Police say a man stabbed three men in downtown Seattle on Tuesday morning in “an unprovoked, random attack,” before fleeing from police and stripping off his clothes.
Two of the victims were hospitalized in stable condition and a third was treated at the scene, police said.
The 29-year-old suspect was arrested a short distance away. Officers recovered a knife and his clothing in a parked package-delivery truck, police said.
“We do believe this was an unprovoked, random attack,” said Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, spokesman for the department.
The stabbing was reported around 10 a.m. near Sixth Avenue and Olive Way.
A 75-year-old man was stabbed in the neck, and a 77-year-old man was stabbed in the back. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center and were in stable condition Tuesday, according to police. A 55-year-old man was stabbed in the forearm and treated at the scene but declined further assistance, police said in a blotter post.
The naked suspect was taken into custody near Eighth Avenue and Pine Street.
“We tracked him down a couple of blocks away, before anyone else could be hurt,” Whitcomb said.
One of the victims sought refuge inside a nearby store as the suspect fled, Whitcomb said.
A witness told KOMO one of the victims tried to chase the knife-wielding man.
“He had a wound on his arm. He grabbed a parking cone and chased the guy down the street for about 10 feet before he kind of stopped and fell over,” the man told KOMO.
At the scene, “caution” placards marked areas where the sidewalk appeared to have been hosed down, under construction scaffolding outside the entrance of Nordstrom.
Sixth Avenue near Pike Street was temporarily closed as officers investigated, but it was reopened about 10:45 a.m., according to officials.
No information was immediately available Tuesday about the suspect’s identity.
James Sido, a spokesman for the Downtown Seattle Association, was at the stabbing scene and later issued a statement by email:
“We thank Seattle Police and Seattle Fire for their quick response to this morning’s senseless act. Everyone deserves to feel safe in the heart of our city, and we clearly have more work to do to make that a reality. Crimes against people in the core of downtown jumped by 43 percent from 2016-18. That is unacceptable,” the statement says.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called the stabbings “a terrible, random incident” and said that while Seattle is generally a safe city, incidents of street crime shake the community.
“At the moment this incident happened, I was meeting with members of our working group – including officials from the City Attorney’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, and the King County Prosecutor’s Office – to address the issue of repeat offenders and ensuring that our streets are safer for everybody,” Durkan said. “This incident shows that we have severely unfunded resources for people with significant behavioral health and mental health needs. We have to do better as a state, County, and City. We have to make sure that people who need our help are getting treatment and interventions, not walking around with weapons.”
Representatives from city departments will attend a City Council committee meeting Wednesday to discuss year-to-date crime data and provide an update on a Seattle police emphasis on street-level disorder, mental-health-crisis complaints and persistent thefts.