It’s been more than two months since Seattle Police officers fatally shot Ryan Matthew Smith inside a Lower Queen Anne apartment during a domestic assault response. Rose Johnson and Mark Smith are still seeking answers as to why their son had to die.

“I have seen the video, and everyone has their take on it, and everyone has their opinion about what happened,” Mark Smith tells Queen Anne News. “That’s well and good and all, and I know my son and, granted, he had a knife in his hand, but that’s no excuse to be shot down the way he was shot down.”

The May 8 shooting death of Ryan Smith remains an active investigation, according to SPD. Following his death, the police department released body camera footage from the officers involved, as well as a 911 call by Smith’s girlfriend, with whom he’d been living at the time.

“My boyfriend is trying to kill me,” she says at the start of the recording.

Seattle Police reports the 31-year-old had “armed himself with a knife and was trying to assault her” at an apartment in the 600 block of Third Avenue West.

“Please get him out. I’ve been trying to get him to leave but he won’t leave, and he just keeps telling me he’s going to kill me, and his knife’s out,” Smith’s girlfriend tells the 911 operator. She says Smith tackled her when she tried to call 911 earlier. “He’s threatening to kill himself and me.”

Johnson believes her son was intoxicated, mixing alcohol with his medications, and maybe marijuana. Smith had issues with depression since his late teens, she said, which became more severe when he was 25.

“It just got more and more severe in his late 20s. He was under doctor care, and they were monitoring him and his medications,” Johnson said. He would sometimes drink to cope. “He tried really hard to be on his own and not rely on me, but then he’d go through this depression.”

Smith had only been in Seattle for six months, she said. He’d go there with his sister during the summer to stay with their father when they were kids. Mark Smith lived in Seattle for 15 years, he said, and he and his son had been working on improving their relationship.

Smith moved there to be with his girlfriend.

“He reconnected with a young lady on Facebook, and he was beginning a fresh start with [his dad] to get to Seattle,” Johnson said.

During the night of Smith’s death, his girlfriend called 911 from inside the bathroom.

“We’ve had the cops come here before,” she said.

She told the 911 operator that Smith was saying there was blood everywhere, but he hadn’t cut her or himself.

“He’s always been suicidal,” she said, later telling the operator Smith was not trying to break into the bathroom, and she didn’t need medical attention. “He needs help.”

Smith was outside the door, holding a two-inch knife he was known to keep in his backpack.

“He’s waiting for the police to break the door down,” his girlfriend said. “I might live. OK.”

Smith’s girlfriend had packed his things and spent hours trying to get him to leave, she told the 911 operator. Then she says she can hear the sirens from the patrol vehicles.

Body cameras show officers run down the hallway to her apartment and proceed to kick in the door.

Smith’s girlfriend says don’t shoot. The 911 operator tells her to stay in the bathroom, as she begins to cry. Her crying turns to screams as the sound of gunshots comes through the recording, muffled through the door.

“What they did to him was absurd; it blows the mind,” said Johnson, who has been unable to watch the video of her son being shot. SPD hasn’t shared any information with her. “I’ve learned nothing. They don’t really talk to me. At the beginning, I was calling around a lot.”

The Seattle Police Force Investigation Team was assigned to the case, and Johnson said she keeps hearing it will take 6-12 months to complete a report.

An SPD Blotter post released following Smith’s death states the King County Sheriff’s Office sent investigators to conduct an independent investigation. Sheriff’s spokesperson Ryan Abbott told Queen Anne News it was a joint investigation with SPD, and to email for further details. No more details were provided.

The blotter post also said representatives from the Office of Police Accountability and the Inspector General “were present at the scene.”

An OPA representative told Queen Anne News the office was not investigating the fatal officer-involved shooting, because no one had filed a complaint. Johnson said she has since filed a complaint.

Under Initiative 940, an independent investigation is required in all cases of deadly force, to determine if the officer did so lawfully and, in good faith, felt it was warranted. One criterion under I-940 is if a suspect threatens an officer with a weapon or displays one in a manner that could be considered threatening.

After officers kicked in the apartment door, body camera footage shows Smith several feet away from the officers, who command him to put his hands up. Smith begins slowly walking toward the officers, who back out into the hallway. Smith gets to the threshold of the door before a number of lights are shined into his face, followed by the sound of numerous gunshots and a woman screaming. SPD edited its video to highlight a knife Smith was holding at chest level.

Mark Smith said the officers were aggressive from the beginning, and did nothing to de-escalate the situation. They found his son on the other side of a busted door, standing there quietly.

“The door was being kicked in, so if he was coherent to what was going on, he’d be in another room,” he said.

Smith’s parents believe their son was experiencing a mental health crisis. Even if he was suicidal, Mark Smith said, officers should be held accountable for responding with deadly force and making no attempt to subdue Smith by less lethal means.

“It’s illegal for a doctor to perform assisted suicide, however, it’s legal for police to coin the phrase ‘suicide by cop,’” Mark Smith said.

Johnson is still waiting for the autopsy report. Smith was sent back to his hometown of Burbank, California. He had gunshot wounds to his wrist, neck, legs, chest and genitals, Johnson said.

“The bullet that went through his wrist is the bullet that hit him in the neck,” Mark Smith said, adding his son was shot 10 times. “I don’t even know if they gave him medical attention once he was on the ground.”

The two officers that killed Smith were identified as Ryan Beecroft and Chris Myers.

Myers and Officer James Moran shot and killed Stephen P. Johnston at his Lower Queen Anne home in 2014, after the man allegedly fired at officers.

“He got a medal of honor for the last killing that he did,” Johnson said.

An article about the award that was posted to the Seattle Police Foundation website and cited by a Patch article has been removed.

Myers was also involved in the fatal shooting of Perry Manley at the Seattle Federal Courthouse in 2005. Manley had brought a defused fragmentation grenade into the courthouse, along with documents he wanted to provide to a judge. He was upset about a child-support case.

His third officer-involved fatal shooting occurred during a shootout in 2017 with robbery suspects at a downtown 7-Eleven. One officer was shot in the chest, but was saved by her Kevlar vest. A bullet grazed Myers’ hand.

Myers was one of 125 officers who sued the city in 2014 over new use-of-force policies that a federal court upheld in 2017.

Johnson and Mark Smith are looking forward to an eventual inquest into the shooting death of their son.

“I care more about reform and I care more about keeping Ryan’s story alive,” Johnson said, “so this hopefully never happens to another family.”

“What I want to come out of this, it’s more of a training issue when it comes down to the police,” Mark Smith said.

The Seattle Police Department has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice since 2012 to satisfy a consent decree brought on by findings of bias policing and a pattern of excessive force. Smith’s parents have been looking into the department’s history of excessive force. They say their son’s experience with law enforcement was very different in Burbank.

“I don’t even think he understood what was going on. He didn’t have a fear of police, in the sense that he grew up with a couple of police in Burbank,” Johnson said.

He never got involved in gangs, Mark Smith said, and he regularly had nice interactions with law enforcement.

Smith drank too much one night, Johnson said, and officers found him and dropped him off at home.

“Ryan’s a grown man at this point, and I was just, ‘Thank you so much for bringing him back,’” she said.

Mark Smith said he’s looking forward to confronting the officers that shot his son.

“I want to look these guys in the eye and see where and why they think it took so much to take him down,” he said.

He now lives in San Francisco, working for the same drilling company he’d completed projects for in Seattle. Mark Smith still loves Seattle, he said, but has found it harder to wear his Seahawks gear since his son’s death.

“Seattle was good to me,” he said, “and that’s why I thought it would have been good to Ryan also.”