Police Chief Fires Officer For Responding To Active Shooter Call In Which Three Were Murdered

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.

Dan Anderson, Washington State Patrol File Photo
Dan Anderson, Washington State Patrol File Photo

In a preposterous example of small minded, small town thinking, a chief of police fired a twenty-five year veteran officer for responding to an active shooter call in which three teenagers were murdered and other responding units were calling for help.

The affluent town of Brier, Washington seldom receives more than one call per night but apparently Chief Mike Catlett and Mayor Bob Colinas believe that leaving the city “unprotected” is a greater priority than others who might have been killed by the active shooter and sacked Officer Dan Anderson. Despite what many would call a commendable act to help save lives at great personal risk, Dan Anderson is without a job for doing what every rightful police officer would do without hesitation.


Accused shooter Allen Ivanov, 19, arrived at a friend’s party in Mukilteo with numerous other teens attending. Upset about his ex-girlfriend Anna Bui breaking off their relationship and moving on in her life Ivanov allegedly entered the house, shot Anna and several others–killing two (Jordan Ebner and Jacob Long) and seriously wounding another.

Mukilteo officers called for help and logically Brier Police Officer Anderson responded to assist.

According to the Mukilteo Police Department, in addition to Brier and Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Lynnwood sent officers as well. With the exception of Mill Creek those are the closest neighboring cities to Mukilteo and Anderson says Mukilteo officers were on the radio, desperate for help. In fact you know who usually responds to active shooter calls? Everyone

An important fact is that Anderson was one of the first to arrive at the scene and rendered aid to the victims.

Ivanov managed to escape but was later arrested by the Washington State Patrol one hundred miles away. Given the circumstances and facts alleged, if convicted he may face execution by lethal injection or hanging for these murders.

Officer Anderson retired from the State Patrol after a twenty-five year career. He took a job as an officer with Brier in December of 2015 and was eight months into his standard one year Probationary Period.

Just a few days after the incident, Chief Catlett arrived at 4:30 AM and told Anderson he was terminating his employment for ‘leaving the city unprotected to respond to the mass-shooting call.’

Both the Chief and Mayor Colinas believe the city might suffer some disaster if an officer leaves the city limits. The Chief adds that Anderson should have called a supervisor (meaning him) to receive permission. This is an absurd argument.

First, making a phone call while responding to an emergency such as this is hazardous. Officers need to concentrate on their driving during a fast Code-3 response. Speeds can easily exceed one hundred miles an hour on freeways and in the case of city streets there are many distractions and hazards.

Second, the officers must be careful to listen to every detail of radio traffic; which in this case might include other agencies that use different channels such as their own or LEARN. Sirens and wind noise at high speeds makes it more difficult to hear the radio.

Next, having dispatch make the call would be very ill-advised. Dispatchers do not have the time, especially in passing critical information to field units while at the same time calling for medical aid or handling 911 calls from victims and all other traffic on their network.

Lastly, let’s look at what a typical month is for Brier Police Department. I gathered these records from the police department’s news blotter and it contains the last month listed on their webpage. Note: these calls are for entire days and are not signified by what happens during nighttime, if Brier does only receive one or two calls during the night it is likely that perhaps the last or the penultimate calls are what were experienced during the night shift. I suspect they are ordered by time-of-day and I highlighted certain calls for later discussion:

Suspicious Circumstance: 23000 Blk 34 Ave W
Burglary: 23000 Blk 34 Ave W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Suspicious Circumstance: 2300 Blk 215 St SW

Suspicious Circumstance: 3600 Blk 224 Pl SW
Ordinance Violation: 24300 Blk 31 Ave W
Theft: 21500 Blk 32 Pl W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Animal Complaint: 3100 Blk Russet Rd
Civil Complaint: 23600 Blk 35 Ave W

Suspicious Circumstance: 21400 Blk 32 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2300 Blk 231 Pl SW
Collision: 22200 Blk Brier Rd
Assault: 3600 Blk Larch Way
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22600 Blk 224 Pl SW

Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 228 St SW

Found Property: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Alarm Call: 3300 Blk 214 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Verbal Domestic: 23500 Blk 28 Ave W

