Two men injured when an undercover operation erupted into a shootout Friday in Kent were each charged Tuesday with unlawful possession of a firearm.
An undercover federal agent was trying to buy a handgun allegedly stolen from a police officer’s home when gunfire erupted during the operation Friday, according to newly filed court documents.
One of the suspects was wounded in the shootout, which occurred in a Lowe’s hardware-store parking lot near the 24000 block of Pacific Highway South in Kent. The second suspect was struck by a car when he tried to escape.
The suspects were each charged by federal complaint Mondaywith one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
One of the men, Abdirashid Haret, appeared Tuesday in federal court in Seattle. Haret, 18, suffered minor injuries after being struck by a car during the incident with federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents.
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The other man, Omar Abdullah, 22, was taken Friday to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. A hospital spokeswoman declined to provide Abdullah’s condition, citing medical-disclosure laws.
In the criminal complaint, federal prosecutors said that a confidential informant working for ATF met Haret at a convenience store in SeaTac on Friday morning. Haret told the informant he was looking to sell a gun, one of several firearms “he had recently stolen … from a police officer’s residence,” according to the complaint.
ATF agents asked the informant to arrange to buy the firearm — a semi-automatic .40-caliber Smith & Wesson — in the Lowe’s parking lot. An ATF special agent working undercover accompanied the informant, according to the complaint.
Just before 5 p.m., Haret arrived at Lowe’s with Abdullah, who was driving a Dodge Charger.
The agent and informant got into the Charger, and a short time later both Abdullah and Haret pulled out guns and demanded money from the men, according to the complaint. The agent and informant handed over all the money they had, then the agent left the vehicle “ostensibly to retrieve more money.”
Then, the agent pulled out a gun and shot into the Charger, hitting Abdullah several times, the complaint says. Haret then fled from the car.
Other ATF agents who had been watching the failed sale saw Haret run toward the highway before tossing a gun to the ground and darting into traffic.
Haret was struck by a passing vehicle, prosecutors wrote. Surveillance video of the incident, obtained by KING 5 News, showed a man getting knocked down by a black sedan that stopped just short of running him over.
Agents then arrested him. Haret was taken to Valley Medical Center.
The .40-caliber handgun that Haret allegedly discarded was recovered by police officers at the scene. A second handgun, a 9-mm semi-automatic pistol, was recovered later from the floorboard of the Charger, according to the complaint.
Abdullah, who in state records also uses the surname Abdullani and Abdullahi, has a long criminal history that includes convictions for theft, trespassing, disorderly conduct and weapons possession.
Haret had a previous felony conviction for assault as a juvenile.
The Valley Investigative Team, which is made up of representatives from police departments in Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way and Des Moines, is investigating the shooting along with the ATF’s force-review branch.
At least one ATF agent has been placed on temporary administrative duty during the agency’s review.
The gun buy was initiated by an ATF-led joint task force that includes some local police officers.
“On that task force we only have one officer assigned to it, and he did not fire his weapon,” Kent Assistant Police Chief Eric Hemmen said.
Jason Chudy, an ATF spokesman, said he did not know the name of the officer whose gun was stolen nor the officer’s agency.
The Charger was allegedly stolen in a case handled by the Port of Seattle, according to a probable-cause statement filed in King County District Court. Haret made his first appearance Saturday in that court, before it was determined that federal prosecutors would bring charges.
Federal prosecutors could seek more charges in the case and bring them before a grand jury for possible indictment.