A sniper in the woods outside Arlington wounded one man, fired on a SWAT team and at passing motorists and forced the evacuation of parts of a rural neighborhood. The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office confirmed a suspect is dead and a search continues for a possible second suspect.

Share story

A sniper in the woods outside Arlington in Snohomish County wounded one man, then held police at bay for hours Sunday, firing on a SWAT team and at passing motorists and forcing the evacuation of parts of a rural neighborhood.

Around 4:30 p.m., police spotted a man with a rifle and a scope near Jim Creek Road and fired on him. Shari Ireton, director of communications for Snohomish County sheriff’s office, confirmed that one suspect was dead.

She couldn’t say whether there was more than one shooter but said police were working under the assumption that another suspect was on the loose.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Dittoe said the incident started around 1:30 p.m. when a man walking near Jim Creek was hit in the leg by gunfire, then “reported hearing multiple gunshots from the woods.”

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Within 10 minutes, Dittoe said, a SWAT team had arrived and “our armored vehicle was hit several times” by rounds of gunfire.

Throughout much of the afternoon, authorities could be heard on police scanners trying to figure out where the shots were coming from and whether more than one person was doing the shooting. Vehicles were found with bullet holes on more than one side.

Dittoe said the Sheriff’s Office evacuated several homes and urged people to steer clear of Jim Creek Road between the 15000 and 25000 blocks. Even after police apparently shot one suspect, authorities could be heard asking for police dogs to explore the surrounding area.

“We have multiple teams out in the woods searching for suspects,” Dittoe said.

Ireton said police found one weapon near the body of the dead suspect. She couldn’t confirm whether shots had been fired from more than one gun.

By 9:15 p.m., roadblocks were still keeping people from their homes and sheriff’s deputies were searching buildings and the woods. Ireton said the investigation was likely to be suspended for the evening and resume at daybreak.

Neighbor Linda Purtteman was out walking her dog across the street from her house along Jim Creek about nine miles outside Arlington when she first heard shots Sunday afternoon.

“I have a few neighbors who go shooting a lot out here, so I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

Then she ran into a neighbor who told her a SWAT team had been fired upon and that residents were being urged to stay inside and take cover.

“We were told to stay away from the windows, but the whole front of my house is a window,” she said.

Even into the early evening, neighbor Wayne Hardy was stopped and frisked by authorities driving an armored car when he tried to walk through his neighborhood. He’d heard gunfire all afternoon, but he and many of his neighbors shoot and hunt nearby.

But “we saw a SWAT team car in the bushes,” he said. The officers told him to get home and get out.

“We’re packing up and leaving now,” Hardy said.

Craig Welch: 206-464-2093 or cwelch@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @craigawelch.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.