FOLLOWUP: How naked man’s hammer rampage on Avalon ended without serious injury

(Reader photo, early Saturday afternoon – cropped just above where suspect was lying on ground, in custody)

As promised, we followed up today on Saturday’s bizarre and frightening Avalon Way incident involving a naked man running in the roadway, bolting into a business, and smashing windows on an occupied Metro bus before police got him under control.

(Photo from KD – bus windows smashed during rampage)

We had few details that day – most of the story was told by commenters – but we obtained the police report narrative today and have transcribed much of it. It begins:

At 11:52 (am) … numerous callers reported a naked male in the vicinity of SW Avalon Way/SW Andover Street acting erratically and armed with a hammer. Dispatch advised the following: “On Avalon, just north of intersection, naked male hitting vehicles and lying in the middle of the road. The subject was described as a white male, late twenties to forties, 5’8” to 6’, thin, bald, facial hair, and completely naked.

Three officers were sent, two who are described as having had Crisis Intervention Training, one described as from the SW Precinct Bicycle Squad. They were in the small bus that transports the bicycle squad, “which lacks emergency equipment or in-car video,” the report notes, continuing:

Prior to officers arriving, dispatch updated that the subject was unintelligibly yelling, striking vehicles with a hammer, appeared high, jumped onto a pickup truck, stopping traffic, lying in the street, dancing, broke a bus window, went into a pet-care business, and covered in blood, chasing people with a hammer.

Arriving officers requested SFD medics and AMR be dispatched and stage nearby. Upon arriving to the incident location at 12:01 hours, officers observed the subject standing in the southbound lanes of SW Avalon Way/SW Andover Street. A large pile of glass was observed in the roadway, slightly south of the subject’s current location. The subject, later identified as (redacted, born in 1986), was observed nude waving the hammer in the lane of traffic. Prior to contacting (him), the roles of less-lethal, contact, and lethal cover were assigned among the three officers (who) made contact with (the man) and gained initial verbal compliance. (He) placed himself on the ground in a dynamic modified prone but maintained possession of the hammer. As soon as (he) released the hammer, he was placed into custody.

SFD Engine 36 arrived and began attempting to treat (the man) on scene. (He) had numerous abrasions and smaller lacerations on his body. He was sweating, but not more than would be considered normal given his recent activities. He had what appeared to be silver spray paint around his mouth and nose. He was able to articulate words and express fears of being chased by unknown persons. (He) provided numerous names to officers and spoke quickly without a clear path between topics.

He was eventually identified because other officers arriving at the scene recognized him as someone they had referred for an involuntary evaluation about a week earlier. The report says he was then to Harborview Medical Center. At that point, the report goes into more of what had happened with the bus:

The driver of the damaged King County Metro bus arrived back on scene, being escorted by a King County Metro supervisor. The driver … stated he was traveling southbound … on SW Avalon Way. He observed (the man) standing in the roadway blocking his lane of travel. (The driver) stopped the bus to avoid striking (the man … who) approached the driver side of the bus and grasped the driver’s side window, holding a hammer, and stated people were after him. (The driver) closed his window and refused to open the door in fear for himself and his passengers. (The man) struck both windows on the driver’s side of his compartment, shattering both. (He) then struck the windshield twice with a hammer before going to the rear of the bus.

When (he) moved from in front of the vehicle, (the driver) continued southbound, declining to stop at a nearby bus stop in fear for his passengers’ safety. (The driver) stated he was covered in glass from the incident but only received a small cut on his left calf. He had multiple passengers on the vehicle, all of which were transferred to another bus after he left the location.

We asked Metro today about the bus’s status; spokesperson Scott Gutierrez tells us it “has been repaired and will return to service this afternoon or tomorrow morning.” Meantime, the police report tells one more story, that of the employees in the Pet Care Center, who said the man had entered the clinic, unclothed and holding a hammer, also claiming he was being chased, and trying to lock the door from the inside; they activated alarms but said, according to the report, “(he) did not threaten anybody inside the business and quickly exited the building, where he was contacted by police.”

Separate from the mental-health commitment, the report says police are recommending the man be charged with property destruction because of the damage to the bus.

