First Nations man shot and killed by officer was deaf in one ear
A First Nations man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Seattle, Washington, was deaf in one ear, family and friends said.

John T. Williams, a member of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nation of British Columbia, was shot after he reportedly ignored an order to drop a knife and a piece of wood. Family and friends say the officer who was involved may not have known about Williams' hearing problems.

"If it was my guess, I would just say he was standing there and the officer was trying to get his attention and John didn't hear him," Chaney Haney, the co-owner of a restaurant where Williams sold his traditional wood carvings, told The Seattle Times.

Family and friends also said it was difficult to converse with Williams, 50, due to mental health issues. He previously spent time in a state mental hospital.

Officer Ian D. Birk, 27, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the incident.

Get the Story:
Police-shooting victim 'struggled with a lot of things' (The Seattle Times 9/2)
Nuu-chah-nulth carver gunned down by Seattle police (The Alberni Valley News 9/2)
Family: Man shot by police was deaf in left ear (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 9/1)
John Williams, Native American Shot While Holding Knife, Created Exquisite Totem Poles that Sold for Hundreds of Dollars (Seattle Weekly 9/1)

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First Nations man shot and killed by police officer in Washington (9/1)