Troopers fatally shoot knife-wielding man on Seattle bridge

Incident began when State Patrol received multiple 911 calls about a tan pickup stopped in the center lanes of the bridge

By Paige Cornwell
The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — The man wounded in a shooting involving two state troopers on the Interstate 5 bridge over the Ship Canal Monday evening has died.

A nursing supervisor said the man died shortly after his arrival at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, The Associated Press is reporting this morning. The man's identity has not been released.

The incident began about 6:44 p.m. when the State Patrol received multiple 911 calls about a tan pickup stopped in the center lanes of the bridge. Callers said that after the man left his vehicle it started on fire, according to State Patrol spokesman Cliff Pratt. An initial investigation indicated that the driver started the fire himself, Pratt said.

Two troopers and a state Department of Transportation (DOT) official were sent to the scene, Pratt said, and as one trooper and the DOT official were extinguishing the fire, the second trooper walked 45 to 50 feet from the vehicle, where the pickup driver was spraying green paint on the pavement and on other vehicles.

As the trooper approached, Pratt said, the driver pulled a large knife and began to advance. The other trooper came to back up his colleague, and one of the troopers attempted to disable the man with a Taser, but for some reason the Taser did not work, Pratt said.

As the driver with the knife continued to advance, both officers shot him. The troopers called for aid, and the man was taken to Harborview Medical Center where he later died.

"Any time an officer is involved," Pratt said, "we investigate to the fullest."

Officers from the Seattle Police Department's Arson and Bomb Squad found an incendiary device in the truck Monday night, which is one reason the lanes had to be closed for the extended period of time.

"Thankfully, the device didn't go off," Pratt said.

Pratt said the pickup, debris from the fire and bullet casings were in all southbound lanes of the freeway, which required they all be closed.

Southbound traffic on the interstate was backed up for miles until the DOT opened the express lanes to southbound traffic.

Eventually, drivers on the bridge were told to turn around and drive north in the southbound lanes. They then were directed to exit at the 45th Street onramp. The Seattle Police Department ordered all drawbridges remain open for automobile traffic Monday night to ease congestion.

The freeway's main southbound lanes were expected to remain closed to traffic until past midnight, authorities said.

The closure comes less than a week after investigation of a crash on southbound Highway 99 south of the West Seattle Bridge snarled traffic throughout the city for hours.

Copyright 2014 The Seattle Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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