47 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: How naked man's hammer rampage on Avalon ended without serious injury"

  • Alki Resident July 10, 2017 (3:04 pm)

    So it sounds like he had been huffing. You don’t hear about that much anymore. I feel bad for all involved during this rampage.

    • WSB July 10, 2017 (3:34 pm)

      Or, he painted himself. There was no further mention in the report (at least the three-page narrative) of a possible source of the paint, or any other substance, anyway …

  • Theresa - Highland Park July 10, 2017 (3:27 pm)

    I take my dog and cat to the Pet Care Center all the time.  It’s a great vet clinic.  I was there that morning picking up food for my cat, but luckily I missed the action.  I’m glad everyone is ok.  I hope they weren’t too traumatized!  

  • AS July 10, 2017 (3:34 pm)

    Is there some sort of mental hospital or recovery center or something off of this area of Avalon?  It seems there are a lot of somewhat maybe unstable people in that area at different times of the day who appear to be coming from somewhere nearby.  We’ve seen it for a few years now so are thinking there is some sort of center there?   Just curious as it would explain a lot!  Glad no one was injured but I am sure it was pretty scary for those on that bus.

    • WSB July 10, 2017 (3:36 pm)

      Transitional Resources has multiple residential buildings further south/west on Avalon; we have published stories about them in the past. You can read more about them here:

  • Michael Waldo July 10, 2017 (4:01 pm)

    Hmmmmmm. the police are very patient with a crazy, armed white guy. I can’t help but wonder if he would be dead now if he was a crazy black man.

    • Double Dub Resident July 11, 2017 (4:14 am)

      Oh, you mean like the crazy naked black man who was spraying pesticide on people and slapped the officer and got tased not too long ago? 

      The biggest difference between the crazy naked white guy and black guy and the woman is the nature of the call. Both the crazy guys were calls of crisis where police was expecting to be dealing with a person in crisis in an open area. 

      The woman in the other hand called about an alleged burglary that we now know was a bogus call. 

      She let officers into her apartment and was calmly answering the officers questions as they were filling out a police report when obviously unexpectedly and out of no where she pulled out 2 knives (with multiple knives in her pockets still) told the police to “get ready bleeper bleepers” and advanced on one of them in an enclosed area and not complying with the multiple warnings to stay back. Had this been a white guy he would have gotten shot also, and probably with less warnings. 

  • Sandy Adams July 10, 2017 (4:01 pm)

    Really good to see a story about how SPD did the right thing when confronted with an unstable, mentally ill person.  We are fortunate to have such good officers in Southwest!

    • ltfd July 10, 2017 (7:39 pm)

      Actually, it was the crazy-naked-guy who eventually “did the right thing” by complying with the officers’ commands.

      • REAP July 10, 2017 (10:46 pm)

        No, LTFD, that makes way too much sense!!

  • Jenny July 10, 2017 (4:17 pm)

    I was on the northbound C passing very slowly because the street was kind of blocked.  Police were great . Naked guy was compliant once he was laying on the ground. 

  • Mark July 10, 2017 (4:42 pm)

    Hopefully the guy will be forced to pay for the damages caused to the bus and the delay to riders on the bus

    • Swede. July 10, 2017 (5:34 pm)

      Yeah right. People that do things like this have no money (usually) Just those bus windows are several thousands of dollars. 

      • Km July 11, 2017 (7:26 am)

        Uhm. Only poor people have mental breakdowns? That’s a pretty sheltered and inaccurate opinion. Tell me – does the presence of large amounts of money somehow emit a magical chemical that bonds to and protects the brain of the economical elite? Mental health isn’t just a byproduct of social construct (although it can hasten it).

        • Swede. July 11, 2017 (7:34 pm)

          So hence the paragraph saying USUALLY…

          And like WSB pointed out: “Transitional Resources has multiple residential buildings further south/west on Avalon”

          And my experience is that people in ‘transition’ out of jail and/or mental care (that’s what’s referenced right?) Usually isn’t exactly well off. But I can be wrong, so please enlighten me. 