Traffic Enforcement
Parking Complaint: 22600 Blk Brier Rd
Civil Complaint: 22900 Blk 27 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2400 Blk 228 St SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 23600 Blk 28 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Alarm Call: 5100 Blk 228 St SW
Noise Complaint: 2400 Blk 231 Pl SW

Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Assist Lynnwood Police
Civil Complaint: 23400 Blk 32 Ave W
Abandoned Vehicle: 23500 Blk 39 Pl W
Civil Complaint: 23200 Blk 34 Ave W

Traffic Enforcement
Theft: 4900 Blk 238 St SW
Nuisance Complaint: 2900 Blk 243 Pl SW

Theft: 22200 Blk Brier Rd
Fraud: 2800 Blk 227 St SW
Traffic Enforcement

Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 23000 Blk 42 Pl W
Noise Complaint: 2800 Blk Russet Rd
Parking Complaint: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW

Traffic Enforcement
Animal Complaint: Brier/Alaska Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 216 Pl SW
DUI: 21400 Blk 39 Pl W

Traffic Enforcement

Assist Lake Forest Park Police
Parking Complaint: 3100 Blk Alaska Rd
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Traffic Enforcement

Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 3700 Blk 237 Pl SW
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 Pl SW

Traffic Enforcement

Traffic Enforcement
Burglary: 22000 Blk Vine Rd
Animal Complaint: 2900 Blk 228 St SW

DUI: 21700 Blk Vine Rd
Found Property: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Civil Complaint: 3500 Blk 223 St SW

Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 22200 Brier Rd
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 3100 Blk 236 st SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Theft of Auto: 3900 Blk 233 St SW
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22200 Blk 48 Ave W
Abandoned Vehicle: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Civil Complaint: 3500 Blk 230 St SW

Alarm Call: 2300 Blk 218 Pl SW
Theft: 23200 Blk 51 Ave W
Alarm Call: 2300 Blk 218 Pl SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 St SW

Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 23200 Blk 32 Ave W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 St SW
Parking Complaint: 3200 Blk 226 Pl SW
Theft: 3400 Blk 232 St SW
Alarm Call: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 22800 Blk Brier Rd
Noise Complaint: 2800 Blk Russet Rd

Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Person: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 23600 Blk Brier Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 7200 Blk 228 St SW
Verbal Domestic: 5900 Blk 227 St SW

Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 2700 Blk 242 Pl SW
Animal Complaint: 24300 Blk Brier Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 3900 Blk 228 St SW
Burglary: 21900 Blk Oak Wy
Theft: 2420 Blk 32 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 23100 Blk 24 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 3700 Blk 227 St SW

Disturbance: 3800 Blk 225 Pl SW
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22700 Blk Old Poplar Way
Civil Complaint: 2800 Blk 241 Pl SW
Theft: 23900 Blk 35 Ave W
Alarm Call: 3000 Blk 215 Pl SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 22300 Blk 36 Ave E
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

Traffic Enforcement
Alarm Call: 2700 Blk 243 Pl SW

Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace
Alarm Call: 22000 Blk 39 Ave W
Threats: 22600 Blk 22 Pl W
Animal Complaint: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 21400 Blk 50 Ave W
Burglary: 22800 Blk 48 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 4700 Blk 196 St SW

Twenty calls are for “Traffic Enforcement”–the highest number of call type. Eighteen were for assisting neighboring agency Mountlake Terrace. It seems that perhaps leaving the city is a regular occurrence and as stated before, Officer Anderson reported that the city seldom receives more than one call for service during the night.

During the month of May there was only one call for a violence related incident–an assault of some form. Other than the burglary complaints and one DUI the remaining calls were minor in nature. Perhaps the chief and mayor might be upset that a speeder might get away or a barking dog call might go unanswered if one of their officers responds to backup others for an in-progress active shooter call.


