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Thursday, September 5, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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No decision made on Everett inquest

Times Snohomish County reporter

EVERETT — The Snohomish County medical examiner hasn't decided whether to conduct an inquest into the death of a 32-year-old Everett man who was shot Saturday by an Everett police officer.

The Medical Examiner's Office rewrote its policies in 1999 to give Medical Examiner Norman Thiersch the power to make that decision. The earlier policy had made inquests mandatory for fatal shootings by police.

Thiersch declined to hold an inquest into the 1999 death of a Bothell man who was chased north of Lynnwood by two King County sheriff's deputies. After his car was stopped, he began to raise a shotgun, and the deputies shot him three times. That shooting "was very straightforward," Thiersch said at the time.

In Saturday's case, a 22-year-old Everett police officer fired multiple shots at Dalton Culp after responding to a 2 a.m. domestic-violence call at the home of Culp's estranged girlfriend in the 1500 block of McDougall Avenue. Culp left the house and then pointed two pistols at the officer, who shot him, according to a police document.

Culp was found dead inside the house at about 5 a.m. The Medical Examiner's Office ruled he died from multiple gunshot wounds and classified the death as a homicide. Police have not determined that the officer fired the fatal shots.

One of Culp's friends, Kristin Roland of Monroe, yesterday said the Texas native and his girlfriend had a turbulent, off-and-on relationship. The couple met at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, where the woman is a security guard. Culp — a laid-off Boeing worker — recently was kicked out of the guard-training program, Roland said.

Culp had been drinking earlier that night at another friend's house in Seattle's Green Lake area, and Roland said she insisted on driving him, in his pickup, to her home. But after she and her husband went to sleep, Culp left for his girlfriend's house, she said.

Culp had recently re-enlisted in the military — apparently the Navy — and was scheduled to report for training Oct. 30 in Virginia Beach, Roland said.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is leading the shooting investigation. Following standard procedure, the Everett Police Department placed the officer involved on paid administrative leave Saturday.

Diane Brooks: 425-745-7802 or dbrooks@seattletimes.com.

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