Omar Ali, an immigrant from Sudan who had been a transient in Spokane, WA since September 2013, had his final run-in with police last week after assaulting a convenience store clerk, customer and a police officer with a pointed stick last week.
Not only did Kelso Police know Ali, he also had 2 outstanding misdemeanor warrants in Spokane and Blaine, WA. Only four days before his final encounter with police, Ali was arrested for driving with a suspended license after which deputies discovered he had been driving a stolen rental car. Following his release from the Cowlitz County jail just two days later, Ali then reportedly trespassed at home on 8th Ave.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office outlined Ali’s actions on August 17th, the day of his death:
- Ali spoke to the deputy sergeant through the outside intercom at the jail around 12:30 a.m.
- 40 minutes later, Ali arrived at the Flying K gas station about a quarter mile away armed with a flat board. A Kelso officer seized it from him at that time.
- Around 2 a.m. he was contacted again outside the jail.
- At 5 a.m., Ali was reported looking into the windows of a home on 4th Ave.
Around 8 a.m., Ali returned to the Flying K for the third time that morning and attempted to shoplift. Officer John Johnston responded to the store clerk’s call reporting the incident. While Officer Johnston was reviewing surveillance video of the incident in the store office, Ali returned and began assaulting the clerk and a customer with a sharp stick.
Ali then turned his attention to Officer Johnston, attacking him with the stick before Johnston was forced to shoot him in the store at 8:15 a.m. Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson told KOIN on Wednesday that he was “not sure a Taser or a baton would have been an appropriate response.”
Warning: graphic video