The city eventually did offer some form of statement to explain their side. I doubt it came from the mayor directly. It is most likely authored by the city attorney:

Mr. Anderson was let go from his probationary employment because it was determined that during his probationary employment he was not meeting the expectations of the Police Department in several key performance related matters. Prior to the Mukilteo incident, these matters were pointed out to Mr. Anderson by the Police Chief during his probationary employment in an effort to seek improvement in Mr. Anderson’s performance. Mr. Anderson was allowed to repeat his field training with a second field training officer. Ultimately this effort proved unsuccessful and a conclusion was reached that Mr. Anderson should not become a full time post-probationary police officer with Brier.

Mayor Bob Colinas
Mayor Bob Colinas

Mayor Colinas states that the incident was “…another example of a performance issue.” Colinas argues that while Brier supports providing mutual aid to other agencies, Anderson was the only one on duty at the time; he could have called the chief of police before making the decision. Plus, Colinas notes, Mukilteo doesn’t share a border with Brier, but it does share borders with Everett and Lynnwood, which both have large police departments.

Chief Mike Catlett
Chief Mike Catlett

Performance issue, really? How does a person with twenty five years experience in one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state have performance issues in a small town: especially one rated as the thirteenth safest city in the state to live in? Did the average rookie who made it through FTO somehow have a skill set that exceeds Officer Anderson’s? It does not make any sense. In the official termination letter, there is no mention of the Mukilteo shooting but only to unspecific “performance issues”.

The irony is that Brier’s mayor and this poor excuse for a police chief seem to have forgotten that one of their own officers lost his life while struggling with a combative patient, the former mayor of Brier who was suffering an extreme cause of low blood sugar.

Brier Officer Eddie Thomas died of a heart attack but just prior was able to push the emergency button on his radio. Dispatch called for help. Mountlake Terrace officers responded; doing the unthinkable by leaving their own city. Unfortunately, it was not in time and we lost Eddie. I attended the funeral and it was a great tribute from community who gave a defining outpouring of support and comfort for Eddie’s family. Now, just a month away from the ten-year anniversary of this tragic death of one of their own officers (who also was with the department for less than a year) Chief Mike Catlett and Mayor Bob Colinas apparently have shown what is truly important to them: that department policy is so rigid, the lives of others only matter if they reside within the borders of their own small world and mindedness. Hopefully for them they won’t be two blocks outside the city if they become the victims of something bad. After all, rules are rules and the Gods of Brier must be obeyed.

If someone was to be fired it would be Chief Catlett since he obviously is unfit to be a police officer given his indifference to the lives of other officers and victims of shootings. Judgment, and common sense seem not to be present in his personnel decisions. Dan Anderson should take Catlett’s place if Brier had the wisdom to do so. Who would you want to be you backup: Dan Anderson who has the fortitude to engage an active shooter, or Chief Catlett who sits in his office with his nose stuffed in the SOP manual?

In the end Dan Anderson was magnamanous about his demise at the hands of two small minded men–as stated in an interview with KIRO News:

He told [the interviewer] that he went public with the issue because he philosophically disagrees with the police chief’s policy that officers should not respond to other agencies calls, including high risk calls, unless it gets to “the point of common sense” or if other officers are being shot at.

“Do I really have to let it get to that point?” Anderson asked. “Isn’t it enough that (the officers) are recognizing they have a tactical disadvantage and they need more bodies? That’s good enough for me. If that’s not good enough for him [the chief], then maybe I’m not cut out to work for him anymore. And fair enough, it’s his call. That’s his call. But in good faith, I could never, never turn my back on an officer who is screaming for help.”

Now that’s what being a cop is all about. Maybe Brier performed a service to Dan Anderson by firing him and spared him the aggravation of working for such fools.

More information may be obtained from the following sources:

The Honorable Mayor Bob Colinas
2901 228th St. SW
Brier, WA 98036
(425) 775-5440

Mike Catlett, Chief of Police
(425) 775-5452

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

33 thoughts on “Police Chief Fires Officer For Responding To Active Shooter Call In Which Three Were Murdered”

  1. The current chief most likely is worried Ofc. Anderson is more qualified and will take his spot eventually. Also it’s pathetic this town is so understaffed when no officers are left in town because one had to respond outside of it.

