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Originally published July 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 21, 2007 at 1:10 PM

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Two gunmen lead chase through Everett Mall

Authorities chased two carjacking suspects through the Everett Mall and across Snohomish County before shooting one outside a Mill Creek Fred Meyer store.

The Seattle Times

Police and sheriff's deputies chased two carjacking suspects through Everett Mall and across Snohomish County on Friday before shooting one of the men outside a Mill Creek Fred Meyer store.

The "amazing" chase began in the Lake Stevens area about 4:30 p.m. Friday when Lake Stevens police began pursuing two car-prowl suspects, said Everett police Lt. Ted Olafson.

The men led the officers onto the Highway 2 trestle, where they crashed into a white sedan. The men got out and, at gunpoint, stole the sedan, Olafson said. The woman who had been driving that car apparently was not injured.

The chase continued, with Snohomish County sheriff's deputies taking over and following the men through the Everett area. That chase eventually led to Everett Mall, where the suspects stopped the stolen car at the north entrance and ran inside, Olafson said.

Witnesses said officers chased the armed men through the mall, yelling at shoppers to get down on the ground for safety.

Shopper Claudia Dixen was in the food court when the men ran through.

"They ran right by us," said Dixen, 38. "I thought they were just goofing around until we saw the police. When I saw the guns, that was scary. We were freaking out."

In the mall, the suspects split up. Deputies arrested one of the men there, but the other made it out the south doors.

It was there that a sheriff's lieutenant fired at the suspect and missed, Olafson said. The bullet hit an unoccupied car in the mall's parking lot.

The mall was ordered locked down for about 90 minutes until police were sure there was no further danger to shoppers and workers. The mall is open for business as usual today.

Dixen said stores inside lowered their gates and locked their doors.

Mall officials and workers at several stores declined to comment Friday night.

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The remaining suspect carjacked a green pickup at gunpoint outside the busy mall movie theater and again drove off, Olafson said. This time, Everett police gave chase.

The pursuit led officers to the Bothell-Everett Highway and to a Fred Meyer store in the Mill Creek area. There, the man stopped the truck and ran inside.

It wasn't clear how long the man was inside the store, but officers had surrounded it by the time he came out a back door about 5:30 p.m.

He was confronted by an Everett police sergeant, who ordered the man to stop as he ran toward the woods behind the store, Olafson said. Then, he said, the man stopped and turned toward the sergeant with what looked like a gun.

The sergeant fired, hitting the suspect several times, Olafson said.

The man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening wounds.

Officers found handguns on or near both suspects when they were arrested, he said.

"The fact that no one was injured except for one of the armed suspects was remarkable," Olafson said. At least one other car was hit by the suspects during the chase, sheriff's deputies said.

The names and ages of the suspects weren't released Friday night. Olafson said that car-prowling, the crime the men were initially sought for, is a misdemeanor.

It wasn't immediately clear what charges they might face related to the carjackings and chase.

Both officers who fired shots were placed on paid administrative leave, as is routine after officer-involved shootings.

Staff reporter Diane Brooks contributed to this report.

Brian Alexander: balexander@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2026.

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