ORIGINAL 9:59 AM REPORT: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has just confirmed that 59-year-old Thomas J. Qualls, shot by police after a confrontation at his Alki home last Friday night (original WSB coverage here), is now charged with three counts of second-degree assault. He is scheduled for arraignment in two weeks; police had told us earlier today that once he is released from the hospital, he will be booked into the King County Jail. (12:46 pm note – Per KCJ and Harborview, he’s now out of the hospital and in jail.)
10:19 AM: We have just finished typing the full transcription of the narrative (sequentially published but now complete, below) in the charging document. In summary, there’s some new information, that police say officers and Qualls both fired their weapons, that they say Qualls had a third gun, and that marijuana was found in the house. The phone call that brought police there in the first place is also more fully described:
… Police Officers were dispatched to 6114 SW Admiral Way … A caller, who was later identified as (Qualls’ daughter), stated that she received a phone call from the defendant, who told her that he and her mother had got into an argument, and that she had left the house. He told (daughter) that if her mother did not return, that he would shoot himself, and then she heard what sounded to her as one gunshot, then the line went dead. She explained to the 911 dispatcher, that her father had access to several weapons in the house.
Sgt. Strand was the first to arrive on the scene and parked his patrol vehicle several houses to the east of the defendant’s house and waited for additional units to arrive. While he was waiting outside of his vehicle, Sgt. Strand stated that he heard what sounded like fireworks or possibly a gunshot coming from the area outside the defendant’s house.
Officer Peloquin, who at the time of this incident was in plain clothes and was acting as a Field Training Officer capacity for his partner Officer Gallegos, who was completing his field training, arrived a short time later and met with Sgt. Strand at the scene. The three officers observed that the defendant’s house was dark, with no lights on in the front portion, but noticed that lights were on in the rear of the house. The defendant’s house was on the north side of SW Admiral Way, and an alley ran north and south, just east of the defendant’s home.
The officers walked down the alley to the rear of the house and noticed that the back door was open. Officer Gallegos walked into the back yard area, between a detached garage, which was north of the main house, and a large stack of firewood that blocked the officer’s path to the back door. Sgt. Strand was just to the left of Officer Gallegos and Officer Peloquin to Sgt. Strand’s left. As they approached the stack of firewood, Officer Gallegos called for the defendant, identifying himself as a Seattle Police Officer.
At about this same time, Sgt. Strand noticed that the defendant was armed with an assault rifle, and had the weapon positioned across his body as he walked outside onto a deck, which was about eight feet above the surface of the back yard. Sgt. Strand announced that defendant was armed and commands were given by Sgt. Strand to the defendant to drop the weapon. The defendant yelled something similar to, “f*** you guys, I’m going to get you” at this moment, the defendant raised his rifle and pointed it at the officers. Officers stated that the defendant fired his weapon, possibly three times in their direction, at the same time all three officers fired their duty weapons toward the position of the defendant.
Officers also broadcasted over Seattle Police radio that the defendant had fired shots at them. All three officers moved to a better cover position after the volley of shots and waited for additional units to arrive before attempting to contact the defendant. During this time Officer Peloquin covered the suspect, who was now lying on the back deck, with the rifle next to him and the defendant was still conscious and telling officers “I’m not down.”
Additional units arrived and the defendant was taken into custody. Officers patted the defendant down for additional weapons and recovered a fully loaded .45 caliber handgun in his pocket.
Also recovered was the assault weapon, which was 7.62 caliber rifle, with a fully loaded magazine, which has a thirty-round capacity. Also recovered at the time of the arrest was a loaded .22 caliber rifle, which was located near the back door of the house. Officers found that the defendant had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen and was taken by Seattle Fire to Harborview Medical Center to be treated.
Detectives with the Seattle Police Homicide Unit were called to the scene and were informed that the defendant had several surveillance cameras showing the surrounding areas around his house. The defendant would have been easily able to see the officers’ arrival and their positions prior to making contact with them outside.
A search warrant was obtained for the defendant’s house (by phone). During the search several notes were photographed and recovered. The notes read “got back up! Going for blood!”, “be careful, it loaded and ready to go!”, “let play not you (wife’s first name). Love Tom” and “lock and loaded, let go.” These notes were recovered from the stairs leading from the kitchen to an upstairs bedroom; also on the stairs was another fully loaded magazine for the assault rifle, which has a capacity of thirty 7.62 rounds.
On the kitchen table was a large amount of suspected marijuana, which appeared to have just been cultivated and was drying on the table. Seattle Police CSI processed the scene and collected that listed items and the computer which included the surveillance camera monitor.
On 9/7/10, Detective Steiger interviewed the defendant after reading him his Miranda Warnings, which the defendant stated that he understood. The defendant was still at Harborview Medical Center, but was coherent during the interview. The defendant stated that he did not remember what happened on the night of the shooting. When it was suggested that it appeared he wanted to commit suicide by the officers shooting him, he did not disagree or agree with the suggestion.
The facts presented in this case establish probable cause to charge the defendant with Assault 2nd egree RCW 9A.36.021.
(document ends with signature)
Prosecutors are asking that bail be set for Qualls, once he’s out of the hospital, at $1 million, because, they write, “…(he) poses a flight risk and is likely to commit a violent offense. … The defendant has no known criminal history but fired an assault rifle at three police officers when they attempted to make contact with him in regards to his daughter’s concern about a possible suicide attempt.” The three counts of second-degree assault with which he is charged represent one count for each of the officers at whom authorities say Qualls fired. 11:40 AM NOTE: The King County Jail Register shows Qualls booked into jail as of 5:18 pm yesterday, so we are checking with Harborview to see if he is indeed out of the hospital. (Confirmed 12:46 pm)
(Photo credits: Friday night scene, Christopher Boffoli for WSB; guns, Seattle Police, published by SPD Blotter.)
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