Seattle police flooded the Denny-Blaine neighborhood Thursday morning in search of an armed bank robber, who was later fatally shot after running toward a veteran Detective with knife in hand.
At 9:16 AM, Seattle police received a 911 report of a takeover-style bank robbery at the Madison Park Wells Fargo bank in the 4000 block of E. Madison Street. The suspect, described as a white male wearing lots of makeup, a fake nose, dark wig, and women’s clothing, brandished a handgun during the robbery and told witnesses inside the bank he would kill them if he heard police sirens.
The suspect ran out of the bank with a cash-filled rolling suitcase and was gone before officers arrived at 9:19 AM.
At 9:26 AM, police received a report of that a silver Hyundai had crashed and rolled over near 39th Avenue East and East John Street. Witnesses reported seeing a man running from the vehicle, pulling off clothing, and dragging a piece of rolling luggage. Officers were not pursuing the suspect’s vehicle at the time of the crash.
Dozens of police officers—including SWAT and K9—flooded the area to search for the suspect, who police believed was running through the neighborhood carrying a handgun.
Officers arrived at 39th Avenue and E. John Street at 9:32 AM and found clothing and cash in the driveway of a home in the 100 block of 39th Ave. East.
Police searched the area for more than two hours, but were unable to find the suspect.
At 11:40 AM, an office assigned to guard the suspect’s discarded clothing and cash spotted the suspect running between two buildings inside the yard of a large home near 39th and E. John. The officer alerted other officers to the suspect’s location.
Officers and Robbery Unit detectives entered the courtyard of the home to contain the suspect, and spotted the suspect running onto the roof a detached garage. As the suspect ran across the garage, away from officers and out of view, one detective scaled a wall adjacent to the garage to get to higher ground and get a better view of the suspect. As soon as the detective ascended the wall, he saw the suspect standing nearby, holding a large fixed-blade knife.
The detective began talking to the suspect and repeatedly ordered him to drop the knife, but the suspect told the detective he would not drop the knife.
As the detective was working to get the suspect to drop the knife, a lieutenant at the scene called for officers with Tasers to respond to the courtyard.
The suspect, brandishing a knife, ran toward the detective. The detective fired multiple rounds from a rifle, striking the suspect. Officers and detectives called for medics and began performing CPR on the suspect. The suspect died at the scene.
Although officers armed with additional less-lethal tools were responding to the incident at the time of the shooting, police are trained to use deadly force when facing a threat from a deadly weapon, such as a gun or a knife.
Detectives are still working to determine whether the suspect entered any homes in the area, but police did find his cash-filled rolling bag in a garage a block away from the scene of the shooting. Police are also processing the suspect’s crashed vehicle but so far have recovered a handgun determined to be a realistic-looking airsoft gun.
Detectives have determined the 26-year-old suspect has a criminal history including burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft, drug possession, criminal mischief, obstruction and possession of stolen property.
The detective, a 15-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
The department’s Force Investigation Team is handling the case.