SEATTLE (AP) – A college student dressed in a vintage German military uniform who was fatally shot by police on New Year’s Day was a harmless, eccentric history buff, his family and friends said Friday.

Miles Murphy, a University of Washington senior, was shot several times at his apartment early Thursday after police said he pointed a rifle affixed with a bayonet at officers and refused orders to drop the weapon.

Police searching the house found alcohol, live ammunition and a large collection of German, Russian and Nazi memorabilia including photographs and uniforms, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said.

But Murphy “wasn’t a Nazi,” Hattie Taylor, a friend, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “He was just fascinated with the past… He liked to dress up and have fun.”

Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske called the situation “truly sad” but stood by the officers’ actions.

The two officers who fired at Murphy were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Murphy, 22, was a senior Germanics major, university President Mark Emmert said in a statement Friday mourning his loss.

Murphy wanted to be a German literature professor and had a large collection of WWII memorabilia, said his friend Spencer Bray.

He was “a peaceful and loving young man,” his mother, Dianne Murphy, told the local newspaper.


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