Share story

A bank security guard and a 30-year-old man were critically injured Thursday morning during a fight over the guard’s handgun in a hallway outside a Bank of America branch in Seattle’s Central Area.

Around 11 a.m., the 46-year-old armed security guard contacted the younger man before he could enter the bank, located in a shopping plaza on the southeast corner of 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street, said Capt. Pierre Davis, commander of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct.

Davis said it was unclear whether the 30-year-old planned to rob the bank but said FBI agents responded to the scene, along with Seattle police. (The FBI is typically responsible for investigating bank robberies, which are federal crimes.)

A police spokesman later said the man wrestled the guard’s gun away from him, shooting the guard. The man suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder, possibly during the struggle, then shot himself in the head with the guard’s handgun, police said.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the guard was shot twice, and the other man suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including a gunshot to the face.

Both men were taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Their status had not changed as of Thursday afternoon, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The wounded men have not been identified.

Barber George Shaw was cutting a customer’s hair at Styles on 23rd, which is in the same plaza as the bank, when he heard numerous gunshots. He went to the salon’s rear door, which opens onto a shared hallway with the bank and other businesses, and saw “two guys laid out.”

“The security guard was hollering ‘ouch, ouch,’ but the other guy wasn’t saying anything. He wasn’t moving,” Shaw said. “The police showed up in two seconds — they got here real quick and locked it down before you knew it.”

Shaw, who has cut hair in the neighborhood for 20 years, said the younger man “looked like he was wearing a costume … kind of a homeless look,” with fake dreadlocks and several layers of clothing.

Davis, the East Precinct commander, said investigators hoped to piece together what happened through witness interviews and video-surveillance footage.

“The video footage could … reveal a whole heck of a lot more than we know now,” he said, noting detectives also hoped to interview the security guard.

The security guard is a “bank protection officer” employed by G4S Secure Solutions (USA), spokeswoman Monica Lewman-Garcia said.

She confirmed in a statement that a G4S employee “was involved in a shooting incident while on duty at Bank of America” and said the security company, based in Jupiter, Fla., is cooperating with the police investigation.

Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge contributed to this story.Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.