Update: SWAT standoff ends in Admiral apartment building; man found dead

(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
11:25 PM: We’ve found out a bit about the sizable police presence, including SWAT officers, at an apartment building in Admiral, near California/College. (Thank you to those who texted/e-mailed about it.) Police on the scene tell WSB’s Christopher Boffoli that a man is barricaded inside an apartment. More as we get it.

11:55 PM: No change in the situation. We’re told police have been on the scene for more than two hours. Police confirmed to Christopher that this began with a domestic-violence incident earlier in the evening. The Seattle Fire 911 log shows an aid (lower-level medical) response to the area at 9:12 pm. Aside from the police presence outside the building on SW College, Christopher tells us there are no traffic effects.

12:51 AM: Now an assault-with-weapons response has been dispatched, and scanner traffic indicates a possible shooting victim.

Christopher reports hearing what could have been gunshots.

12:58 AM: Per radio, police and fire are going in.

1:09 AM: Christopher reports that the SWAT team is leaving and medics (above) have left without a patient.

1:58 AM: Still trying to find out how this ended. SW Precinct Lt. Alan Williams told us he can only say “there is no threat to anyone in the area at this time.” More information, we’re told, will come through SPD Public Affairs.

3:42 AM: Adding photos taken while the situation was still unfolding. Above, SWAT officers staged on the other side of California, though the incident did NOT involve businesses there. Below, at the building, the SWAT officers entered and exited over the course of a few hours; residents were not evacuated.

7:27 AM: Though we’re still awaiting an official police statement, sources including neighbors confirm the man was found dead. One neighbor says some residents were in fact evacuated for a time.

8:14 AM: SPD Det. Patrick Michaud confirms that police found the man dead of “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” The victim in the original domestic-violence report was already out of the apartment when police first arrived around 8:30 pm, Det. Michaud confirms, and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

9:35 AM: One more detail from police, according to Det. Drew Fowler: “Police never made contact with the man until we made entry and located the deceased.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we always do in reports involving suicide, we want to mention the Crisis Clinic‘s 24-hour hotline: 206-461-3222. The state’s Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-562-6025.

46 Replies to "Update: SWAT standoff ends in Admiral apartment building; man found dead"

  • newnative February 8, 2015 (11:34 pm)

    Without a time frame, I can’t tell how long ago this happened. Is it resolved? What is going on in the area?

  • WSB February 8, 2015 (11:35 pm)

    The story is 10 minutes old (published 11:25 pm). Still don’t know anything more. Police are outside an apartment building. A man is apparently inside. Nothing else affected.

  • Kt February 9, 2015 (12:01 am)

    I live in this building. Nothing has changed and it’s been eerily quiet.

  • JR February 9, 2015 (12:23 am)

    I live in the building and let a bunch of heavily armored officers in the building. I was told the standoff is on the 4th floor. As the officers came in they told me to stay on the California street side of the building, away from the alley…

  • Concerned February 9, 2015 (12:30 am)

    any change? New info?

  • Kt February 9, 2015 (12:57 am)

    There’s about 3 fire trucks that just showed up and an ambulance….

    • WSB February 9, 2015 (1:03 am)

      Yes, we’ve updated. *Possible* shooting inside building. Hope to have more info soon. Police and fire are going in, which means they consider it safe to go in, which could mean a variety of things, should know more soon.

  • Wes C. Addle February 9, 2015 (10:08 am)

    That was a quiet operation. I live next door and didn’t hear a peep. R.I.P to the deceased.

  • Captain Dave February 9, 2015 (10:36 am)

    Judging from the photos, it looks like quite a show of force. Was this Seattle Police dressed in army fatigues or was it the National Guard? The Urban Assault Vehicle looks like it’s from the military. Was the man a suspected terrorist or something?

    • WSB February 9, 2015 (11:32 am)

      CD, from many other incidents we covered, that’s standard SWAT team dress/gear.

