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SWAT standoff blocks off area around E Howell — UPDATE: Suspect taken into custody

UPDATE 4:07 PM: A sniper took his position atop this E Howell building across from the suspect’s fourth floor window

UPDATE 3:35 PM: After a long, sometimes tense standoff with police, the suspect — identified as a King County deputy on administrative leave and a fourth floor resident of the building — was removed from Capitol Hill’s Granada Apartments, splayed in cuffs on a blanket on the street outside, and then attached to a gurney as he was taken into custody and removed from the scene.

UPDATE: Berdon Parsons, 30, was booked into King County Jail for investigation of assault. He has not been charged. Parsons has served as a deputy with the King County Sheriff’s Office since 2015.

The incident began after a report of domestic violence more than 12 hours earlier after police say a man came to the East Precinct to report the situation. Police arrived at the Belmont and E Howell building around 3 AM and the standoff ensued.

Through the early morning and into the day, police widened the closed corridor around the building as details of the situation emerged and it became clear the suspect was armed and had a rifle.

Loud booms from flash bangs used as a diversionary tactic and, police said, to keep the suspect alert and conscious as the long standoff dragged on, sporadically interrupted the otherwise mostly calm scene around the old apartment building as SWAT and SPD officers took their positions and entered the building. An Arson and Bomb Squad robot was used to breach the apartment door where cameras revealed the suspect had barricaded himself in the bathroom.

Police say Parsons was in communication with negotiators though the day and a department spokesperson said the situation was handled under standard procedure despite the involvement of a suspect familiar with law enforcement procedure.

A phone box is prepared for delivery

Some residents of the building were evacuated early in the standoff while others learned of what was unfolding from neighbors and the media. Neighbors trying to reach their buildings, cars, or work, were directed around the scene. Others with homes facing the suspect’s apartment window on E Howell were ordered to stay inside. Despite the orders, some gathered in nearby alleys and parking areas for a better view of the suspect’s window with glass busted out by the delivery of a special box containing a phone from SWAT as officers swung and worked above the window.

Full details on the day’s incident are below.

ORIGINAL REPORT 8:50 AM: Seattle Police and SWAT units blocked off an area around the Granada Apartments on E Howell at Belmont Wednesday morning in a standoff following a reported domestic violence incident.

The Seattle Police Department has not confirmed details of the situation but traffic is reportedly blocked off at several points in the are between E Olive St and E Denny Way. UPDATE: SPD has confirmed it is trying to contact a barricaded individual in a building at Howell and Belmont. People living in the building say the suspect is a resident on the 4th floor.

UPDATE: Sgt. Ryan Abbott has confirmed with CHS that the suspect is an off-duty King County Sheriff’s deputy currently on administrative leave pending an unrelated investigation. Abbott says personnel on leave are typically relieved of any department issued firearms but may continue to possess personal weapons.

It’s not clear when the situation was first reported but police have been in the area since early Wednesday morning. UPDATE: Police arrived at the building just before 3 AM.

The suspect is believed to be armed. Officers in the area of Belmont and Howell are being advised to use caution and avoid being in exposed areas. UPDATE: Police have made multiple attempts to reach the suspect by phone but have not been successful.

We’ll continue to update as the situation unfolds.


UPDATE 10:10 AM: “Flash bang” type devices have been detonated as police negotiators inside the building attempt to make contact with the suspect.

The explosives can be used to stun a suspect or, in some cases, determine if a person is conscious.

Police have been also attempting to communicate with the suspect using a loudspeaker and asking to come out peacefully. At one point, he was reportedly heard knocking following a blast but the scene remained quiet following the initial blasts.

UPDATE 11:05 AM: SPD says the suspect is in communication with negotiators but warned that the standoff could last several more hours. The flash bangs, police say, are being used to help keep the suspect awake so negotiations can continue as the standoff has been underway for hours. Police believe the suspect is likely armed so have cleared portions of the building.

Police say they believe nobody else is in the apartment with the suspect.

