Seattle Police say they are investigating an officer-involved shooting near Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill.
A 31-year-old man was shot by Seattle police near Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill Saturday afternoon after they approached him as a suspect in an attempted car theft.
Police spokesman Patrick Michaud said officers responded to the 1500 block of Queen Anne Avenue North around 1:45 p.m. after reports of a man trying to steal a car.
Minutes later, close to Kerry Park, known for its sunset views of Elliott Bay and the Space Needle, officers found a man who approached them wielding a knife. Michaud said officers first tried to talk with the man, telling him he would be shot with a Taser if he didn’t drop the knife. After firing the Taser at him, it “didn’t have the desired effect,” Michaud said, and when he continued to approach, the officers shot him.
Seattle police subsequently identified the suspect as James Linwood Slade. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with what police called critical but non-life-threatening injuries.
Washington Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay said Slade was sentenced to community supervision in Pierce County after being convicted of assault charges. When he failed to report to his community corrections officer, DOC issued a warrant for his arrest on Jan. 4.
On Sunday, Seattle police released dashcam footage from the encounter.
As the shooting started, dozens of people visiting the park ran the other way.
John Walz, 18, said he was visiting Kerry Park because a friend had told him of its great view. He is originally from Florida and is going to school in Bellevue.
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He said he saw an officer telling a man to drop what Walz thought was a gun, but the man kept advancing, so the officer shot several times. Walz said the man then got into the front seat of a police car and, after other officers showed up, they tried to subdue him with the Taser through the car window, he said.
Police didn’t immediately confirm whether Slade entered a police car, and Michaud said it will take time to figure out what happened and why it ended the way it did.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who went to the scene, said investigators were checking for patrol-car video of the incident and that, if found, it would be released as soon as possible.
Detectives with the Force Investigation Team are investigating. Under federally mandated reforms enacted in 2014 to curb excessive force, that team responds to incidents involving the highest levels of force and officer-involved shootings. The department’s Office of Professional Accountability is investigating, too.
Amy Anthony, her husband and two friends visiting from their home state of Oklahoma were also at the park Saturday afternoon, as part of a day of sightseeing. After visiting Pike Place Market, the group drove to Kerry Park to see the view after the morning fog had lifted.
Five minutes after they arrived, Anthony said she heard officers telling someone to drop something. Turning around, she saw a man with what she thought was a knife.
She said the officer fired four shots as she and most of the 30 to 50 other people at the park ran.
One thing that will stick with her, she said, was the reaction of one mom with two young children. Rather than run, the woman hurried her youngsters over a retaining wall to protect them from gunfire.
“She was so scared,” Anthony said. “It was the only thing she could do to protect her kids.”
Sandi Doughton contributed to this report.