King County prosecutors have filed assault and harassment charges against an 18-year-old man for opening fire on an officer in South Seattle earlier this month.
Prosecutors say Officer David Ellithorpe was on patrol near Rainier Ave S and S Juneau Street at about 1:00 a.m. on February 7th when he passed Mario Humphries and a juvenile boy on the street. Court records say Humphries raised a handgun and fired one shot at Officer Ellithorpe. “Officer Ellithorpe believed Humphries was trying to kill him,” court records say.
Officer Ellithorpe sped down the streeet to get out of Humphries line of fire and radioed for help. Officers found Humphries and the juvenile about a block away. Police say they were both drunk and/or high.
Court records say Humphries has previously been charged with auto theft, attempting to elude police, assault, car prowling, malicious mischief, criminal trespass, and three counts of robbery.
From what we’ve heard, Ellithorpe and Humphries knew each other, but had not had contact in several years as Humphries had only recently gotten out of juvenile detention.
This is yet another unfortunate reminder of the violence that’s been directed towards police officers in the last few months. To make matters worse, this isn’t even the first time Officer Ellithorpe has been the target of an assault. In May 2008, Ellithorpe was assaulted by a gang member while attempting to break up a party in South Seattle.
The case went to court, but was tossed out by a judge who said police might have made up their assault charge against the young man to explain their use of force in subduing the young man.