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Saturday, March 25, 2006 - Page updated at 06:33 PM

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Seven people dead in Capitol Hill shooting

Police don't know yet why a gunman in his late 20s shot six people to death and then killed himself just after 7 this morning at a home in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

At a news conference in the stunned neighborhood this afternoon, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said the shooter, a local man whose name has yet to be released, killed six young men and women inside and outside the house "execution style."

Armed with a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun, the man prowled the home's second story looking for more targets, Kerlikowske said, missing two people locked in a bathroom. When he left the house, the gunman was confronted by a Seattle police officer who happened to be in the neighborhood. The officer was standing between the shooter and two injured victims. When the officer confronted the gunman, the man put the gun to his head and killed himself.

Six people, whose names have not been released, died at the scene – including the gunman. Three others were taken to Harborview Medical Center, where one man died and the other two remain hospitalized.

The shooting took place at a home in the 2100 block of East Republican Street.

When the man opened fire, people poured from the house in search of a place to hide, said Jakob Kayser, 22, whose backyard abuts the rental home.

Kayser said two young men and a young woman, all appearing to be in their late teens or early 20s, pounded on his back door. They demanded to use his phone to call police.

They told Kayser that one of their friends was dead and another was bleeding heavily. After calling for help, the three took off, he said.

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Police loaded the uninjured partygoers into buses and took them to a precinct headquarters for interviewing, Pruitt said.

Nancie Thorne, whose 15-year-old daughter, Suzanne, was in the house when the man opened fire said she learned about what happened when Suzanne's 18-year-old boyfriend called her this morning.

"It's the worst phone call a mom can get," said Thorne, who went to the Capitol Hill home after getting the call.

She said she doesn't know where Suzanne is now.

The girl, her boyfriend Jesse Mullens and another friend had gone to what Thorne called a "zombie rave," a hard-core electronic dance party, in Seattle last night.

In his phone call, Mullens told Thorne that after the rave they went to the house on Capitol Hill for a party. As the couple and their friend were preparing to leave, the gunman barged into the home, Mullens said.

Suzanne had gone back inside, possibly to get something, her mother said.

Mullens told Thorne he heard a lot of gunshots. He thought Suzanne was stuck somewhere in the house with the shooter between her and the door.

"She shouldn't have gone to the rave. I've never approved of those things," Thorne said. "The young kids just don't get it.

"I just hope to God she's alive," she said, crying. "And if she is, she's grounded for life."

Thorne said Mullens was one of a number of people police took to a precinct headquarters for questioning.

After being interviewed by police, one of that group, Garry Will, 20, of Bellevue, said he doesn't recall any arguments at the rave or at the house preceding the shooting.

He said the shooter had been at the house, left, then returned with several guns.

"Everybody was cool and chill and this guy showed up and started firing rounds out on the porch. He shot a guy and then came inside and started letting off rounds," Will said.

"He went in there trying to kill people, that's for sure. He wasn't going after just one person because he was letting off all these rounds."

Aaron Hoyle, 25, said the home was being rented by five of his friends, who shared a love of electronic music. Hoyle, who wasn't there when the shots were fired this morning, said the occupants frequently hosted parties.

Several neighbors of the home said they were awakened by gunfire.

"Our windows were like rattling from each one," Kayser said. "It's unbelievable how loud that was."

Charles Jackson, who lives two doors down from the home, said he was "just getting out of bed and I heard 'boom, boom.'."

"By the time I got out, there was one more shot fired," said Jackson, 67.

Jackson saw a man lying on a sidewalk who appeared to have been shot.

Neighbors say there has been a steady stream of young people with facial piercings, heavy makeup and multicolored hair coming and going from the house. Kayser said people were always hanging out on the porch and often said hello to passers-by.

William Lowe, who lives across the street from where the shootings occurred, called 911 when he heard four shotgun blasts and two shots from a small-caliber handgun around 7 a.m. He said he saw an injured man stumble outside the home.

"The first person I saw was obviously wounded, and he looked disoriented," said Lowe, 59.

He said he saw the gunman leave the house through a side door, carrying what looked like a sawed-off shotgun.

"The officer yelled 'drop your ' and the guy put the gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger," Lowe said.

Lowe said the gunman looked familiar and he thinks he may have visited the house before. He said that since people moved into the home nearly six months ago it was a regular party destination for youth.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels spent a portion of the morning surveying the neighborhood.

"Our thoughts are with the people at Harborview and with the victims of this senseless violence," Nickels said. "It's a terrible tragedy; we don't have incidents like this in this city very often."

Seattle Times staff reporters Ben Romano, Jennifer Sullivan, Sara Jean Green, Jack Broom, Mike Carter, Jonathan Martin, Maureen O'Hagan, Sonia Krishnan, Nick Perry, Justin Mayo and Christine Willmsen and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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