Pedestrians apparently targeted before Issaquah shootout
The gunman who was fatally shot by Issaquah police at an elementary school Saturday apparently had fired at several pedestrians before taking aim at officers; law-enforcement officials have not yet determined a motive.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The gunman who was fatally shot by Issaquah police at an Issaquah elementary school Saturday apparently fired at nearby pedestrians before taking aim at police who were closing in around him, according to law-enforcement officials.
King County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart confirmed that several witnesses reported shots whizzing past them as the gunman unsuccessfully tried to break into a locked car in the school parking lot and then the cab of a parked backhoe.
A group of four teens walking on the sidewalk near the school said Sunday that a man in dark camouflage clothing and armed with two rifles fired eight or nine times in their direction, hitting the sidewalk around them before they turned, fled and took cover in a neighbor's garage.
The fact that none of the teens was hit left at least one of them wondering whether the man was really trying to shoot them or trying to attract the fire of police.
"If he really wanted, he could have killed us pretty fast," said Shanae Hover, 17, a student at Lake Washington Vocational College. "The first shot went between me and my friend."
Police on Sunday said they still did not know why the 51-year-old Maple Valley man abandoned his car near downtown Issaquah, then hiked almost half a mile to Clark Elementary School, brandishing two rifles before opening fire.
The school is just across the street from Issaquah High School, where an estimated 150 people were gathered for a youth football game. Participants were herded under the bleachers, where they heard the gunshots.
Police said the King County Medical Examiner would release the name of the dead man early in the week.
Urquhart said Issaquah police started getting 911 calls at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday about a man who was carrying two rifles and pointing them menacingly at pedestrians as he walked.
The four teens outside the elementary school said a mother and two girls came running past them screaming that there was a man with a gun. Shots were fired, striking the sidewalk around them.
Tony Kimmi, 18, a Bellevue College student, said he dropped to the ground after the first shot, then stood back up, thinking he could make himself a target long enough for the two girls to get into their car and for his friends to run. He didn't see the shooter, but said he counted nine shots.
"I felt like everybody there was a target," he said.
David Korpi was participating in a work party at nearby St. Michael's Episcopal Church when he heard the gunshots. A former Colorado resident whose office was blocks from Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre there, Korpi said he directed church members into their building and then walked toward the elementary school, fully expecting to find wounded adults and children needing help.
Instead, he saw the final moments of the fatal encounter. A man rounded the northeast corner of the elementary school, turning to fire back in the direction from which he had come. Police returned fire, but Korpi said the man was still moving when a final round of gunfire brought him down.
Urquhart said the man died at the scene from multiple gunshots.
The Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation at the request of Issaquah police. The Issaquah officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such shootings.
Seattle Times researcher David Turim contributed to this report. Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or email@example.com
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
Career Center Blog
Sign up for our newsletter
Get creative suggestions for making your house a home weekly in your inbox!