  2. It’s not a small town. It’s a suburb of Seattle. The mayor’s a mossback. He’s lived there for 50 plus years. He’s about 62, retired, and spent his career as an employee of the parks department in another Seattle suburb nearby. He’s been an elected official for 18 years and the mayor for 11. Given the dimensions of the town (6,200 residents), the mayor’s job is likely part-time. Per City-Data, the police department has 8 employees. Unless Officer Anderson has been circling the alcoholic drain in recent years, the notion he’s incompetent to work for Brier after 25 years with the state police cannot be taken seriously. From the looks of him, he’s not out of shape, especially when compared to the lardbutt Police Chief. The smart money says they had some other reason for unloading him; the smell of injelitance is there.

    Another question is why the State of Washington sorts law enforcement duties in such a way that postage stamp municipalities set up stand-alone police departments with single-digit workforces. If they had much sense, the Sheriff’s department would comprehend the marshal service, the court baliffs, the jail, and a set of day detention centers to warehouse the incorrigibiles the local schools couldn’t handle anymore. Patrol and investigation functions could be divided between the sheriff (covering the exurban, small town, and rural zones) and a county police department (covering the Seattle suburbs).

  3. I like to see chiefs firing errant officers but this isn’t one of them. Could be the chief is jealous of a more experienced officer? I would argue that the chief was the officer covering the city while Anderson answered the active shooter call.

  4. Reminds me of a town near me.

    The Mayor & council, a mix of republicans & democrats sue each other. Over at the police station…Woe. Sergeant sues captain, captain sues police chief. Meantime over at the fire house, lawsuits are flying, fire chief getting sued by fire fighters.

    Call 911 for robbery in progress or house burning to ground, gotta wait. After dispatch,
    they usually stop at lawyer’s office for updates 1st, and then proceed to location.

  5. Would one have to ponder long to consider the chief was in the presence of a superior officer and feared replacement or that there was another officer in the wings waiting for the spot? Seems a shallow excuse for termination.

  6. Yep. It’s true, no good deed goes unpunished.

    Also wouldn’t this enable the department to state statistical data regarding the frequency of their department’s needs while assisting other police?
    So couldn’t his eventually be a source of federal funding for the department?

    Isn’t that why most departments go out and bust an occasional door down with their SWAT teams to justify the training funds the feds give them?

    Seems like a real lose, lose to me.

  7. Great article. So glad that you are shining the light of public scrutiny on this disappointing action on the part of Brier’s police chief and mayor.

    I hope that the city follows your advice and hires Anderson back to replace Catlett, as a matter of pubic safety. Barring that, I hope other, wiser towns line up to offer him a job. The parents of the teenagers wounded and killed must be absolutely outraged at the treatment of one of the officers who rushed to help.

    I also agree with Officer Anderson (whom I will still call officer regardless of the state of his employment). If this is how the chief of police wants to run his police department, then they do not suit. And the entire town needs to realize that this is the decision process of their own police department.

  8. Great article, well-researched.

    Terrible decisions by the police chief and mayor.
    There were no plans to cover the officer should he need help, even in town?
    Police chief himself couldn’t help out here in an extraordinary circumstance?

    What awful people.

  9. These two, the mayor and the police chief are fools. Come next election, the voters of that town SHOULD throw this bum out. And elect that courageous officer as their next mayor. And then, he should sack the police chief. Case closed.

  10. The fired cop should be made Chief or Mayor. The present Chief and Mayor need to be sent to Siberia.

  11. For the second time this summer, I find myself nodding in agreement with squeeky’s post. World must be coming to an end…

  12. “The voters of that town should sack the police chief and mayor, then reinstate Officer Anderson.”

    Officer Anderson’s long time experience might make him a strong candidate for chief.

  13. I do not understand how he was on he second training officer but was alone in the car. How do they train there?

  14. It sounds to me like Chief Catlett has somebody else in mind for the rather cushy job. Perhaps a nephew? You know, nephewism when you hire your family members.

    Whatever, this was an absurd firing, and Anderson was probably lucky to get fired, because this town sounds like it is horribly inbred. Some small towns are just like that.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  15. The voters of that town should sack the police chief and mayor, then reinstate Officer Anderson.

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