SMART probe says Marysville police “justified” in shooting death

Courtesy Photo 
                                Joann Rouker and Jeffrey Sims

Courtesy Photo Joann Rouker and Jeffrey Sims

MARYSVILLE – Nichole Sims called 9-1-1 and said her husband was acting weird and erratic, had a pocket knife and was possibly suicidal.

She can be heard telling husband Jeffrey Keith Sims to “stay away from me.”

She told the dispatcher Sims could be combative with law enforcement.

She was unsure when he last used drugs, but suspected it was the previous day.

She can be heard telling him, “I’m not making this up, and you know it.”

A few seconds later she begins screaming.

Three Marysville police officers opened fire when Sims lunged at his wife with the knife with a 3-inch blade.

“Oh my god. He tried to stab me. He stabbed me in the arm,” his wife screamed.

Sims died from multiple gunshot wounds.

The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response team, which investigates officer-involved shootings, has ended its yearlong look at the Sept. 18, 2018 case and concluded that the shooting was justified.

“It appears the contact with Jeffrey Sims was lawful,” the report says. The wife’s verbal and written statements, 9-1-1 call, witness officer statements and other evidence appear to support deadly force by the three officers to prevent Sims from continuing his felonious assault on his wife, the report adds.

The report goes on to say that even though his wife did not suffer a stab wound she screamed that she was being stabbed and actually believed she was stabbed in the chest three times. She did scratch and bruise her arm and fell and hit her head, causing a bump, it adds.

Witness testimony says six officers ended up at the scene near Shoultes Elementary School at 13114 57th Ave. NE Unit A. It’s a duplex at the end of a cul de sac.

When police arrived Sims was pacing back and forth in the doorway of his home as Nichole Sims was trying to keep him away from their four children. The boys, ages 18 months, 2, 7 and 10, were inside with their grandmother.

Court papers say Nichole said Sims was possibly high on methamphetamine when she talked to him earlier that day. The autopsy did not show signs of drugs, said Sims’ mom, Joann Rouker. When Nichole got home from work she argued with Sims about whether he could stay as she had kicked him out weeks before. After he was shot his body fell to the ground in the driveway with his back against the garage door.

SMART detectives determined that 21 rounds were missing from the weapons of the three officers. Nichole said: “I think he had every intention of killing me and possibly killing himself anyway. I think he had resigned the fact that he wasn’t getting out of this alive, and he didn’t think that I deserved to either.”

Sims, 37, had worked at the Outlet Mall in Tulalip since 2005. He was described as an introvert, but a good employee. However, his employer said his behavior had changed the previous month, calling in sick and having attendance issues, which was out of character for him.

Investigators talked with Kevin Sims, who said he was unsure if his brother had a mental disorder. He saw something on the news and was afraid it was his brother because: “He talks crazy,” and “His whole life has been depressed.” He had talked with Sims the night before about flying to Virginia to be with him and their mom.

At the medical examiner’s office from the autopsy, it was learned that Sims had 26 bullet wounds, several that just grazed him, but that shots to his torso caused fatal injuries. Thirteen bullets were recovered from his body.

In the case summary, the report concludes that evidence shows the use of deadly force by the three officers were within the scope of state law of justifiable homicide because Sims was attempting to commit a felony and if not apprehended could cause physical harm to another.

Rouker has said if Marysville officers had body cams only then would the truth be known. She wonders why Nichole wasn’t harmed if her son was really that close to stabbing her.

Rouker said she doesn’t want her son to be remembered by this incident. He had no criminal record. “He was the sweetest soul,” she said.

What’s SMART?

SMART is a team of investigators, evidence technicians, records specialists and public information officers who respond to and investigate police use of force incidents. It includes representatives from the sheriff’s office and state patrol, along with the Everett police chief and a chief from either North, South or East county. There is also a non-voting representative from the prosecutor’s and medical examiner’s offices. They have conducted 93 investigations since 1995.

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