Seattle shooting suspect shoots self, police say
(CNN) — A man suspected in a pair of fatal shootings that left four dead and two critically wounded in Seattle shot himself as police officers closed in Wednesday afternoon, investigators said.
The suspect was rushed to a hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, and his condition was not immediately known, Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said. Detectives believe the man was behind both the killings at a coffeehouse in north Seattle and a second slaying near downtown, based on witness accounts, Pugel said.
Three people were killed and two wounded at the coffeehouse on Wednesday morning, with the survivors listed in critical condition, police said. The second shooting left one woman dead in what police described as a possible carjacking about a half-hour later.
Pugel said a plainclothes detective spotted the suspect in the same part of town where the sport-utility vehicle seen fleeing the downtown crime scene had been ditched. The man shot himself in the head as uniformed officers approached him, he said.
Detectives “feel very confident that unfortunately, these are all connected, but fortunately we have the person in custody,” Pugel said.
Barely an hour earlier, police had released security-camera images of the yet-unidentified suspect at Café Racer, the coffeehouse in the city’s University District where the first round of killings took place.
Witnesses to the second shooting told police a woman and man were arguing in a parking lot when the man pulled out a pistol and shot the woman in the head. He took off in a black Mercedes sport-utility vehicle, which was found around noon in a neighborhood a few miles southwest of downtown with a pistol inside, Pugel said.
Heavily armed police were using dogs to search the neighborhood around the cafe early Wednesday afternoon, neighbors said.
“The streets are blocked off, and there’s tons of cops,” said Joe Backus, the manager of a musical instrument shop next to Café Racer. Police told employees and customers to stay inside while the search was going on, he said.
Nearby resident Evan Hill said he could hear the gunfire from his living room.
“I counted four or five shots and somebody shouting, and I ran out to my balcony and called 911,” Hill told CNN affiliate KOMO.
Hill called the cafe a “very mellow” venue that hosts artwork and musical performances.
“It makes you kind of angry that it would happen in a place like that,” he said.