Island County sheriff's deputy honored for preventing ‘suicide by cop’

An Island County deputy was named “employee of the month” because he didn’t shoot a woman who threatened him with a knife.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown commended Deputy Shawn Warwick for professionalism and bravery during a crowded commissioners meeting Monday morning. Warwick, however, couldn’t attend.

Brown explained that the unusual incident occurred on the night of April 13 on South Whidbey. Warwick pulled into the parking lot of the south precinct in Freeland and noticed a strange car.

Warwick was surprised when a highly intoxicated, middle-aged woman appeared in front of his patrol car, holding a knife in the air above her shoulder. The woman, later identified as a 52-year-old Seattle resident, threatened to stab the deputy and said she wanted him to shoot her, according to documents from the sheriff’s office.

“This is an example of a disturbing trend. It’s called suicide by cop,” the sheriff said. “It happens more than we realize.”

But instead of pulling the trigger, Warwick managed to diffuse the dangerous situation by remaining calm and speaking to the woman, while he simultaneously summoned help from Sgt. Jeff Myers. The two men disarmed the uncooperative woman and took her into custody.

In addition to being named as employee of the month, Warwick also earned a letter of commendation from Lt. Evan Tingstad.

“This quick thinking and professionalism is standard behavior for Deputy Warwick,” the letter states. “His calm, direct approach to emergency situations has proven invaluable.”

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