From the Yakima Herald:
Department spokesman Capt. Rod Light said Casey Gilette, 29, was on a routine patrol about 3 a.m. when he noticed a vehicle had been parked at Classic Auto Wash, 907 E. Nob Hill Blvd., for more than an hour. Light said that based on a preliminary investigation, Gilette approached the vehicle and opened the passenger-side door. He saw a man in the driver’s seat with what appeared to be a handgun and his finger on the trigger. He then fired, Light said.Having a real gun in Washington is not a crime, nor is it grounds for summary execution. This was a toy gun, which the man was said to be assembling within his own car. The officer approached him, opened his door, then executed him. No doubt he'll claim "self-defense" and say he "feared for his life."
“Once investigators got on the scene, it was later determined that the handgun was a replica of an actual firearm,” Light said. “It’s what I would refer to as an Airsoft gun, but they appear very real.”
Airsoft is a trademark name for replica firearms that fire plastic pellets. They are designed to be nonlethal and often come in realistic replicas. Such devices typically have an orange tip at the end of the barrel intended to indicate it is not a real firearm.
“I believe this particular handgun had an orange tip. But based on our investigation I don’t want to go into particulars and details of the position of the gun and where the officer was. It was 3 a.m., it was dark and again we haven’t interviewed this officer yet and we don’t want to speculate,” Light said.
Gilette had another person with him while on patrol, Chief Dominic Rizzi Jr. said Monday afternoon.
“Yes, he did have a ride-along with him, and there’s nothing inappropriate about that,” said Rizzi, who declined to identify the person.
Police have yet to interview Gilette. Under the police union contract with the city, an officer involved in a shooting is not required to give a statement until 48 hours after the incident, although officers may waive that waiting period if they choose to.
Although the investigation is in the preliminary stages, Rizzi said Monday morning that he believes that Gilette acted appropriately.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, I absolutely stand behind the officer and his actions in the shooting that occurred,” Rizzi said.
Light said the investigators believe that Arias was attempting to assemble pieces of the pellet gun, because they found discarded packaging for accessories in the vehicle.