Native Man Killed by Police at Fireworks Show

Poulsbo WA, On July 3rd 2019, Stonechild Chiefstick was shot and killed by police while attending a waterfront fireworks show.

While the shooting remains under investigation, details of what led to the shooting remain in question.

What is known, is that police were called to the fireworks show on reports that Chiefstick was "acting strange" and carrying a screwdriver. Officers confronted Chiefstick, shot and killed him.

The Poulsbo Police Department released a statement on July 4th which states, in part, “Just after 9:00 p.m. this evening, the Poulsbo Police Department responded to Waterfront Park for a report of a subject threatening people. This incident occurred in the middle of a large crowd of people gathering for the annual 3rd of July fireworks celebration.

Several officers contacted the subject, and shortly thereafter, a struggle ensued. During the struggle one officer fired his handgun, striking the subject.

The subject was handcuffed and officers on scene rendered aid while they were waiting for paramedics to arrive. Poulsbo Fire Department arrived and rendered aid, however, the suspect succumbed to his injuries.”

According to his family, Stonechild Chiefstick was 39 and a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribe and also had relatives from the Suquamish Nation.

They state, "Stoney wore his heart on his sleeve and was always their for his family and friends. He had a great sense of humor and could turn your frown upside down. I know we all are going to miss and cherish his presence. My brother was battling through a lot and now he has found some peace. We are all devastated by Stoney's loss."

Katherine Kilroy, whom was sitting next to where the shooting took place, posted a lengthy first hand account of the shooting seemingly contradicting the police statement that described Chiefstick as a threat.

She states, "About ten feet away I saw a brown man, in a short sleeve, graphic, black shirt kind of side-skipping down the sidewalk pathway with his arms outstretched and loosely opened hands. It wasn't an odd thing to see. I wouldn't have even noticed him except I looked up hearing a stern, male voice shout "Hey!" in his direction. The man looked back at voice, a police officer, but continued on his path where I then saw a small cluster of other officers prepared to intercept him. Then I heard the pop-pop of fireworks.

It wasn't fireworks.

The man was unexplainably on the ground, the previously clustered officers were scurrying to surround his collapsed body. I had a clear view through their kneeling legs. The man was leaking. Spilling into the concrete beside us."

Further she says, "Maybe this man had a screwdriver and was behaving erratically, threatening some. Maybe that’s true. But not while I was watching. Not right before he was killed."

The Suquamish Tribe released the following statement, "Tribal Leadership continues to monitor the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Poulsbo on Wednesday night, and will be reviewing the outcome of the independent investigation.

As a result of the media attention and in order to protect and respect the family’s privacy, we ask that media questions be directed to:"

by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire and the co-founder of Mazaska Talks. Follow @wakiyan7

Candlelight vigil held for Stonechild Chiefstick. Photo by Suquamish Tribe

Candlelight vigil held for Stonechild Chiefstick. Photo by Suquamish Tribe