  • Diane February 9, 2015 (11:27 am)

    yikes, as an apt dweller, I would sure hope nearby apts would be evacuated if police know there’s a distraught person with a firearm inside who has already injured one person; there are many many cases where bullets go through walls and injure or kill innocent people
    hope the “victim in the original domestic-violence report” is ok; did the police make contact with the person with the firearm during first DV call at apt at 8:30pm? If not, why not? when I made a DV call last year in my apt building, the officer told me they are required to make contact with the persons in DV call no matter what, that it’s high priority; if they did make contact with the perpetrator, why did police leave this person alone in the apt with a firearm? why wasn’t this person either taken into custody or taken to a mental health facility for evaluation and care?
    surprised to wake up to this story; I was parked a block away until 10pm; did not hear any sirens

  • pjmanley February 9, 2015 (12:11 pm)

    @Captain Dave: I thought the same thing when I saw the pics. A lot of gear is heavily discounted or freely given military surplus gear. But it still raises the question of whether this “overwhelming force” fad is the best & most effective way to deal with these situations. I think not, but the militarization of our police forces continues regardless of it’s necessity or effectiveness.

  • Bwsea February 9, 2015 (12:17 pm)

    I live in the building and everyone on my floor was evacuated very calmly and quickly. The Swat team did a great job of calming the situation while stressing the urgency to leave immediately.

  • BBB February 9, 2015 (12:19 pm)

    Glad to see the military was out in Fallujah er wait that’s spd in west Seattle

  • Silly Goose February 9, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    My heart goes out to those paramedic’s who have to see such sadness.

  • DiverLaura February 9, 2015 (12:53 pm)

    For those who are raising issue with the ‘show of force’.

    Having watched a lot of it unfold from the command post side while we were working out at the gym, these guys really did seem like they were there to protect and serve. This did not feel like a ‘militarization’ of the police force. There was a guy holed up with unknown quantity/type of gun(s) inside an apt. building who’d beaten up his girlfriend and sent her to the hospital and was suicidal. When someone is suicidal there is no real telling if they are going to hurt themselves or shoot it out for suicide by cop. Random weapons discharge could go through a floor or ceiling in a multi-tenant dwelling, from what it looked like, the whole goal was to talk him down while minimizing the threat to others. They were really cool with those of us rubbernecking at the whole event, answered our questions, offered to move their cars if we got boxed in, etc… Honestly, I was glad to see how seriously they took the whole situation.
    Put yourself in their shoes, we don’t know what the guy had available armory wise, and if not in his right mind, what he’d do. These brothers/sister/father/mothers are putting their lives on the line, and I’m glad to see them in appropriate protective kit. To the folks saying it might have been excessive, would you prefer we send them in with a windbreaker? The letters SPD don’t stop bullets. When I worked at Harborview as a scrub tech I worked on more than enough domestic violence victims AND gunshot victims to last a lifetime (sometimes the same patient). Yes, preventing the violence in the first place is key, but once things have crossed the line, I’m glad they have the gear they need.

  • Kt February 9, 2015 (12:59 pm)

    Bwsea- which floor are you on? I’m on the 2nd and we weren’t evacuated.

  • Craig February 9, 2015 (1:02 pm)

    Having been in Fallujah myself (2003) I can tell you that we didn’t have gear that nice. My two cents is that SPD needs to equal and surpass the threat they might encounter.

    Basically they’re carrying a gas mask on one leg, a handgun on the other a long gun (distance and accuracy and different munitions) and some odds and ends to be self supporting and keep in touch. In the photo above one guy appears to have a bag of forceable entry tools and the other possibly a sniper bag (long accurate gun and something to lay down on). I’m not for the over militarization of PD, but most of this is just stuff for a SWAT cop that’s going to not want to have to go back to their truck over and over and isn’t sure what to expect. Sucks to see it in West Seattle, but it happens.

    Sad situation for someone. RIP.

  • Christopher Boffoli February 9, 2015 (1:10 pm)

    Bwsea: Thank you for the additional information. So many residents were coming and going from the building last night, walking their dogs, etc., and it wasn’t clear exactly which apartment they were focused on and if any other residents had been cleared from their apartments. I did see a small group of three or four people go back in to the building after the SWAT team stood down. So guess you were among those people who had been waiting in the SPD bus.

  • Diane February 9, 2015 (1:18 pm)

    thank you Laura; from what you describe, I don’t think excessive at all; in fact the opposite
    I would like to know why ALL of the apts were not evacuated; in my apt building, walls/floors are paper thin; bullets could easily go through any walls/floors; scares me to think there could be a distraught person in apt below me and no notice from police to evacuate

  • JanS February 9, 2015 (1:21 pm)

    nd they would complain, too, if SPD didn’t show up like this, and someone innocent got shot, possibly killed. Oh, and DV? Run of the mill, no need for force…(more sarcasm)

  • pjmanley February 9, 2015 (1:30 pm)

    @DiverLaura: Windbreakers? C’mon. Demeaning the concerns of others by employing the age old political straw-man is beneath you. Nobody criticized the cops, but instead questioned the efficacy of a particular tactical method. Everybody has a bag full of personal anecdotes, which, valid or not, compromise objectivity and empiricism. While I’m glad nobody else got hurt, and I appreciate our WS officers, it doesn’t resolve the question as to whether the manner in which they operated is in fact the best method or what we want from our police force. It’s a dialogue, not a campaign. My on-par rejoinder would be simple: So, why not tanks and blackhawk helicopters? Ridiculous, right? Like windbreakers. We probably agree on a lot more than we don’t, so there’s no need to take sides on an issue like this. (Hard to do in our current environment, I know.) But we all live here, have a ton in common, and care about our neighborhood. And we are lucky to have a decent group of officers in WS, but every group has it’s bad ones, as we’ve seen repeatedly, and sooner or later, they go off. We have to take that into consideration as well.

  • AHResident February 9, 2015 (1:43 pm)

    Very well put, thank you DiverLaura. It’s very easy for some of you to pass judgement on the police, hiding behind the safety of your keyboard, having never walked in their shoes, or seen first hand how dangerous their jobs truly are every single day. Stop using a handful of bad apples to condemn the entire crop. The SWAT team is called upon when grave situations arise and real people’s lives are at risk (like the innocent residents of this apartment building). If you feel that SWAT tactics and gear are too heavy-handed, by all means, please volunteer to go knock on the door yourself, the next time something like this happens, and YOU reason with them to surrender peacefully. My heart goes out to all the victims of this incident, and I’m glad that the SWAT team was there, and better-armed than the aggressor, to prevent other residents from being injured or killed

  • Kt February 9, 2015 (2:14 pm)

    Diane – I agree, I want to know why my whole building wasn’t evacuated. We stayed in our apartment not knowing if it was safe to leave but also didn’t feel 100% safe in the apartment in case something happened. I felt stuck and uninformed. The only way I knew what was going on was through the blog and watching out my window. I know that I had to trust that the right decisions were being made but the night was stressful to say the least.

  • Diane February 9, 2015 (2:35 pm)

    again (since my question has not been addressed or answered); as an apt dweller; I would like to know why ALL of “the innocent residents of this apartment building” were not evacuated, for all of their safety

  • Bwsea February 9, 2015 (2:56 pm)

    Kt,I’m on the third floor of the building. My unit and the units around me were evacuated. We were evacuated very quickly(they gave us 1-2 minutes to leave) and we were instructed that we could go sit in a heated van at the fitness place or go off on own away from the building and check back in at the van frequently.

  • Lindsey February 9, 2015 (3:42 pm)

    What a terrible, terrible situation all around. My thoughts and prayers are with the victim as he or she adjusts to this new reality.

