There were conflicting stories as a Renton family grieves the loss of their patriarch.
Renton police just released a video that seems to tell a very different story of the shooting of James Tatum than told by his family. He was killed early Saturday morning in the parking lot of a Chase Bank on Logan Avenue South in Renton.
The family said two would-be car thieves shot and killed him. Renton police said they are not so sure.
There is a lot to sort out in this very sad case.
The family of James Tatum told us, unprovoked, that two men shot and killed him in the parking lot of a Chase bank.
Now police have released a video that shows something very different.
“I got out of the car, and walked up to them,” said Donald Tatum, “and I just asked, ‘Do you have my keys? would you please give me my keys back?”
Eighteen-year-old Tatum is describing the moment early Saturday morning when he approached two men in the parking lot at Chase Bank. He believed the two men had stolen his car keys while he was inside the Musicians Hall next door.
You can’t hear what is being said but you can see Tatum fighting with one of the men. Then another man approaches, identified by Renton Police as 56-year-old James Tatum. He begins fighting with the other man.
A Renton police spokesperson described what happened next.
“Off camera, a shot is fired,” said Meeghan Black. “At that point, the 18-year-old runs away. The sister or daughter of the man comes in and fires her weapon. It’s all on the videotape.”
It is hard to tell exactly who is firing the weapon. But 23-year-old Michelle Tatum insists she never fired her weapon at all.
“They retrieved the gun that I ended up getting out of the car with to go see about my Dad,” she said.
She was asked if she had taken the gun with her before he was shot.
“After,” Michelle Tatum said. “I wasn’t going back without having anything.’
She was asked if she had a concealed weapons permit.
“Yes, I do,” she said.
Renton police said they confiscated four guns: the one she had, another gun belonging to her family, and two guns from the men at the ATM.
Now police are waiting for a ballistics report to determine whose gun actually killed James Tatum.
No matter what they find, a father of eight is dead Wednesday night. And his family and entire community of friends are grieving.