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5 dead after shooting rampage at Seattle-area apartment complex

April 22, 2013|By Matt Pearce

The terror started in the apartment he shared with a loved one, and the bloodshed soon spread through his apartment complex, at one point ending the life of a neighbor who tried to call 911.

Five people were slain in a Sunday night rampage at an apartment complex in the Tacoma suburb of Federal Way in Washington state, said officials, who provided more details Monday.

The unnamed suspect -- a resident whom police said was 27 or 28 years old -- was killed after two separate confrontations with at least eight Federal Way police who shot their guns.

The victims' names were not yet made public, and the King County medical examiner's office said it would examine the bodies Tuesday.

"I can't believe the tragedy which transpired at my complex last night," one resident of the Pinewood Village complex tweeted. Another added that he'd barely missed the shootings, and that by the time he arrived home, the complex was locked down and had become a massive crime scene that officials were still examining Monday afternoon.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson, whose department handled three homicides last year, said Monday at a televised news conference.

Officials think the suspect first killed the twentysomething woman living with him in the apartment complex before heading to the parking lot with a gun.

There, two men -- who were born in 1989 and 1966 -- apparently confronted the gunman, who fatally shot them both, police said.

At some point, a resident of the complex called 911 to report the shootings, and the gunman apparently got a shotgun, blasted through the resident's door, and killed the caller with a shotgun, police said. (That resident -- like the others, only identified by gender and year of birth by police Monday -- was born in 1951.)

"We believe he may have been trying to kill his witnesses," Wilson said.

When police arrived and confronted the suspect in a building stairwell, the suspect didn't listen to police orders to drop his shotgun, at which point the responding officers apparently shot him, Wilson said. It's not clear whether the suspect fired back.

The suspect then dropped the shotgun and briefly got away, police said.

Officers tracked him to the complex's parking lot, where the two other men were shot, and where the suspect was lying on the ground, police said. When he reached for a handgun lying next to him, officers fired "multiple shots" and killed him, Wilson said.

The suspect had a history of domestic violence calls, but not with the woman with whom he was living, police said. They said he had never been arrested and had no criminal history. He had a valid concealed weapons permit, and Federal Way police had kept an internal alert on their systems about him because he was known to carry weapons, Wilson said.

The man was using a .40-caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol and a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, Wilson said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracing the shotgun Monday.

The eight Federal Way officers were placed on leave as a matter of department policy.

“This could happen in any jurisdiction, and the crime of domestic violence unfortunately covers all classes and [stretches] across the country in terms of its negative impact.… This is one of those horrible crimes we are faced with," Wilson said.

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