The man who killed one woman and wounded five others in a burst of gunfire at the Jewish Federation Center in downtown Seattle Friday, July>"/>
The man who killed one woman and wounded five others in a burst of gunfire at the Jewish Federation Center in downtown Seattle Friday, July 28, was clearly on a mission to kills Jews, based on evidence and witnesses statements. "This is a crime of hate," a shaken Mayor Greg Nickels said after the suspect peacefully gave himself up to a police SWAT unit around 4:15 p.m. outside the center on Third Avenue.
UPDATE: The Seattle Times identified the gunman as Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, (pictured) recently of Everett but raised in Richland. A law enforcement source told the paper that the suspect has a history of mental problems. The King County Jail register confirms that Naveed Haq was booked without bail into the downtown Seattle jail around 10:38 Friday night. Haq also is listed as a 1994 graduate of Richland High School.
After the shooting, "He walked out and left his gun inside," said Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske at a Friday night press conference. He called the weapon a large-caliber semi-automatic handgun and said police had no warning of the attack. Police, however, had been on a general alert for violence against Jewish and Muslim institutions here because of the fractious war on the Israel-Lebanon border, said SPD Assistant Chief Nick Metz. Police would not identify the suspect, other than to say he was a U.S. citizen, not from Seattle, who was being cooperative. He could face the death penalty, police and FBI officials indicated, agreeing it was a hate crime.
Police have so far found no connection between the shooting and an anti-Israel rally taking place at the same time a few blocks away at Westlake Park. Most demonstrators made it clear they were protesting the Israeli government, not Jewish people, although several toted signs declaring that Israelis are "Zionazis."
Witnesses said the man was apparently in his 30s and may have been motivated by Israel's attacks on Lebanon in its battles with Hezbollah, a terrorist or a resistance organization, depending on your politics. Federation employee Marla Meislin-Dietrich told The Associated Press that other workers recalled the man saying "I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel" before he began "randomly shooting at everyone." Kerlikowske called the shooting an isolated incident, although police took the precaution of setting up weekend security at Seattle synagogues and temples as well as local mosques.
According to witnesses, the suspect entered the secured, low-rise building apparently by pushing through the door when another employee entered. Once inside, he began shouting and firing. The woman who died and the wounded were among 18 people in the building, Kerlikowske said. None of the victims were immediately identified although one of the wounded women was pregnant, police said.
After he apparently exhausted his ammunition, the shooter called 911 and offered to give himself up. Medic units and ambulances then swept in and began rushing victims to Harborview Medical Center. Three were in critical condition and two were satisfactory. Downtown traffic also was snarled through the late evening.
"This shouldn't happen in this town," said Nickels. "It shouldn't happen anywhere."