A man who tackled two teens spent hours eluding police in Seattle's Green Lake before he was arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Seattle police spent about two hours chasing a naked man out of Green Lake on Tuesday.
Earlier, while still clothed, he had tackled two South End teens to the ground on the walkway around the lake.
At about 3:20 p.m., witnesses said, a bearded man charged out of the bushes at a 16-year-old girl and her 19-year-old brother, Daniel Gonzalez, yelling, “Don’t do that!”
The man broke Gonzalez’s finger and busted his lip, while the sister suffered scrapes and psychological stress.
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“The guy came out of the trees like a linebacker. There was no warning whatsoever,” said Bettye Atkinson, 61, who was walking behind the teens in Green Lake Park when they were attacked.
Atkinson said good Samaritans chased the man around the lake, but “he could sprint like you wouldn’t believe.” When police arrived, the 32-year-old man stripped and swam into the lake.
Police said he swam to the center of the lake and held onto a buoy as officers tried to persuade him to at least take a life jacket while the chase continued.
After about an hour of swimming and jumping away from police boats, the man took police up on their offer of a life jacket, according to scanner traffic. At one point, he swam to Duck Island, where he evaded officers in a thicket of prickly blackberry bushes.
Several witnesses by the lakeshore and news choppers overhead waited out the ordeal to see how long it would take to nab the man out of the water.
Police said he was finally taken into custody at 5:48 p.m. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation, according to Kyle Moore, spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department.
The victims were taken by their father, Jesus Gonzalez, to Harborview for treatment. He said they should be OK but were jarred by the experience.
Dayan Flynn-Walsh, 17, who stopped her Ballard High School cross-country practice to comfort the teens after the attack, said everyone who witnessed the incident was shaken.
The victims’ father said he had dropped his kids off near the walkway while he parked the car and got a bicycle out to ride near them.
“You don’t expect to see that here,” he said. “You see women, children and families around usually, but not a … guy like that. He was a creepy creature.”
Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @AlexaVaughn.