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Investigation continues in Ballard eviction that ended in gunfire

Crime scene tape blocks off a residential street lined with private and police vehicles.
Lilly Ana Fowler
An attempt to evict a tenant in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood ended in gunfire and the tenant’s suicide on Monday, March 20, 2023.

This story mentions suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Additional details have been released about the eviction of a resident in Ballard on Monday that resulted in gunfire, the death of the resident, and a police officer critically wounded. Authorities are continuing to conduct ballistics tests. But in an update on Friday, police said there is no evidence to support the idea that King County Sheriff's Detective David Easterly was shot by another deputy.

Investigators say Easterly was shot twice and one of the bullets stopped by his vest had a specific characteristic to rounds found in a gun recovered from the resident, as well as to ammunition found in a bedroom.

The new information comes from King County's Independent Force Investigative Team. They say three County Sheriff's deputies arrived Monday and communicated and negotiated with the resident through her front door and window. The resident went by one name: Eucytus. Police say she knew officers were coming and had barricaded her front door. Gunfire was exchanged. Easterly was sent to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in critical condition earlier today.

Eucytus was later found dead. Her death has been ruled a suicide by the medical examiner. Investigators say there is evidence that her death was self-inflicted but ballistics tests will be used to confirm this.

Easterly has worked for the sheriff’s department for 24 years. The other detectives at the scene, Benjamin Wheeler and Benjamin Miller, were not hurt. They each have been with the department for more than two decades. They are on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

“Every day, hundreds of Sheriff’s Office personnel serve our many communities, doing the hard work of keeping us all safe,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release after the shooting. “We are grateful for their diligence and courage, and hold these dedicated public servants, their families, friends, and colleagues in our thoughts."

Meeghan Black, a spokesperson for King County’s Independent Force Investigative Team, said it’s standard procedure for deputies from the civil division of the King County Sheriff’s Department to serve eviction notices. She also said the eviction notice served this month had been the final notice.

Eucytus, who identified as transgender and was known as Eucy, was “unemployed following a workplace injury and was unable to pay rent” according to a statement from the Seattle branch of Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA. Eucytus was a member of the organization, the group said.

“Although we do not know the exact circumstances of Eucy’s death, it is indisputable that the inherently violent and traumatic process of deputies forcibly evicting a person from their home was a key factor,” the group said. “We deeply regret that this eviction ended with gunfire, injury, and death, regardless of who initiated it. DSA supports peaceful, mass resistance against evictions.”

A friend of Eucytus’ who identified herself as Rachel told KNKX that Eucytus had tried to get help paying rent but had exhausted all options.

“She was a peaceful, kind vegan who liked to garden and would make soups from things she grew in her garden,” Rachel said. “I think out of desperation she barricaded herself in her apartment because as far as I know she had no family in the area.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Updated: March 24, 2023 at 7:00 PM PDT
Added new information from the King County Independent Force Investigations Team.
Lilly Ana Fowler covers social justice issues investigating inequality with an emphasis on labor and immigration. Story tips can be sent to
Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.