The King County Prosecutor's Office has officially filed charges against William Anthony Diaz - the 19-year-old police say is responsible for the random Saturday evening shooting of innocent bystander Ryan Burr at Folklife. Diaz, who police say has admitted to being a member of the Little Valley Lokotes gang, faces charges of second-degree assault with a firearm and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors say at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday night Diaz was walking near the 400 block of Broad Street in the vicinity of the Space Needle and the Seattle Center when he was approached by another male who, according to statements Diaz would later provide police, asked Diaz if he was from "Yaks or Yanks." Since he didn't know the man who posed the question, Diaz reportedly kept walking - at which point he reports being hit in the head and face with a skateboard.
Not surprisingly, this upset Diaz - so much so that prosecutors say he pulled a .22 revolver out of his pants pocket and began firing in the direction of the man who had just attacked him - who also reportedly has gang affiliations. Charging documents indicate four shots were fired while the man with the skateboard and another man ran south toward Fourth Avenue and Broad Street.
As we know, Diaz failed to hit his attackers with the bullets he fired - but he did strike Burr as he waited to cross Broad straight. According to charging documents Burr was struck in the right calf, with the bullet entering and exiting his leg.
Burr was soon transported to Harborview Medical Center while police sent out a description of Diaz - who reportedly ran northbound through the Seattle Center and into the food court. There, he was taken into custody and his .22 revolver was recovered by police. According to charging documents it had four empty casings and two live bullets in the cylinder.
Suffering from what charging documents describe as "a large wound to his left eyebrow," Diaz was also transported to Harborview. En route to the hospital officers read Diaz his rights, which he stated he understood.
Police soon after interviewed a witness at the scene, who told authorities he'd "heard a noise, and when he looked over, he saw one male holding a skateboard as if he'd just hit someone," according to charging documents. The witness also told police that he'd seen another man "bleeding from his face," who subsequently fired "4-5 shots" in the direction of the man with the skateboard - who the witness says was running east with another male. The witness told police the shooter ran toward the Seattle Center House. He also provided authorities with a description of everyone involved.
Charging documents indicate another responding officer was able to obtain surveillance video of the Seattle Center area near the Space Needle - footage which reportedly showed "a Hispanic male, with a white t-shirt, gray/dark colored shorts, and white shoes running through Seattle Center northbound." Charging documents indicate this clothing was later shown to match the outfit Diaz was wearing at the time of the crime.
At Harborview police interviewed Diaz, who was at first hesitant to reveal details of what had transpired - fearing the legal repercussions, presumably because he had a gun and prior conviction for domestic violence and assault that prohibits him from owning such a weapon. According to charging documents Diaz told an inquisitive officer, "I got a gun, I'm going to jail."
With the prodding officer pushing for Diaz's side of the story, according to charging documents eventually the suspected shooter detailed what he'd been through, telling authorities he'd encountered a male while walking on the sidewalk who asked him if he was from "Yak or Yanks," and soon thereafter struck him in the head with what he believed to be a skateboard. He said at that point he started running before police told him to get on the ground. He reported telling cops at the scene he had a gun in his pocket.
From charging documents and the investigative work of SPD's Aaron Sausman:
I asked Diaz if he shot the gun. He started looking away from me, and he would not provide an answer. I asked him if he had been in trouble, and he said, "Just misdemeanors." I asked him if he had ever gone to prison, and he said, "No." I asked him, how many times did you shoot? He said, "3-4 times."
I asked about the suspect and incident. Diaz stated, "I saw a fast movement, and it hits me in the face." I asked him, where did you have the gun on you? He said, "My pocket." He made a motion to his right thigh. I said, your front right pocket, and he said, "Yes." I stated, You shot 3-4 times? He stated, "Ya, I think so." I asked him where he went after the shots, and he said, "I ran." I asked him how many people he shot at, and he said, "Maybe more than one." I asked him if anyone fell that he shot at, and he said, "Nobody fell." I said, "Where did you run?" Diaz stated, "Anywhere, to find a cop and get help." I asked him if he saw the object that hit him, and he said, "I think it was a skateboard."
According to charging documents, Sausman then asked Diaz if he was a gang member - saying he'd be able to look the information up on a computer if Diaz lied. Diaz reportedly told authorities he was from "LVL" and that his street name was "Loco." As charging documents note, LVL is an abbreviation for Little Valley Lokotes.
Later, Sausman interviewed Diaz in more detail to verify the statements he'd provided to police. At this point, according to charging documents, Diaz reportedly asked if the victim was OK, and expressed remorse for unintentionally shooting Burr. Charging documents indicate Diaz told Sausman of his victim, "If I saw him, I would tell him I'm sorry for hitting an innocent person."
Find charging documents filed against William Anthony Diaz on the following page ...
Charging documents filed against William Anthony Diaz in King County court: