(updated info, photos, video being added frequently to the bottom of this post – as well as comments with new info and links – thanks to everyone for helping co-create the updates, and keep refreshing)
(photo added 11:43 am, TV crew shooting door at original robbery scene @ Wells Fargo)
ORIGINAL POST: Just in from Seattle Police: A bank robbery in the 2300 block of California; the suspect was in a brown wig, sunglasses, black mask, black dress, police are looking for a “black Jeep Cherokee driven by a black male.” Call 911 with any tips. (Address check suggests that’s Wells Fargo; we’re headed that way to find out more.) 10:48 AM UPDATE: Confirmed on scene, it’s Wells Fargo, with a note on the door saying they’re temporarily closed for “an emergency.” (photo below added at 12:09 pm) We’re told by a nearby businessperson that one suspect may have been caught on The Bridge – checking that with police – might explain why only one patrol car is at bank.
11 AM UPDATE: Police confirm two suspects have been caught, outside West Seattle – one on Yesler, one on Spring.
11:05 AM UPDATE: Playing out in the comments right now – there’s been a gunbattle of some sort downtown. As a result, traffic is backing up on The Viaduct since it’s in the Seneca vicinity – avoid heading that way if you can. We’re now listening to the scanner and you’re going to want to avoid Spring/Seneca entirely, judging by what we’re hearing. Will continue updating as we hear more.
11:13 AM UPDATE: Scanner is talking about at least one person having been shot. Channel 7 tv has some aerial coverage right now. Our field crew is back out at the Wells Fargo branch where this all started, and Channel 4 has a crew there too. More to come.
11:21 AM UPDATE: Can’t stress enough, stay away from this part of downtown – sounds like absolute chaos/gridlock down there with so many police units involved, streets blocked off, etc. Channel 7 speculates that the shooting victim in an aid car is one of the suspects.
11:30 AM UPDATE: Citywide media is now swarming the original bank-robbery scene at Admiral/California – KING’s chopper sighted as well as somebody in a channel 13 jacket. Still awaiting a briefing there.
11:37 AM UPDATE: Some of the restrictions downtown are being loosened – we”re hearing pedestrians will soon be allowed through part of the area closed down (2nd/3rd/Seneca/Spring seems to be the epicenter of all the downtown activity).
11:49 AM UPDATE: Police have decided to do a combined briefing downtown with info about this robbery and the downtown shootings. We will monitor that and post updates here. Should also have more visuals from robbery scene (including interview with nearby witness) shortly. That witness told us that the robbers parked their vehicle on the California side at the bus stop – the side shown in this photo we just received from WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli:
12:08 PM UPDATE: TV reports that the area downtown is likely to be cordoned off a few more hours – so for those who work downtown or were planning to go there, beware.
12:26 PM UPDATE: This link just added in comments from “Fort Cloudy” – video where you can reportedly hear the shots (we haven’t had a chance yet to view it ourselves).
12:31 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Patrick for sending this cameraphone photo from downtown – looking down at one of the areas where you can see multiple police vehicles:
12:40 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Charles Moore for this pic from downtown:
12:52 PM UPDATE: Listening to SPD media officer Mark Jamieson recounting what happened – robbery at Wells Fargo was 10:10 am – officers “located the vehicle as it was leaving West Seattle” and “followed” it to Capitol Hill where in Broadway/Yesler vicinity, one suspect got out (and was arrested), then vehicle went back downtown where officers tried to get the second suspect to leave the vehicle, he didn’t, they opened fire. Jamieson does not know the condition of that suspect, who is being treated at Harborview for gunshot wound(s) – when we heard the scanner traffic earlier, it sounded like at least one bullet had hit him in the neck. No other major injuries reported, possibly one person hurt by flying glass during the downtown shooting. We also just heard scanner traffic about the “dye pack” from the robbery but didn’t hear where.
1:02 PM UPDATE: Police say that they will keep the block around the shooting scene downtown – approx. 1st/Spring – closed for at least a few hours. The Wells Fargo branch back here in West Seattle at California/Admiral is expected to be closed for the rest of the day. Next door at Museum Quality Framing, Robert (who didn’t want to give his last name) saw the robber – though he didn’t realize that’s what was happening, as he says people park in the bus stop area all the time – here’s part of his interview with several media crews (including WSB):
Robert didn’t think the suspect was wearing a dress; looked to him more like “baggy pants.” Meantime, the P-I notes this branch has been robbed a few times before; here’s an archive story from 2006.
1:31 PM UPDATE: We are going to start posting some other news atop the page (jumping after the first line so this story doesn’t move too far down) but we will continue to update this post when new information is available, particularly any updates on downtown traffic – since the commute is just a few hours away. We are also monitoring the citywide media sources that are also covering this story so that if someone else reports a significant development we will add a note about it (with attribution, of course!) here.
1:37 PM UPDATE: No sooner do we say that, when Sharonn Meeks sends some photos from downtown, where she says there’s still a “lot of activity” centering on 1st and Spring – including onlookers (second shot):
2:22 PM UPDATE: One TV crew left at robbery scene when last we went by (channel 4; they do news at 4 pm). Channel 7 has posted its raw downtown aerial video online, about 8 minutes worth, which started even before police opened fire on the vehicle; see it here.
2:39 PM UPDATE: The police media unit has posted an update with a full summary of this morning’s events. Noteworthy details include the fact they’re definitely calling the Wells Fargo stickup “a takeover-style robbery” in which the robber was armed and ordered everyone down on the floor, also the fact the suspect who was still in the car by the time it got down had shown a handgun repeatedly before officers opened fire. The one who was arrested earlier had gotten out of the vehicle at 1st and Yesler after the vehicle had traveled onto I-5 from the West Seattle Bridge (NOT onto The Viaduct? eyewitness reports seem to dispute that) and is being “processed” before expected booking into the King County Jail, according to the update from media unit Officer Renee Witt, who also says the officers iinvolved in the shooting were three Seattle Police officers “from various precincts” and one King County sheriff’s deputy, all described as “veteran” officers. No word so far on the condition of the robbery suspect who was shot in the neck. (We will watch the online jail register to see if we can get some info on the non-injured suspect.)
3:19 PM UPDATE: Times says the suspect who was shot is in critical condition.
3:59 PM UPDATE: Sharonn Meeks advises Spring Street is still closed between 1st and 2nd. The city is not expecting to issue official road-closure updates since it’s still a police scene, but we are monitoring traffic reports so we can tell you what we’re hearing – those of you who are downtown, your updates will be helpful too.
4:12 PM UPDATE: The Times says the FBI has identified the two suspects – 50-year-old Douglas Michael Cox and 43-year-old Kevin V. Palmer. We’re checking publicly available databases to see if either has West Seattle ties; Palmer has voter registration – from 2000; his reported convictions must have been later – linked to a South Seattle address. Not finding Cox yet. (He is the one who was shot.)
4:59 PM UPDATE: According to the King County Jail register, Kevin V. Palmer’s full name is Kevin Vernett Palmer. Meantime, the shooting scene downtown is still closed to traffic.
5:12 PM UPDATE: In addition to being booked for investigation of robbery and eluding, Palmer is also being held for a “failure to appear” warrant in another case. The records of that case aren’t available via the online source we use, so we don’t have details. Meantime it looks like Cox’s background traces mostly to Eastern Washington, so we’re still not finding West Seattle links to either suspect prior to today’s heist.
7:03 PM UPDATE: Not having much luck finding out if the scene downtown has reopened yet, so unless word comes in within the next 15 minutes or so, we’re probably just going to head down and check for ourselves. Channel 5, meantime, reported in the 6:30 news that one of the suspects had barely been out of prison a month after another bank-robbery conviction. Their online report also says the FBI is now saying the robber was NOT wearing a dress (if you scroll back up to our video clip with Robert at the frame shop next door, he said it was baggy pants, not a dress).
8:14 PM UPDATE: We’re downtown and the scene’s clear, Spring St. is open again. Two TV trucks and one police unit in sight, but no other obvious evidence of what happened earlier today.