  • Jennifer July 10, 2017 (5:20 pm)

    I’m going to presume that the “naked man” was white. How fortunate for him. #SayHerName #CharleenaLyles 

    • Mr. X July 10, 2017 (7:04 pm)

      Also fortunate that he wasn’t holding a knife. 

    • T July 10, 2017 (11:05 pm)

      Amen! Exactly what I was thinking!!!

  • Delta in WS July 10, 2017 (5:38 pm)

    Interesting, considering the outcome, that the guy was white. I wonder what would have happened if he’d been a person of color.

  • JRR July 10, 2017 (6:10 pm)

    Yet again, things work out fine for a mentally unstable white guy. 

  • aa July 10, 2017 (6:12 pm)

    I was thinking the same thing.   From this report it sounds like this man was creating a much larger disturbance, threatening  the lives of people on the bus and in the area with his violent behavior, yet somehow in this instance they made the determination that non lethal means was enough.  Charlene Lyles was a pregnant woman in her home and the police decided the best solution was to kill her. I would really like to hear specifically what was it about her behavior that warranted her death and the death of her unborn child and how did it differ from this situation? 

    • Sow July 10, 2017 (8:38 pm)

      Love the Monday-morning-quarterbacking and arrogant comparisons. Maybe this suspect actually showed a relative amount of compliance which resulted in his being arrested without incident.  Police reports, court documents, property ownership, divorce proceedings, births, deaths, etc. are all open to the public. Extend yourselves and stop relying on hearsay and laziness for information.

      Does anyone know the name of the person shot and killed–not by the police–yesterday in South Seattle? Thought not. When you do know will you protest over his death? Thought not?



      • WSB July 10, 2017 (8:47 pm)

        (a) The Medical Examiner hasn’t even released the name of yesterday’s shooting victim. Nor the pedestrian hit and killed overnight, either, for that matter. (No Monday media update, I just checked. There’s usually one around 3 pm.) So I doubt anyone knows except their family and friends.

        (b) There is not a shred of hearsay in this story. It’s either transcribed or summarized from the actual police report, which I requested and obtained from SPD media relations this morning. Plus information from Metro as to the status of the bus. And I’ve just received two photos whose anonymous sender says are from the incident, from inside the bus, so we’ll be adding those. – TR

        • Michael July 10, 2017 (9:58 pm)

          There is no hearsay in the article but there is no shortage of it in the comments.

  • EdSane July 10, 2017 (7:10 pm)

    Probably the same outcome that happened with the knife wielding man downtown (he lived). The police were aware of the situation and had time to prepare prior to engaging. That is not always the case. I don’t see how comparing apples and oranges furthers anything.

  • flimflam July 10, 2017 (7:11 pm)

    yes, thank god nothing bad happened to the naked drug fueled man smashing random citizens vehicles and a city bus with a hammer – I mean, we need to think of his needs.

    • WSB July 11, 2017 (1:47 pm)

      The headline specifically didn’t say “without serious injuries TO HIM” because it wasn’t just about him. There were people in the bus, people in the clinic, people in other vehicles, all there while he was running around with a hammer, all of whom could have been at risk of injury. In particular, though no one has commented on it, the narrative suggests the bus driver acted rather heroically in getting out of there and protecting his passengers. – TR

  • Community Mem July 10, 2017 (9:01 pm)

    Edsane, just because you don’t personally see the point doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  Your post is dismissive and disrespectful of anything that isn’t a priori part of your personal experience and world view? If you don’t understand the relevance, you could ask for clarification. 

    The police who went to Charleena Lyles’s home also had information about her recent mental history and recent threats made, and could  quite reasonably have been expected to be somewhat prepared to handle a repeat of what had happened just the week before.  

    I don’t know whether this situation had a better result because the police had crisis training and acted with compassion and foresight, or simply because the disturbed individual followed instructions. 

    • Double Dub Resident July 11, 2017 (6:29 am)

      Wow, talk about dismissive and disrespectful. Not only did you imply that the officers involved with Charleene didn’t have CIT training, but that they may not have compassion and foresight. 

      The call those officers responded to was a burglary call not in progress. One that we now know was bogus. 

