Seattle Police Department investigators are piecing together the trail of a 35-year-old violent felon after he brandished two handguns at several downtown businesses Sunday, carjacked three vehicles and fired on officers before a fatal confrontation with police in Northeast Seattle.
Detectives from the department’s Force Investigation Team and Investigations Bureau are reviewing the incident and have compiled a preliminary timeline of the man’s crime spree.
Police received their first call about the suspect from staff at Storyville Coffee in the 90 block of Pike Street around 12:35 PM. The suspect reportedly entered the store, visibly sweating and acting nervously. He began manipulating a handgun in his pocket, leading employees to call 911.
The suspect exited the shop before police arrived and was next seen at the Turkish Delight restaurant in the 1900 block of Pike Place a few minutes later. There, he spoke briefly with employees before he brandished a handgun at the restaurant’s owner and fled.
The man then entered Quicksilver in the 2000 block of 1st Avenue and ran to the back of the store where an employee confronted him. Again, the suspect flashed a handgun at an employee and fled the store to the Under the Needle tattoo shop in the 2100 block of 2nd Avenue.
The suspect brandished two handguns at employees and demanded to be directed to the back door of the business. He then fled into an alley behind the tattoo shop where he ordered the driver of a red Volkswagen Golf out of his vehicle at gunpoint.
The suspect drove the Volkswagen to the UW Athletic Center in the 3800 block of Montlake Boulevard NE, arriving around 1:25 PM. He confronted a man in the lobby of the center and forced him to relinquish his red minivan. The suspect headed north to a Shell gas station in the 800 block of NE 65th Street where he attempted to steal a woman’s Mercedes at gunpoint. The woman ran from the suspect, who again fled in the red minivan.
He then drove to a car rental lot in the 5700 block of Roosevelt Way NE, where he stole a Chevy Camaro from two employees at gunpoint. At this point, officers were able to locate the suspect driving the Camaro and began pursuing him through Northeast Seattle. After following the suspect as he drove northbound on a southbound-only section of Roosevelt Way NE, one officer attempted to disable the suspect’s vehicle by ramming it near Roosevelt and NE 45th Street. Dashcam video of the jarring collision shows an officer slamming his patrol car into the suspect’s vehicle, crushing the patrol car’s front end and pushing the Camaro into the intersection. Although the force of the crash disabled the officer’s patrol car, he can be seen on video exiting his vehicle and attempting to chase after the suspect’s stolen Camaro on foot as it speeds away.
As the chase continued through North Seattle, the suspect fired on pursuing officers.
The pursuit ended in the Wedgwood neighborhood, where officers collided head-on with the suspect’s Camaro at NE 68th Street and 35th Avenue NE. An uninvolved motorist’s SUV was also struck during the incident. The SUV’s female driver was able to flee to safety as police took up positions behind their patrol cars.
The suspect reportedly pointed his gun at officers and began maneuvering the Camaro towards police, who opened fire.
SWAT officers approached the suspect and fired. The suspect died at the scene, with two guns found in his possession. Police are reviewing all force used in the incident per department protocols developed with the Monitoring Team and the Department of Justice.
SPD is also working with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to trace the suspect’s handguns. Police have also recovered several shell casings, believed to be from rounds fired by the suspect during the pursuit and working to confirm the connection through forensics. The King County Medical Examiner’s office will formally release the suspect’s identity.
Twelve SPD officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the incident, as per standard department policy. Department commanders are developing a staffing plan to ensure there are no impacts to the department’s 911 response and neighborhood patrols.
Investigators are asking anyone who has information about the case, or was involved in the incident and have not yet contacted SPD, to call the Force Investigation Team at (206) 684-9292.
Thankfully, no citizens or officers were significantly injured during Sunday’s pursuit and multiple collisions. The Seattle Police Department and Chief Kathleen O’Toole would like to thank Seattle residents for their outpouring of support and patience following the incident.