UPDATE: With a series of pops, more yelling and then the sound of a flash bang explosion, a police standoff with a man believed to be armed with a gun inside a Bellevue Ave E condo building came to an end some eight hours after the incident began.
Police have confirmed that the suspect has died in an officer involved shooting. No police were injured in the incident.
UPDATE: The man has been identified as Joel Reuter. He was 28 years old. Seattle Police interim chief Jim Pugel said that Reuter was not allowed to have firearms in his possession due to court orders and that detectives are working to figure out how he acquired the Glock pistol seen by witnesses and recovered from Reuter’s residence. Reuter’s online accounts reveal a man suffering from mental illness with an interest in guns and the 2nd Amendment. Friends say he was diagnosed with cancer within the last year.
Police say the man began shooting at SWAT units around 10:30 AM. SWAT returned fire, striking the man and killing him, police say. It was not clear what lead to the outbreak of gunfire as negotiations with the man continued.
Several medics were called to the scene just before 10:45 AM. Two SPD guild representatives were also summoned to the scene.
A prolonged medic response followed as police made sure the area was secure and safe. Police declined to specify the nature of the concerns but said that information gathered lead them to believe the man’s residence could present a danger to emergency responders. Members of SPD’s arson and bomb squad were called to the scene as part of the response.
People who know the suspect say he had been exhibiting recent signs of mental illness and strange behavior. SPD said its Crisis Intervention team that handles mental illness issues was “very aware of” the suspect due to recent interactions.
Bystanders who said they live in the building said the gunman had been acting increasingly suspicious in recent weeks.
One resident of the building said the gunman had posted a anti-Obama poster on his door, warning that the president would die if anyone entered the room.
A small group of people huddled together a block away from the scene said they were friends with the gun man but would not speak about him until they had more information.
Here is the preliminary report from SPD:
An eight hour standoff at Capitol Hill apartment building ended Friday morning after a man, who had barricaded himself inside his apartment, opened fire and was fatally shot by Seattle police officers.
Early this morning, just before 3 AM, neighbors at the apartment complex called police and reported hearing 5 gunshots on the building’s fifth floor. One caller also reported seeing an armed man inside the building’s elevator.
As the chaotic situation unfolded, officers learned the armed 28-year-old man was a resident in the building who previously had a number of contacts with officers and members of the department’s Crisis Intervention Team, which works with people suffering from mental health crises.
When officers approached the man’s apartment, they could hear the man watching what appeared to be a gun maintenance training video on his television, and heard what they believed was the sound of the man racking and dry-firing a gun.
When officers tried to contact the man through the door, he turned the volume on his television up, drowning out officers’ voices and making it difficult to communicate with the man.
Officers then began working to evacuate the building.
As police called for a negotiator, they could hear the man barricading furniture against his apartment door. Officers then called for SWAT and the Crisis Intervention Team to respond to the scene.
Over the next seven and a half hours, police intermittently made contact with the armed man who, at one point, came out on his apartment balcony armed with a handgun with an extended magazine. During the incident, the man repeatedly told officers he was prepared to defend himself against “zombies” and refused numerous requests by police and negotiators to surrender his gun to officers.
Just before 10:30 AM, the 28-year-old man opened fire through an apartment window onto Denny Way.
Two officers returned fire, striking the man.
Officers lost sight of the suspect in his apartment, but negotiators in the building could still hear the man inside.
Because the man had barricaded his door and previously made threats to booby trap his apartment, officers carefully planned a careful tactical entry into the apartment.
Just before 11 AM, officers breached the door and methodically searched the apartment, where they found the suspect.
Officers called for medics, but the man succumbed to his injuries.
The two Seattle police officers who fired at the suspect has been put on paid administrative leave, as is department policy in all officer-involved shooting incidents.
The Seattle Police Department’s Homicide Unit will now investigate the incident.
ORIGINAL REPORT: A reportedly armed man engaged in a standoff with police in the 100 block of Bellevue Ave E. Seattle Police and SWAT units filled the area as many streets Friday morning on the western edge of Capitol Hill were closed during the response including the major Denny Way artery.
We’re still gathering details on where the suspect is located, what area is locked down and how long the incident has been unfolding. CHS has been told units have been on the scene since before 5 AM. UPDATE: We’ve been told Denny from Olive to Melrose and Bellevue Ave E near Denny are locked down as of 6:20 AM. Metro is rerouting buses near the scene.
UPDATEx2: The incident apparently began after a report of “shots fired” in the area early Friday morning. Police have negotiated with the barricaded suspect who is believed to be armed with a gun inside The Marq Condo building. Just before 3 AM, a 911 caller reported seeing a resident carrying a Glock handgun inside the building. The caller soon after heard what sounded like give gunshots from the 5th floor of the building.
UPDATEx3: A resident of the building says not everybody has been cleared out but that he was awoken at 5a and told to leave the building.
UPDATEx4 — 8:30 AM: The standoff continues following tense moments earlier as the suspect began yelling from a balcony above E Denny Way. Media at the scene were pushed back by police as the man could be seen holding what appeared to be a gun as he shouted at the police.
We are also updating the situation via Twitter — @jseattle
This is a breaking story and not all information has been confirmed with authorities at this time.
CHS reporter Bryan Cohen has contributed to this report.
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