1 slain at Jewish charity

Gunman kills woman, injures 5 at Seattle office

suspect arrested

July 29, 2006|By SEATTLE TIMES

SEATTLE -- A woman was dead and five others were hospitalized yesterday after a shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building by a man who declared he was "angry with Israel."

Seattle police later arrested a man.

The gunman had reportedly walked into the downtown building and started shooting. One victim died at the scene, according to police.

All five of the wounded were women, said Pamela Steele, a spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Three victims, all shot in the abdomen, were in critical condition, Steele said. Two women were in satisfactory condition. A 37-year-old woman, five months pregnant, was shot in the forearm. The other woman was shot in the knee, Steele said.

The shootings began shortly after 4 p.m., police reported.

Several witnesses said they saw a man walk up to the entrance of the building and shoot a woman in the leg. He then walked into the building and went to the roof.

Witnesses said they heard one shot while the man was on the roof. He went back inside, and witnesses said they heard several more shots.

An employee in the building said she was at her desk when she heard what she at first thought were balloons breaking.

"It went `Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!' and then we heard a woman scream," said the employee, who asked that her name not be used.

"One of the receptionists told me that he shot her and then demanded that she call 911," the employee said. "He told the police that it was a hostage situation and he wanted us to get our weapons out of Israel."

Most of the employees were able to leave through a back door. A few minutes later, the man surrendered to officers.

"He was confronted by officers and peacefully gave up," said Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz.

According to Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation, the man had told workers, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.

Wasser-Simpson said she had heard that account from staff members at the scene.

"A number of staff people heard some popping sounds, then they heard a scream," Wasser-Simpson said. "They escaped out the back door."

Shortly after that, a staffer who had been shot twice escaped through the back door as well, Wasser-Simpson said.

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