A chaotic series of events unfolded along Aurora Avenue Wednesday evening, resulting in a Seattle police officer unintentionally firing his handgun at a female assault suspect, striking her in the leg.
The incident began just before 11 pm when a man called 911 from a motel near N. 120th Street and Aurora Avenue N. and said “I think someone detonated an incendiary device.” The man then hung up.
Four minutes into the call, as police hurried to the scene of the reported incendiary explosion, one officer responding to the incident spotted a 19-year-old woman punching another woman on the sidewalk near 120th and Aurora.
When one of the women involved in the brawl took off running across the street, the officer jumped out of his patrol car and pursued her on foot and approached the woman in the parking lot of a nearby business.
In the lot, the woman refused to show her hands and show she was not armed, prompting the officer to draw his firearm. While drawing his gun, the officer unintentionally fired one shot, striking the woman in the leg.
The officer immediately radioed for medics and offered his apologies to the woman for the very regrettable incident. Medics then transported the woman to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Police determined the woman was not armed.
Because the woman was a suspect in an assault, officers ran her name and learned she was wanted by police in Snohomish County for several felony warrants. As a result of the woman’s felony warrant status, Seattle police were required by law to contact Snohomish County police, who requested that Seattle police book the woman into jail for the warrants.
Homicide/Assault detectives are now investigating the incident and have placed the officer’s duty firearm into evidence. As per department policy, the 29-year-old officer—who has been with the Seattle Police Department for a year and a half—has been placed on administrative leave.
Police have determined the original report of an incendiary explosion was, in fact, a false report made by an individual believed to be suffering from mental health issues.