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Sunday, February 4, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Man Killed In Robbery Attempt

A would-be robber who was shot in a battle with a King County police officer and a clerk at a Renton Highlands gun shop died last night at a Seattle hospital, police said.

David Zaback, 33, of Renton died about 8:15 p.m. at Harborview Medical Center, Renton police said. No one else was injured.

Hospital officials said Zaback had been operated on for gunshot wounds to the chest.

Renton police Capt. Don Persson said the on-duty officer and the clerk both opened fire on Zaback as he tried to rob H&J Leather & Firearms Ltd., 4047 N.E. Sunset Blvd., about 4:40 p.m. ``after the suspect fired first.''

Police declined to identify the officer involved.

It had not been determined whether Zaback was hit by shots from the officer's gun, the clerk's gun, or both, Persson said from the

gun shop as he investigated the incident.

The store was full of customers when the shooting happened, Persson said. He said the police officer, whom he described as a veteran, had gone into the store to ``pick something up.''

``The surprising thing is that the man had to walk right past a marked police car to get in the front door,'' Persson said. He said the suspect announced his intent to rob the store, spied the police officer and opened fire.

Dale Freeberg, an X-ray technician and freelance photographer, said he walked into the gun shop about 5 p.m. and ``saw a pool of blood just inside the front door.'' He said officers told him to leave immediately.

After the shooting, the suspect's weapon, a small-caliber semi-automatic handgun, lay beside a stack of videotapes, including one titled ``Assault Rifles and Machine Guns.'' Blood pooled near the front door about two feet from the gun.

Renton and King County police are investigating jointly.

The incident is the third in King County in less than three months in which an officer has shot someone while on duty.

On Dec. 14, Auburn police officer Robert Michnick shot and killed an unarmed burglary suspect. Samuel Johnson of Tacoma, who was shot in the back of the neck, and another man had led police on a chase. Michnick was fired two weeks later and a police shooting review board determined he had violated departmental guidelines. An inquest into Johnson's death begins tomorrow in Aukeen District Court in Kent.

On Jan. 11, Seattle police Officer Tom Bacon returned fire on a man in Holly Park who had shot him in the abdomen. Bacon was questioning Pedro Angulo when the man shot him at point-blank range with a .45-caliber pistol. Angulo, who was shot in the shoulder, has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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