The apparently intoxicated man who accidentally shot a woman in a Renton movie theater on Thursday night had a permit to carry the weapon, police said Friday.
A 29-year-old man who apparently was drunk when he accidentally fired his handgun in a Renton movie theater, wounding a woman, tried to dump the weapon after the shooting.
Renton police spokesman Detective Robert Onishi said the suspect threw away the gun’s magazine and went home after the Thursday night shooting in Regal Cinemas 14 at The Landing during a showing of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”
“He dumped the magazine of the gun in the trash can in the theater,” Onishi said, adding that the man then “went home.”
“He was upset and he wanted to talk to family,” Onishi said Friday.
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The man’s wife found the 9-mm pistol, which he had a permit to carry, in the driveway of their Newcastle home, police said. The man’s family, who heard about the theater shooting because of local news coverage, dialed 911.
Police arrived and took the man into custody. Onishi said the man told his family “his gun went off by accident.”
On Friday, the 40-year-old shooting victim remained in “serious, but improving” condition at Harborview Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. The woman suffered a bullet wound to her shoulder. Her family is declining to speak to the media, Gregg said.
The suspect has not been formally identified by police. He was booked into King County Jail on suspicion of third-degree assault, Onishi said. He’ll have his first court appearance at the jail in downtown Seattle on Saturday afternoon, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
When the man walked into the theater on Thursday night, employees noticed him because he “was stumbling and appeared to be impaired,” Onishi said. The man walked into auditorium 9 with a loaded gun before 8:15 p.m.
The man fumbled with the gun and it fired, hitting the woman. The two did not know each other, said Renton police spokesman Cmdr. David Liebman during an interview on Thursday night.
Immediately after the shooting, police received a 911 call from theater staff reporting “someone was shot or stabbed,” Onishi said.
Afterward, the man reportedly left the theater and briefly went into a nearby restaurant, where he dropped the gun and picked it back up, according to a witness and police.
The suspect has no felony history, Onishi said.
Nathaniel Hansen, who was in the theater at the time, said he heard “just one loud pop.”
“We were in ‘13 Hours,’ so there were a lot of gunshots going on in the movie, but this was louder than everything else,” Hansen said.
After the gun went off, the suspect “walked out like nothing happened” and “seemed like he was intoxicated or something because he was stumbling around,” Hansen said. The man left through the theater’s front door while still holding the pistol, he said.
Hansen used paper towels to put pressure on the woman’s wound until paramedics arrived. The woman told him she “had no idea” who the shooter was.