      Standard protocol is for an officer to respond (at an obviously more leisurely pace since this type of call is not one where the victim of said crime is  in imminent danger) to the call and simply take a report. 

      The reason why a second officer was dispatched was because they were aware of her. 

      Anyone that has listened to the tapes knows she calmly invited the officers in when they asked and for several minutes she calmly answered questions being asked of her as they filled out the report. It was going routine and it was a fairly mundane situation. 

      Then without warning while one officer was in the kitchen area, she pulled out 2 kitchen knives from the multiple knives in her pockets and came at the officer (mind you within a 6 foot radius which anyone that has defense and tactical training knows is a significantly dangerous situation), said “get ready bleeper bleepers” and continued to come at the officer despite multiple warnings not to. 

      As Rahr said, there are times and situations where no amount of CIT training is going to work.

      Unfortunately with the element of surprise from Charleene going from calmly answering questions to a routine burglary report to suddenly producing 2 large kitchen knives and coming at officers and not complying to their warnings , combined with a small space of the apartment, there was simply no time or space to even begin to de-escalate the situation. 

    • EdSane July 11, 2017 (7:18 am)

      Charleena Lyle’s contacted the police to report a burglary. They were responding to that and not a person in distress. Yes, they had prior knowledge of her previous mental state however that does not mean in that instance they would respond with the numbers and tactics they would when dealing with a person in distress. Another key factor is the time and space difference between these two incidences. Which is why I referenced the case of the African-American downtown who wielded a knife and was thankfully taken in to custody unharmed. As someone who really believes in police reform I don’t see how these accusatory conversations absent of fact help anyone. If we attempt to change the story to fit pre-determined narraratives we will end up with bad policy or worse no change at all.

  • TJ July 10, 2017 (9:13 pm)

    Gotta love the racial comments. Charleena Lyles ignored repeated commands to drop a knife and advanced on officers in a confined space. Different case here. This man luckily complied with officers to lay down, and eventually released the hammer. Had he not, this may have turned out the same as Charleena Lyles. Get a grip. 

    • Double Dub Resident July 10, 2017 (10:36 pm)

      Exactly, a bunch of people spouting off with their arm chair criticisms. 

      No one remembers last year the white guy with the knife getting shot by officers. 

      Not to long ago a man was shot by officers because of a suspected knife in his hand after they tried to tase him and it DIDN’T Work. 

      Man on I-5 killed with knife by police. Since the media wasn’t so quick to jump on race, I’d assume white guy. 

      The woman who called the cops with the false burglary report not only had 2 knives in her hands, but in her pockets too in which she drew on officers while one was trapped in a corner 6 feet from her. 

      For those that think real life is Hollywood, let me give you a reality check. 

      6 feet apart is nothing in distance in decision and reaction time. And  under DOJ, department policy is if someone pulls a weapon on an officer, they’re to pull their weapon. 

      Then people ask, why didn’t they just knock the knives out of her hand? Seriously, do people think this is some martial arts movie?! Get a grip. Tell you what. Go get a couple of permanent markers and give them to someone and then make them angry and then try to take them out of their hands and see how that goes. I’m sure you may eventually get them out of their hands, but you’ll be scrubbing marker ink off your body and quite possibly your face. 

      Then people ask well why didn’t they shoot her in the leg?  Because the training is to stop the threat. Anyone who knows about guns knows shooting someone in the leg (even if possible in a scenario, which it often times isn’t) will most likely not stop a threat. Considering she was only about 6 feet away, even if she was shot in the leg, with adrenaline and momentum she could have easily stabbed one of the officers thus injuring and killing the officer. This is why department policy under DOJ train officers  to aim at mass, because:

      1.  That is the best chance to stop the threat.

      2.  Shooting a hand gun (especially under the stress of imminent danger and possible erratic movement)  is not like Hollywood where people are nonchalantly shooting one handed and hitting people right between the eyes.

      At the end of the day being a police officer is a job, and just like everyone else,  the officer wants to go home too. 

      And even if a taser was there :

      1. It’s against department policy, again under DOJ to use a taser unless there are at least 3 officers present and ironically, they can’t be used against pregnant women. 

