Tonight we finally have details on the gunfire incident that brought Seattle Police SWAT officers to an Alki neighborhood in the early hours of New Year’s Day, as mentioned briefly here that night.
We’ve obtained the full police report; what follows is what SPD says happened, starting with multiple 911 calls reporting “shots fired” at 60th/Hinds (map) less than an hour into the New Year:
The callers said they saw three people standing next to a small white pickup truck at the intersection, and, the report says, “seeing and hearing multiple shots fired from a handgun into the air toward the west and northwest. They also saw the muzzle flash when the handgun was being discharged.” Lest the operator suspect fireworks instead of gunshots, the report notes that one caller is active-duty military and “very familiar with firearms.” And then there was this: “While the complainants were on the phone with 911, the emergency operator could hear gunshots in the background.”
No surprise, then, that: “Numerous police units responded to the area.” A marked patrol car turned its spotlight on the white pickup truck, at which time one of two people standing alongside it ran away, toward the house the pickup was parked in front of. Officers “identified themselves as Seattle Police and ordered both subjects to stop and get on the ground. The subject who ran toward the residence ignored the officers’ commands and disappeared into the house.” The other one obeyed the commands and police took him into custody, though he turned out later to be a witness, not a suspect.
Meantime, other officers “quickly contained” the house into which the other person had run. After assessing the situation, they knocked, announced themselves, and ordered him to come outside. According to the report: “A male voice from inside responded with a loud ‘No’. Officers backed off and continued to contain the house.”
All the while, other officers were talking with the witness, who said he had met two men “at bars on Alki” earlier and followed them back to that neighborhood, where he said he saw them take turns “shooting a silver revolver, pointing it in the air toward the northwest. He believed they shot the handgun at least 12 times. But he insisted he had never touched or fired the gun, and said he hadn’t run because he hadn’t done anything wrong.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, the report says: “Due to the nature of the call, SWAT was requested at the scene. … After several attempts to hail the occupants of the house (via a patrol car’s PA system), a female stepped out of the house. The female … stated her son … was inside the house. When officers escorted (her) to a safer location, (one suspect) also came out of the house and surrendered.” Five minutes later, the other suspect came out. The report describes both as “obviously intoxicated.” The first suspect to emerge, a 26-year-old man who police say lives at the house, “admitted to owning a handgun and told officers that it was inside his safe in his room,” though he then later changed his story about having a safe, and: “When asked how many times he had fired the gun tonight, he replied, ‘I cannot say’ several times.” The other suspect, 25, “denied any knowledge and/or involvement with possessing a handgun or shooting a firearm” and said “he was not going to say anything else without an attorney.”
The first suspect wouldn’t give police consent to search the house, the report says, so they got a judge to issue a search warrant: “When officers returned to the house with the search warrant (the first suspect’s) mother said her son was only shooting it in the air and asked what the big deal was.” Subsequently searching both the home and the ’93 white Ford pickup, police found “a loaded 5-shot Taurus .357 revolver, 15 spent .38 caliber (empty casings) rounds and 29 unspent rounds (mixture of .38 and .357) in the suspect’s room, and “illegal fireworks” in his truck.
Both suspects were booked into the King County Jail for investigation of reckless endangerment. The one who lived at the house was released last night; the other one is still in, with bail set at $1,000, listed as being under investigation for assault as well as endangerment.
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