Hotel doorman shot after robbery; witnesses tackle gunman
A suspected jewelry-store robber, wearing a white rubber mask and carrying a tray of platinum-colored rings, shot and wounded a hotel doorman Friday morning but was taken down by other bystanders and arrested by Seattle police.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Raw video of robbery suspect tackled
A suspected jewelry-store robber, wearing a white rubber mask and carrying a tray of platinum-colored rings, shot and wounded a hotel doorman Friday, but was captured by a group of bystanders.
The wounded man, 35, who works at the Mayflower Park Hotel, suffered a non-life-threatening wound to his arm, said Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition, according to Kyle Moore, spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department.
The incident began around 10:30 a.m. when a gunshot was fired during a robbery inside Express Jewelers, on the second floor of Westlake Center, according to police. Bank employees at the shopping mall's Wells Fargo branch heard the gunshot and triggered their panic alarm, which alerted police, Metz said.
The robbery suspect ran east from the mall and was chased by the Mayflower Park doorman, according to Metz and witnesses.
On the northwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Stewart Street, directly across from the federal courthouse, the robber turned and fired three shots at the pursuing doorman, said Jarome Neil, a 12-year Army veteran, who ducked when he heard the shots.
Neil joined several other men who tackled and held the suspect.
A man wearing a white chef's shirt emerged from nearby Hotel Max and grabbed the robber in a bear hug from behind, Neil said.
Merlyn Parker, a 38-year-old Real Change newspaper vendor, grabbed the robber's arm and shoulder.
"I got him in a headlock," Neil said, "and took him to the ground and put my knee on his neck."
During the scuffle, the robber's handgun dropped to the ground, along with the tray of platinum-colored rings he'd been carrying, according to Parker and Neil.
The men said security guards from the courthouse ran across Seventh Avenue and helped them hold down the suspect until Seattle police arrived. The robber had been wearing a white rubber mask, they said.
"He probably had 20 rings, platinum or silver-colored," said Parker, the son of a retired Ferry County Sheriff's Office chief deputy.
"He was fighting hard. It was crazy," said Neil.
The mask the robber wore "looked like a Michael Myers mask," he said, referring to the main character in the Halloween slasher films.
Metz said the men who intervened put themselves in a dangerous spot.
"It's very risky. We tell folks they shouldn't be trying to tackle or chase down anybody," he said. "... It's not a safe thing to do."
Parker said he didn't think twice about becoming involved.
"These people are my people, they're people who help me put food on the table every night," he said of those who work in the area.
Paul Ishii, the general manager of the Mayflower Park Hotel, identified the injured doorman as Roberto Sandoval.
Ishii said he visited a groggy Sandoval in the hospital on Friday and that Sandoval will undergo surgery to have a bullet removed from his left forearm.
"He's a great guy, a hard worker. He would help anyone out," Ishii said of Sandoval, who has worked at the 85-year-old, family-owned hotel for 11 years.
"He's looking good. He was lucky. Talk about dodging a bullet."
Seattle Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com