Witness Speaks About What She Saw During Officer Involved Fatal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Witness Speaks About What She Saw During Officer Involved Fatal Shooting

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 YAKIMA, WA.- It's been months since a high-speed chase on Highway 12 ended in a fatal shooting.    

On November 5th sheriff's deputies shot and killed 27-year-old Anthony Laviolette. The high-speed chase sent Sheriff's Deputies flying at speeds over 100 miles per hour.

We spoke with Laviolette's girlfriend, Thursday afternoon, who saw the whole thing happen.

Sheriff's Deputies received a tip that Laviolette had stolen a bike and taken it in a Honda Civic, that's when Deputies caught up to the car and the high-speed chase began.

Angela Johnson, Laviolette's girlfriend at the time, was in the car during the chase, she told us she was terrified and begged him to pull over.

They reached speeds over 100 miles an hour until the car slid into a ditch on Highway 12 near Ackley Road just West of Yakima.

“I was in the back seat right behind him and I feel like the only thing that saved my life was Tony putting his arms up trying to block the bullets and they were going through his hands and his arms,” Johnson explained.

Deputies approached the car ordering the suspects out. According to the department, Laviolette accelerated the car and drove towards the Deputies hitting Deputy Matt Steadman, and knocking him to the ground.

Steadman then fired three shots at the car, killing Laviolette.

“When a law enforcement officer believes that his or her life is in danger he has the right to protect himself in the same way that he has the right to protect other people, but not only does he have the right, but the duty, as well,” Detective Mike Russell, with the Yakima Sheriff's Office told us.

But Johnson told us she doesn't believe the shooting was justified and that Laviolette was not trying to harm the Deputies when they took lethal action.  

“If anything I would have thought they would've shot the tires or something first, I wasn't figuring he was just going to shoot him dead, because he didn't deserve to die he was only 27,” Johnson said.

It was later discovered that the Honda Civic the suspects were in was also stolen. The case was handed over the Washington State Patrol and they are currently investigating whether the shooting was justified.
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