      2. Tasers don’t have a good track record. I’ve been told around 35% effective (this is due to clothing, mental states drugs, the barbs both making the target to complete the circuit, and restrictions on where they can be aimed which is the lower part of the torso and lower which makes completing the circuit more difficult) , so even at 50% the police are not going to risk their lives when they’re in a tight enclosed area such as this. Especially when the woman not only wasn’t going to comply, but says to “get ready bleeper bleepers” before coming at the officer with 2 knives. 

      The idea that either officer wanted to shoot this woman is ridiculous. This was a tragedy for everyone involved. 

      • Double Dub Resident July 10, 2017 (10:46 pm)

        I meant to say hurt and /or kill

      • Mok July 11, 2017 (12:38 am)

        Exactly DDR, thank you! 

  • CL July 10, 2017 (10:12 pm)

    #CharleenaLyles  a million times #CharleenaLyles  less than a 100 pounds …. shot where?

  • Jill July 10, 2017 (10:38 pm)

    So glad it was resolved without serious injury or death. It was helpful, of course, that he was outside so there was sufficient space to approach him to get compliance without being in harms way. Thank you WSB for reporting this so well. 

  • dsa July 11, 2017 (1:12 am)

    Thanks DDR, I hope more  see what you wrote.

  • Vina July 11, 2017 (6:10 am)

    Compliance doesn’t yield similar outcomes when it’s a person of color involved. You can get be pulling out your ID so compliantly and get shot by a police officer because you are black. Folks saying race has nothing to do with this discrepancy, check it. 

  • anonyme July 11, 2017 (6:36 am)

    Odd that no one has mentioned the naked guy shooting at the shore from a boat on Bainbridge the other day.  Police shot and killed him; he was white.   Scurrilous accusations of racism serve only to stir up more hate.

    • Double Dub Resident July 11, 2017 (7:11 am)

      Actually I did mention it

    • Duwamesque July 11, 2017 (7:58 am)

      Except this is the exception that proves the rule. Bainbridge PD reportedly took 45 minutes to respond then had a 2 hour standoff. They only shot the guy dead when he aimed a rifle at police. Contrast that to UNARMED people of color being killed by police disproportionately around the country and look at John T. Williams right here in Seattle and it is clear racism is a serious concern in police violence.

    • newnative July 11, 2017 (8:20 am)

      Anonyme, he had a rifle and was actively shooting.

  • Rick July 11, 2017 (8:39 am)

    Last report I heard he was naked with his hands up. I don’t believe the “gun” he might have been waving was capable of harming anyone.

  • halfjapanese July 11, 2017 (2:29 pm)

    @Vina….so if this white guy would had reached into his pocket to get his ID he would had been shot by the SPD???? Oh wait he had no pockets he was naked so maybe this is why the SPD did not use brutal force on him, he had nothing to hide.

    AND why must we always play the race card???? This is as bad as the News Stations making a mole hill out of nothing.  

  • face July 12, 2017 (11:27 pm)

    The cops in West Seattle lie. We had an incident the other day on 34th where a cop told me that it was a suicide event. There were swat teams with rifles pointed at the house where the person allegedly was going to kill herself. Later I found out the cops lied, it was not a suicide attempt it was a mix up for someone with a warrant. Needless to say, the cops traumatized everyone that was watching the event unfold. So, in short, I don’t believe anything the cops say. Lies, all lies

    • WSB July 12, 2017 (11:59 pm)

      We reported the end of that incident after monitoring it for an hour-plus (because roads were blocked off, people started asking about it, and that’s the main reason we wrote a short item) and that’s what it was described as, in the police’s conversations with each other, via radio transmissions and when I checked with downtown after it ended, from the dispatch on – a person, possibly armed, suspected to be threatening self-harm. That doesn’t necessarily exclude discovery of the person having a warrant. (I don’t know whether they did or did not, but it could happen.)

  • jo ho July 26, 2017 (1:23 pm)

    Just another day in the leftist ideal city. The reason thses things happen so frequently is the tolerance of drug users in this city.  If you dont punush but support drug users this is what you get. Congrats Seattle.

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