Man Fatally Shot in Police Scuffle had 37 Arrests, 4 Felonies
The SIU (Special investigations Unit) looking at the fatal shooting of a suspect by Kennewick Police says a gun has been recovered at the scene where 45-year-old Gordon Whitaker was shot late Sunday night, around 11:45PM.
This view is of the shooting area, looking south on Fruitland towards Columbia Drive.
According to reports, including court documents, Whitaker has been arrested and/or been in jail 37 times since his 18th birthday (1993). He also has four separate felony convictions for Robbery (twice) Burglary and Assault, according to documents it appears the last of these was a number of years ago.
His most recent arrest occurred in 2018. Police were conducting extra patrols near the east end of Columbia Park Trail, near Fruitland St. when they came across two men, one of them Whitaker. When police stopped and attempted to identify them, Whitaker broke away from detainment and tried to run.
According to officers, he produced what appeared to be a gun, and was fatally shot at the scene. The SIU has not specifically said it Whitaker was armed, or if any evidence has indicated Whitaker 'owned' or possessed the weapon. But if he did, it would have been illegal, as felons cannot own them.
There was also an arrest warrant for Whitaker over unpaid fines and other related legal issues at the time of his death.
The other suspect's identity has not been released yet. It is not known what Whitaker and the other man were doing in the area. According to unconfirmed reports some claim his family said he was on some sort of an errand.
Some sources say many of the 37 arrests have reportedly been over failure to pay previous court fines and penalties, creating and in-out jail scenario.