At 2 a.m., in a quiet neighborhood near the University, four American officers carefully made their way through a narrow alley behind a large white house. The ground was slick from the January rains and their boots slipped as they approached the little well-lit staircase that led to an apartment below. Three of them shouldered their rifles and stopped at the top as the fourth positioned himself beside the doorframe and knocked loudly. When he heard a voice, he backed up and rejoined his partners.
The door opened and an interior light silhouetted the man they were looking for - a mountain infantryman in full uniform, a Gebirgsjäger, with a Mauser Kar rifle pointed directly at them, its bayonet tip sparkling in the porch-light.
Immediately, the four officers raised their gun sights on the young man and began shouting orders.
“Drop the rifle!”
“Put it down! Put it down now!”
Slowly, the rifle dipped towards the stoop and the cornered man looked up at his captors with glazed eyes. Accordion music could be heard coming from the open doorway.
“Put your weapon on the GROUND!”
Instead, the Gebirgsjäger raised his rifle and took a half-step towards the officers, not saying a word; not taking his eyes off of them. They fired. Eight times. The Nazi fell. A few minutes later, the neighborhood was scoured and secured by assault teams looking for possible collaborators.
The “Nazi” killed by police that night was 22 years old. He was drunk – celebrating the New Year into the early morning hours - but he understood English. It was his native language. He was from Maple Valley, Washington.
He was born Miles Allen Murphy, on February 27th. February 27th of 1986. He was a student at the University of Washington and an historical re-enactor.