Cops bust man for firing gun — to see if it still worked — in streets of Capitol Hill — UPDATE

A man was arrested Thursday night after a series of gunshots startled residents around 13th Ave E. According to police, the 32-year-old man fired the shots — and reloaded and fired some more — because he wanted to see if the gun still worked.

“The suspect reloaded at least once and continued to fire indiscriminately, causing a significant risk to the public,” the report, below, on the incident states.


The suspect was found walking on 15th Ave E a few blocks away and ordered to lay face down in the street as police called for back-up before arresting the armed man.

One neighbor who called 911 sent in this account of the situation:

Tonight at 11:07pm I was going out to my car to go to the store. I heard 4 gun shots fired from somewhere north of 11th and Mercer in Capital Hill. I called it into 911. I left QFC on 15th ave at 11:30 and saw a bunch of police officers and cars at 15th and Mercer. I stopped and identified that I was the person who called the shots in. They told me that they had a guy in custody who they found with a gun there and were investigating what he was shooting at and why. So, 25 minutes or less from calling 911 to a suspect in custody. I’m impressed. 

The full report from SPD is below:

On January 12th, just after  11:00 pm, a number of people called 911 to report a man walking down the street firing a handgun.  The first reports stated that the man was walking northbound on 12th Avenue East  from East  Harrison to East Mercer .  Additional reports then indicated that the suspect had turned on East Mercer and was walking in the 500 Block of 13th Avenue East.  While he was walking, the suspect was randomly firing his handgun in the direction of several buildings, at the ground, and into the air.  The suspect reloaded at least once and continued to fire indiscriminately, causing a significant risk to the public. 

 East Precinct officers responded and located the suspect on 15th Avenue at East Mercer.  The 32 year old suspect was taken into custody and a .38 caliber revolver was recovered.  Officers went back and retraced the suspect’s walking route.  It does not appear that there was any damage done to any buildings or vehicles.  Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.  After the suspect was read his rights, he was asked why he fired the gun.  He told officers he wanted to see if the gun still worked. 

 The 32 year old suspect was later booked into the King County Jail for discharge of a firearm and unlawful carry of a firearm.

22 thoughts on “Cops bust man for firing gun — to see if it still worked — in streets of Capitol Hill — UPDATE

  1. At 12:20AM the same night I heard what also sounded like gunshots. I was on the block of Summit between Thomas and John. I counted 10 “shots” in as many seconds, but I don’t know enough about guns to know if that’s a feasible number. Anyone?

  2. I heard the fireworks/shots at 12:20 right as I was walking out of a friend’s house to go home. I was at 14th & Thomas and it sounded like it was north of there and maybe down the hill a little ways. Reading this report, I thought for sure this was the same thing until I saw the time.

    I walked down the hill and reached Republican and Broadway about 5 mins later, and the police pulled up and asked me if I’d heard gunshots or fireworks in the last 5 minutes or so. I told them it sounded like fireworks and roughly where it felt like it was, and they zoomed off.

  3. “Exciting” is hardly the word to describe this…..”scary” would be better. Some innocent in their home/apartment could have been shot or even killed. The police/prosecutors should throw the book at the idiot who was arrested.

  4. Wouldn’t the first round tell you the gun was okay? Wonder what the penalty for this is, 6 rounds in a heavily populated area, might not know for a week if someone is laying dead in their apt… Scary.

  5. I was laying in bed reading when I heard the shots around 11:05. They sounded REALLY close and I’m at 13th & Republican. Sounded like they were on my block, and one sounded like it hit some metal, most likely a parking or traffic sign.

  6. I checked the police scanner feed and got nothing so I assumed it was someone with firecrackers (it seems to happen year round), but wow…I didn’t realize this happened all the way up on 13th.

    Interesting thing is that I did not hear the 12:20 AM fireworks/gunshots.

  7. Someone set off a roman candle at about 12:20 at Harvard & Thomas. By the time I got to the window, whoever set it off was gone, but it kept going off for a while.

  8. I have wondered this for years. You see it on Craigslist apartment ads all the time too. “Great studio on CapitAL Hill.” You’d think if you own property on the Hill, you’d know how to spell it correctly too, but yep….clueless is correct.

    Seeing it is like nails on a chalkboard, isn’t it?

  9. I live at 13th and Mercer and when I heard the six shots it freaked me out a bit, not knowing what was happening outside and too nervous to get near the windows. However, I saw your immediate tweet here and it was a relief to know what was going on and that someone was apprehended very quickly. Thanks Justin!

  10. I’m on 13th and Mercer and I heard a bang, then bang-bang-bang-bang-bang and it sounded like it was just own on 12th and Mercer. I wasn’t sure if they were gunshots or fireworks, but the idea of the former just outside my window freaked me out.