A person who says they are nearby sent CHS the following text:

We are inside the building on Belmont. They are inside asking him to call the sheriffs office. I can hear it echoing in the staircase. They are saying they can hear him talking but can’t hear what he is saying and to call to talk to them.

UPDATE 11:52 AM: SPD is expanding the closure corridor. Suspect has a rifle and is conscious per police in area.

UPDATE 12:25 PM: The closures are roughly Howell between Boylston and Belmont, Belmont between Howell and E Olive St, Boylston between Howell and E Denny and surrounding alleys and parking areas.

UPDATE 2:27 PM: It has been a relatively quiet two hours at the scene periodically shaken by the SWAT team’s use of explosives in ongoing effort to encourage the suspect to surrender and end the standoff peacefully. SPD has not provided updates on the situation other than to say it is ongoing. In past standoffs, similar explosions have been used as part of a process to determine if a suspect remains conscious.

UPDATE 2:50 PM: SWAT has entered the apartment per radio updates and the suspect is reportedly barricaded in a room inside the unit and refusing to come out.

UPDATE: 2:57 PM: “Police have opened the door and are using a robot to look inside,” a SPD spokesperson says. “Negotiators continue their work to convince the suspect to surrender peacefully.”

UPDATE 3:02 PM: Per radio updates, the suspect is in custody and the area will be reopened shortly.

A resident provided this image from the scene showing the man in custody:

Police say the situation was not handled differently just because the suspect is a member of law enforcement, Detective Patrick Michaud tells CHS. “We have examples from the past where we slow down these situations… because it is an effective tactic,” Michaud said.

“We do understand it is a difficult for the people who live in this neighborhood to not be able to drive down their road and get into their apartments, but we do appreciate that they are patient with us while we bring this to a safe conclusion.”

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20 thoughts on “SWAT standoff blocks off area around E Howell — UPDATE: Suspect taken into custody

  1. A lot of this was going on outside my building on Belmont and Howell. My neighbor counted around 12 squad cars, an armored car, multiple vans, officers with ballistic shields, etc.

  2. Sounds like SWAT is asking for someone inside the building to come out. Saying they won’t be leaving anytime soon and to come out.

  3. My apartment overlooks the whole thing. Just heard 2 loud shot and glass breaking followed by the loudspeaker. My husband spoke to a cop, the guy has a whole family up in there.

    • Can you hear what they are saying on the loud speaker? We are still in the building and have no idea what’s going on.

      • All I can hear is them telling him that he is under command from the sheriffs department to come out with his hands up and they don’t want anyone to get hurt. I think they are have also spoken to some cars that drove too close to the area telling them to go another way.

  4. The flash-bang grenades broke glass and shook my whole apartment. I live about a block away. I could clearly hear the loudspeaker.

    • Not every ex-military person with PTSD does this. PSTD needs to be effectively treated no matter what, but your comment is hurtful to peaceful people with PSTD. Mental health issues are a challenge that affects individuals and the community and I wish people would help more and care more in general, not stigmatize.

  5. I always wondered why there was a Burien KCSO car parked in the open parking lot at Boylston and Howell. Usually I expect Seattle PD to live in Burien and commute to Capitol Hill, not the reverse! My apartment is within the cordons, but the officer there explained she would help us get our vehicles in and out if we need.

    • Hey girl my fiancé and I live there too but we left a few hours ago (after having to figure out what the hell was going on). Are you still there and have any updates or were you able to get out. I’m pretty upset that no one told us or had us evacuate too. Definitely NOT okay.

      • The police press comfrence said everyone in the building got out safely but that’s not what it looks like in these comments!

  6. Got woken up by the bullhorn and been stuck in here all day. The flash bangs were absolutely terrifying and happened without warning but building managers have since come by several times to check on me. A whole bunch of SWAT dudes entered the building in the last 20 min and they just brought the dude out (sedated I think?) on a stretcher.

  7. Thanks for the updates today. I live on the block and this was updated far more than any of the other news outlets. Glad the situation has been handled and no one was hurt. Also glad I’ll be able to go home tonight!