect kept advancing as the deputies backed away and circled around the man, who was making stabbing motions.  The deputies were between the suspect and the residents who were still outside.  Both deputies eventually used their Tasers but to no effect. As the suspect continued to advance on the deputies, Deputy Molina fired several times and the man was hit and fell to the ground. Deputies rendered first aid and a Fire Department Aid Car was called.  The suspect was pronounced dead at Harborview.


  • Shooting victim is Tommy Le, 20 years old.
  • Le lived around the corner and a few houses away. He was last seen by the victims headed that direction. Detectives served a search warrant on this house, where he lived with several other people. Knives were recovered and detectives are trying to ascertain whether one of these was used in the original assault.
  • The deputy who fired is 38 years old.  He has been with the King County Sheriff’s Office for about 2½ years.  Prior to coming to KCSO, he spent over two years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
  • The second deputy is 26 years old and has been with the KCSO for a year and a half.
  • The object the suspect had in his hand at the time of the shooting was a pen.
  • Detectives are unsure why the Taser had no effect. At least one of the probes stuck the suspect. Others may have missed or they may have been too close together to incapacitate the suspect.
  • The number of times the suspect was hit will come from the Medical Examiner’s Office. The number of shots fired is part of the on-going investigation.

Next Steps:

  • The shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.  The completed investigation will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
  • The shooting will be reviewed administratively by the sheriff’s Office Administrative review Team.  There will be an inquest.
  • The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a Use of Force Review Board.
  • The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight will review all administrative actions taken by the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Sheriff Urquhart will forward the case and all reviews, including the results if the inquest, to the FBI for federal review.

Read our extensive previous coverage of this tragic incident here.

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5 replies on “AUDIO: Police release dramatic 9-1-1 audio, dispatch calls on Burien shooting”

  1. We have terrific police in Burien. what a frightening experience for the officers and the residents involved.
    They had no choice but to shoot. Our streets are safer today with a violent man gone .
    We appreciate our Burien officers. Officer Molina was protecting himself and others .
    Thank you .

  2. Don’t come at officers making a stabbing motion. Doesn’t matter knife or whatever. I don’t think a lot of people really think about the heightened atmosphere, adrenaline & urgency. Put yourself in the shoes of these brave people. Times are scary right now. I’m sure they would all like to go home alive after their shift.

  3. A few police officers couldn’t take down a boy without killing him? What kind of training did they get? I could understand if the boy had carried a gun, but it was a thought-to-be knife (which turned out to be just a pen). Yeah they were so “brave” they had to kill a little boy with a knife to save their lives, by multiple shots! This sweet kid made a mistake that night, he might have taken something to celebrate his high school graduation and it went badly, but in no way he deserves a death penalty like that. He was not a violent man! Teachers and people around him adored him. I’m glad I don’t live in Burien. From this blog I can see it’s full of heartless people.

    1. Here’s a idea for you or anyone questioning this. Make some Jell-O in a cake pan let it set. Find out the amount of time it took the police to arrive on scene . Set a timer up for that time. Then take a old shirt put it over the Jell-O . Start the timer and start stabbing the shirt until the timer stops. Then look at the Jell-O

      Then think if a warning shot and two taser don’t stop you. What do you expect the police to do next. In the heat of moment with there training.

      1. They didn’t know how to shoot anywhere else but chest and abdomen, multiple times, to kill, a boy with a knife? It was not a gun, they had time to act differently or aim for his legs, before that knife could do any harm to them. I’ve been in a similar situation before, the police officers back then tackled the dangerous man down without even pulling out their guns.

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