    Tracy, thank you so much for including the domestic violence hotline here.

  • LisaW February 9, 2015 (3:47 pm)

    We live on the 4th floor, across the hall…we were not evacuated. We heard noises earlier but weren’t sure what was happening. Very, very sad outcome.

  • Wendell February 9, 2015 (4:02 pm)

    If I’m ever in a situation where I need to be rescued by a SPD SWAT Unit, I hope they bring plenty munitions and entry tools to do their job effectively. They can also dress in whatever camo du jour they see fit. Also, Craig, thanks for your service.

  • Guy February 9, 2015 (4:14 pm)

    I have a friend who lives on the 4th floor. I hope it was not him. What a sad situation.

  • pjmanley February 9, 2015 (4:32 pm)

    “If you feel that SWAT tactics and gear are too heavy-handed, by all means, please volunteer to go knock on the door yourself, the next time something like this happens, and YOU reason with them to surrender peacefully.” @AHRes: That’s another false choice/straw-man argument too. If one cannot question the manner in which another performs his job or runs his business unless or until we do so ourselves, then a lot of hypocrites need to zip-it about the Seahawks last play-call in the Super Bowl. I don’t know anyone who is 100% pro-police or 100% anti-police, but it’s amazing how quickly people frame it that way to justify their beliefs.

  • pjmanley February 9, 2015 (5:07 pm)

    @Craig: Great post & insights. Thanks for shedding light on the situation, and contributing to the discussion. Appreciate your service and I’m glad you’re here WS.

  • wscommuter February 9, 2015 (5:22 pm)

    @pjmanley … it would appear that you are trying to have it both ways: professing support for the police, while saying … well, I’m not at all sure what the hell you’re trying to say.

    No one says you can’t “question the manner in which [the police do their business]” But all you’re doing is “questioning” without offering any substance so its difficult to take your comments seriously. What, precisely, in your expert opinion, was wrong with the police response and how, precisely, should they have done things? Please provide detail. Because rhetorical questions are nothing but wind.

    I’m among those who are happy to question and criticize the police for bad behavior (such as Ofc. Whitlach (sp?) arresting the elderly gentleman with the golf club). But I also know that DV situations are statistically THE most deadly situation police encounter. So if SPD uses an abundance of caution about an unknown situation with firearms involved … godspeed to them.

  • Mary Lou Alger February 9, 2015 (7:33 pm)

    @Diane why don’t you pick up the phone and CALL the police station to ask your question? I don’t know that they’re monitoring the blog to answer questions regarding a tragic suicide. RIP.

    Sad that this has become a forum for argument on the topic of “police brutality.” These aren’t robots, our police group is made up of mothers, brothers, sons, aunts, etc. Humans. Like you. Like me. One day comments are crying “MORE POLICE POWER!” and the next day they’re crying “LESS POLICE POWER!”

  • Mj February 9, 2015 (9:15 pm)

    Mary Lou, yes, yes, yes!!!

  • Ken February 10, 2015 (12:45 am)

    @ DiverLaura – Appreciate your perspective and input. Very well written.
    @ Craig – THANK YOU for your service!
    @ Mary Lou – Excellent comment.

  • Lars February 10, 2015 (1:49 am)

    “Overwhelming police fad”. “Fad”? I guess they should have just tweeted him and asked him to come out…..And traffic stops kill more cops than any other, then the DV call.

  • Home again February 10, 2015 (8:25 am)

    Sad to see this happen anywhere, but the larger issue of domestic abuse seems to be getting lost in a pro/anti-police wrangle. How is it that so many people could live in the same apt bldg unaware that domestic abuse was going on? How many of those now “concerned neighbors” tried to reach out to the victim – or to the alleged abuser? Yes, it’s the Seattle way to mind your own business, but it is also important to know your neighbors, especially since living on top of each other is rapidly becoming the new normal in WS.

