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Monday, August 7, 2006 - Page updated at 08:31 PM


Charges filed in Jewish Federation shootings

Seattle Times staff reporters

King County prosecutors today charged Naveed Haq with aggravated first-degree murder and five counts of first-degree attempted murder in last week's shooting at the Jewish Federation offices in downtown Seattle.

Haq is accused of killing Pamela Waechter, 58, and injuring five other women after forcing his way into the federation's office just after 4 p.m. Friday and randomly shooting employees.

Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable by either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of release.

Haq, 30, has also been charged with first-degree kidnapping for holding a gun to the back of a 14-year-old girl to force his way into the building; one charge of first-degree burglary and malicious harassment, the felony charge for a hate crime.

Haq, who is in custody in the King County Jail without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 10. After Haq's arraignment, prosecutor Norm Maleng will have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Maleng said there appears to be premeditation.

"The world has gotten to be a smaller place," said Maleng at a news conference this morning. "There's no place in our community for hate crimes."

At a news conference following the announcement of charges, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle said the organization supported the charges filed against Haq. When asked if members of the organization supported seeking the death penalty, Robin Boehler, chairwoman of the Jewish Federation's board, said, "We don't have a position on the death penalty. Our community is very diverse and there's no consensus so we won't be taking a position."

According to charging papers, Haq stalked his victims inside the federation's second-floor office and chased one wounded woman to a stairwell, where he fired a second round that struck her head and killed her.

"The attack on these women was an attack on the Jewish community, not only in Seattle, but throughout our nation and the world," Maleng said.

"The victims were killed and injured, not because of who they were as individuals, but because the defendant wanted to use them as symbols, to strike at members of the Jewish faith everywhere," Maleng said.

According to charging papers, Haq waited in the vestibule of the secure building at 2031 Third Ave. At approximately 3:50 p.m., a 14-year-old girl, the niece of one of the shooting victims, approached the entrance; Haq came up behind her and put a gun to her back, ordering her to open the door.

"With no options available to her, (the girl) buzzed the intercom and said she was Cheryl's niece," the papers say, referring to victim Cheryl Stumbo.

The girl was buzzed into the building and followed by Haq, who prosecutors say was armed with two semi-automatic handguns, a knife and extra ammunition.

Haq told the girl, "I'm only doing this for a statement," the court documents say.

The two went up the stairs to the federation's reception area. When Haq stopped at Layla Bush's reception desk, asking to see a manager, the girl walked to a restroom and locked herself into a stall, the papers say. Moments later she heard gunshots and used a cell phone in her bag to call for help, charging papers say.

Meanwhile, Haq followed Bush as she went to find Stumbo; Stumbo told another employee, Carol Goldman, to call 911 and but before Goldman could make the call, Haq shot her in the knee, the papers say. Goldman went beneath her desk as Haq continued shooting, striking Bush in the abdomen and left shoulder and Stumbo in the abdomen, the court papers say.

"Moving through the office, Haq shot Christina Rexroad in the abdomen and shot Pamela Waechter in the left chest," the papers say. Waechter ran to the stairs, clutching her chest. Haq followed.

"Extending his arm and gun over the railing, he took aim and fired," striking Waechter in the head, the papers say.

Back inside the office, Haq made his way to Dayna Klein's office door. Klein, who is 17 weeks pregnant, didn't realize the sounds she heard were gunshots and got to her office door at the same time Haq appeared, the papers say. Haq fired at her abdomen, but the bullet struck her "in the arm that she had a moment earlier put up to protect her unborn child," according to charging documents.

Despite Haq's shouted warnings that "nobody better call 911," Klein crawled to her desk and dialed the phone, the papers say. As Klein spoke to an operator, the papers say "Haq returned to Klein's office and put a gun to her head," telling her, "now you are my hostage because you didn't follow directions."

He told Klein to tell the 911 operator to call CNN, commenting that he didn't care what happened to him. With the gun still pointed at her, Klein asked Haq if he wanted to speak to the operator, the papers say.

Haq gave the operator his name and social security number and announced "this is a hostage situation," the papers say.

He allegedly stated: "I'm not upset at the people, I'm upset at your foreign policy. These are Jews. I'm tired of getting pushed around, and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East." He went on to say he wanted the American military out of Iraq and wanted the 911 operator to call the media.

"Haq reiterated that he just wanted to make a point and was tired of everyone not listening to our point of view. He said he was sick and tired of Jewish politicians being in favor of the war," the papers say.

Moments later, he put down his weapons, placed his hands on his head, walked out of the building, laid on the sidewalk and was arrested and handcuffed by Seattle officers, say the charging papers.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company



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