Four Wenatchee police officers have been legally exonerated in the shooting death of Zachary Rutherford, a 32-year-old man from California. Rutherford was shot and killed by police on June 4, 2022, in a confrontation on Western Avenue after officers responded to a burglary report.
When they arrived at the scene, Rutherford was armed with a knife and approached the officers with the weapon in hand. Investigators reported that the officers used deadly force after tasers and less-lethal projectile rounds failed to stop Rutherford. Rutherford, who suffered from mental health issues, was staying at an East Wenatchee assisted living facility at the time of his death.
The North Central Washington Special Investigation Unit conducted a follow-up investigation, and Chelan County Prosecutor Robert Sealby reviewed the findings. He announced on Friday that the use of force by the officers appears legally justified, and no police will face criminal charges.
This is the second deadly-force incident involving Wenatchee police in 2022. The earlier shooting, which killed 36-year-old Alexander James White outside Living Hope Community Church on May 7, 2022, was also found to be justifiable.