    • WSB February 10, 2015 (8:35 am)

      @HA, that is a great point (and as the daughter of an abused woman and abusive man, I personally thank you), but I also want to caution before we cast a wagging finger at the neighbors, there is no information on whether it was an ongoing situation, longterm residents, or not. Many harrowing stories exist of abusers who take great care to be quiet about it, leave no marks, etc. Anyway, of the many online resources, this one seems to offer some personal, specific tips on how to help (though aimed at “friends and family,” I think “neighbors” would apply):
      Note the hotline again – 800-799-SAFE. And also – we have reported on them before – SPD has the Victims’ Support Team. I don’t know if they were called in or otherwise deployed here, but they are volunteers who go through training to offer help to victims.
      In a more general way, realize that there are resources all through the community, including shelters – the Salvation Army operates Hickman House in this area – and listen up for chances to support them, with money and/or donated items. – TR

  • JS February 10, 2015 (9:02 am)

    People living in the same apartment building for years and not really knowing each other seems to be the norm here in Seattle. I’ve lived in places where neighbors may not be great friends but at least they do know each other. I live in the building where this tragedy took place and, sad to say, although I’ve asked a few people in the building, I don’t know who this happened to. Both the woman who got out with her life and the man who killed himself are people I must have seen and exchanged a few words with from time to time and I don’t even know who they are.
    Any thoughts on why this anonymity is so prevalent in Seattle?

  • M. Zuccarella February 10, 2015 (9:05 am)

    @ Wes C Addle
    They were pretty quiet, but if you lived in the building facing California, the emergency vehicle lights were coming through the windows. You must have been on the ally way side.

  • M. Zuccarella February 10, 2015 (9:09 am)

    The ally way side was really quiet. One patrol car facing that ally way, otherwise they stayed clear of site. This was the side the apartment was on that had the incident. All very unfortunate.

  • Kt February 10, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    I just moved into the building 2 months ago. Everyone I’ve met has been incredibly friendly and nice. There’s not much opportunity for interacting outside of sharing an elevator ride or passing one another taking your dog out. I wish there was more opportunity for people who live in apartments to do things like the night out block parties that happen throughout the city during the summer. Maybe we can make that happen.

  • pjmanley February 10, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    @Lars: C’mon. You’re the 3rd or 4th person to toss out a straw-man, polar opposite, ridiculous argument to make your point. “Oh, so I guess they should have [insert ridiculous alternative here, such as milk & cookies/shook his hand/given him flowers/written him a warning/worn windbreakers, etc.]” And I’m still looking for the false “police brutality” accusation that garnered a triple “yes” and other kudos. Mary Lou hijacks the thread with a completely false allegation of “police brutality” by Diane, and like Pavlov’s dog, certain folks from “Camp Cop” jump on board with kudos. I presume I’m in Camp Crook, because I dared to question anything our police do. That’s how some will always see it. Fine.
    Why is anonymity so prevalent in Seattle? You’re looking at it, JS.

  • NF February 10, 2015 (10:44 pm)

    Some of you seriously have nothing better to do.. I’m new to wsea and the blog. However, I’m sure the blog wasn’t meant for people to verbally attack/ bash each other. It’s to bring awareness to one another. To stay alive and alert. So that way we can do our best to keep our community safe. Most of you have lost sight of what really matters here.. The victim was able to getaway as safe as possible alive and without life threatening issues. That a life was lost Sunday evening. That families are mourning right now. This hasn’t been easy on anyone. Let’s put this to rest. I think this is something we should all be able to do and help each other get passed.

  • Wes C. Addle February 11, 2015 (11:18 am)

    @M. Zuccarella
    I am on the California side and I did see lights at one point and they were turned off after the vehcile passed my place at around 11ish. Since sirens and emergency vehicles are common I didn’t even think to investigate and went to bed. To clarify, I’m in the building next to the one that the incident happened in. Glad all my neighbors are OK.

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