(9/3/2010 photo of the 61st/Admiral shooting scene by Christopher Boffoli, for WSB)
Just discovered this in a routine followup check of crime cases we’ve been watching: Thomas Qualls, the 59-year-old Alki man shot by police back in September after pointing an assault rifle at officers, has struck a plea bargain. Last Friday, according to court documents, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted assault with use of a firearm (he originally faced three counts of second-degree assault with firearm enhancement). His statement in court documents:
… I took a substantial step toward intentionally placing (three Seattle Police officers) in immediate and reasonable fear of an assault with a deadly weapon when I came out of my home with a rifle and the rifle was lowered in the direction of (the three officers).
According to the original police narrative about the incident (transcribed in this WSB report), officers went to the home after a 911 call from a family member worried he had made suicidal statements. That narrative also said Qualls fired his rifle, though that is not reflected in his plea statement. He was shot in the abdomen and spent less than a week in the hospital.
Prosecutors will recommend a 2-year sentence (note that Qualls already has been in jail for seven months), which is the high end of the range – 6 months for attempted second-degree assault, plus 18 months for the firearm enhancement. He had no known criminal history. Shortly after the incident, police released this photo of the rifle they say Qualls pointed at the officers:
Their investigation reported that was one of three guns they found at the scene. Qualls’ sentencing is set for April 22nd.