A SWAT team shot and killed a man who for hours had fired shots from a boat in Eagle Harbor early Sunday, prompting residents to shelter in place and forcing the cancellation of ferry service, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner said.
A SWAT team early Sunday shot and killed a man who for hours had fired shots from a boat in Eagle Harbor, prompting residents to shelter in place and forcing the cancellation of ferry services, according to Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner.
Police had responded to reports of shots fired around 8:30 p.m. Saturday and found a man apparently armed with a rifle firing at the shore and then at officers, Hamner said.
Nobody was hit, he said.
Areas along the shoreline were evacuated and people were told to stay inside, the chief said. Ferry service between Seattle and Bainbridge Island was shut down, and about 10:20 p.m., the fire department tweeted, “Those who live on the shore should shelter in place and avoid windows.”
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City spokeswoman Kellie Stickney said the incident took place near a Washington State Ferries repair yard, adjacent to the ferry terminal.
The shooting prompted a large law-enforcement response, including local law-enforcement agencies, the King County sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter, the Kitsap Regional SWAT team, the Coast Guard and the FBI.
The gunfire lasted about two hours, KOMO TV reported, citing witnesses.
Hamner said that “after hours of working to end the incident peacefully,” members of the Kitsap County Regional SWAT team boarded boats belonging to the Kitsap County Sheriff and the Bainbridge Island Police Department and approached the suspect’s vessel.
Hamner said the man, described by police as a white male in his 30s, pointed a gun at the officers and was shot. The chief said there were no other injuries.
Witnesses told KOMO that the man stripped naked at one point and was wandering in and out of the hold on the boat. One witness, who was watching the incident from another boat through binoculars, told The Seattle Times the man appeared to be armed with two rifles.
“He was just firing randomly,” said Assistant Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Luke Carpenter.
As the sheriff’s helicopter hovered overhead, police used flash bangs and some sort of smoke devices to try to get the gunman to surrender, KOMO reported, citing witnesses at the scene.
The man appeared on the boat’s deck naked about 12:30 a.m. and got into a dinghy behind the boat, according to a KOMO photographer at the scene. The gunman then climbed back into the cabin of the main boat, came out with a gun and aimed it at officers, the photographer said. Police opened fire, striking the man.
The chief said an investigation is being conducted by the Washington State Patrol and the Kitsap County Incident Response Team.
Hamner said the two officers who initially responded to the incident chose to not shoot at the man, even as they came under fire as they evacuated people from the shoreline and the water.
Calling the officers’ actions “pretty special,” Hamner noted that one had a rifle but didn’t fire because he wasn’t sure if anyone was in the area behind the man.