End of Watch: 06/04/1994
Agency: Seattle Police Department
County: King County
On Saturday, June 4, 1994 at about 0115 hours, Detective Antonio Terry of the Seattle Police Department was exiting southbound Interstate 5 to the Swift-Albro exit when he came upon an occupied disabled vehicle. Detective Terry, who worked narcotics, was in plainclothes and driving an unmarked car towards the Seattle Police Department’s South Precinct after completing a narcotics operation.
It was suspect Eric Smiley’s car that was on the off-ramp. Quentin Ervin, Ira Potts and another unknown juvenile male were also aboard. As Smiley interacted with Detective Terry, someone said he was a police officer. Ervin pulled a gun and shot at Detective Terry. Ervin then handed the gun to Smiley, who continued to shoot. Detective Terry was hit once in the lower-left abdomen. It has never been actually determined who hit Detective Terry.
Detective Terry was able to return fire and he hit Ervin in the shoulder. The two suspects tossed the .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol into the hillside next to the off-ramp and fled the scene on foot. The gun was recovered the next day by an employee of the city’s engineering department during an evidence search.
After being unsuccessful trying to get passing motorists to stop, Detective Terry drove himself two miles to SPD’s South Precinct where he was able to tell other officers what had happened, before collapsing in the parking lot. Seattle Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and transported him to Harborview Medical Center.
At 0401 hours, Detective Terry died of the single gunshot wound at Harborview Medical Center.
Arrests came after Smiley called a tow truck to move his car off the off-ramp a couple of hours after the shooting. Smiley and a female companion drove to the scene with a tow truck driver where they were met by a couple of state troopers. Washington State Patrol Trooper Lane Jackstadt later testified about incriminating comments made by Smiley at the scene.
King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng was on a ride-along with a Seattle Police officer assigned to east precinct the night of Detective Terry’s death. He heard the incident broadcast on the police radio as he was being dropped off to his car.
Quentin Ervin’s sentence was later vacated; however, murder charges were re-filed in March 2007. On May 27, 2008, Ervin was again convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years.
Detective Terry served the Seattle Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.