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Originally published January 28, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Page modified January 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM

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Man killed by police in bar ‘fought all the time’ with victim

The Seattle man who was killed by police after he allegedly shot two people at a Central District nightclub had been involved in a tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend, one of his victims.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A man who was killed by Seattle police after he allegedly shot two people at a popular Central District nightclub on Sunday night had been involved in a tumultuous relationship with one of the victims, a 24-year-old woman, according to relatives and court documents.

“They shouldn’t have been allowed to see each other,” said a relative of the wounded woman, who asked not to be named.

The dead man was not formally identified Monday, but a relative said his name was James D. Anderson, 32, of Seattle.

Anderson had been arrested near the same nightclub, the Twilight Exit, two months ago after he allegedly left the couple’s 7-month-old son unattended in a car that was parked nearby, according to court documents. Anderson was charged with reckless endangerment and leaving the child unrestrained and alone in a car while he walked up to the Twilight Exit on East Cherry Street, according to Seattle Municipal Court documents.

Also last year, a no-contact order preventing his girlfriend from contacting him was issued, according to court records.

In Sunday’s incident, Anderson had been ejected from the Twilight Exit after an argument with his girlfriend only to return about 20 minutes later with a gun, witnesses and the bar’s owner said. He entered through the club’s alley entrance, where he allegedly shot a doorman in the leg, then made his way across the bar and shot his girlfriend several times.

Officers responded quickly to the 911 calls and were at the door as the gunman was leaving, Nick Metz, deputy chief of Seattle police, said Sunday night. The officers identified themselves, but the gunman fired a single shot and one officer returned fire, Metz said.

Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The doorman, a man in his 30s, was shot once in the leg; he underwent surgery at Harborview Medical Center and remained in the intensive-care unit Monday night. Anderson’s girlfriend, who is also in intensive care, was shot three times in the legs. Both are expected to recover.

Seattle police did not release additional details Monday.

According to court documents and people who knew the couple, Anderson and his girlfriend had a tumultuous relationship.

“Basically, they were one of those couples that fought all the time,” said Twilight Exit owner Stephan Mollman.

A no-contact order was issued against Anderson’s girlfriend last year after the two fought and police were called, court documents show. The woman was charged with assault and property destruction, but the assault charge was dismissed after Anderson refused to cooperate in her prosecution, court records show.

Anderson’s girlfriend entered into a dispositional continuance on the property- destruction charge, which called for her to undergo treatment for chemical dependency and abstain from drugs and alcohol, according to court documents.

Anderson’s court records showed minor drug violations from about a decade ago.

More recently, though, he was charged with endangering the couple’s child.

According to the documents filed in municipal court, Anderson placed their 7-month-old son in the front passenger seat of his 2004 Ford Mustang as he drove from his home on 27th Avenue to the Twilight Exit.

“There was no child restraint used, nor was there any restraint of any kind used, and the child was lying free in the seat,” according to the police report.

The temperature was in the low 40s and the child “was not dressed for cold weather, wearing only one thin layer of clothing,” police wrote.

The girlfriend’s relative said that Anderson had been looking for his girlfriend at the bar, but was not planning to go into the bar and drink.

Mollman said that Anderson, after his arrest, had asked about obtaining video surveillance from the bar, which Anderson was hoping to use to show the court that he “hadn’t actually left the baby alone.”

The relative of Anderson’s girlfriend said that Anderson and the woman had been together, off and on, for a couple of years. The girlfriend had been studying nursing and Anderson was a union carpenter who most recently had been working on a job at the University of Washington.

“He was actually a really nice guy,” the relative said. “I think most of their troubles were from the booze.”

Twilight Exit is a dark, cozy joint that attracts a wide-cross section of the neighborhood, including college students, construction workers, young professionals, retirees and parents, who often bring their toddlers and school-age kids on weekends before 8 p.m. On Sundays, the bar hosts a karaoke night.

Dozens of people, many of them regulars, posted comments of support on the Twilight Exit’s Facebook page on Monday, with several suggesting a “take back the bar” night when it reopens to counter the violence that erupted there. Others suggested a fundraiser to cover the victims’ medical bills.

One man wrote: “As soon as you can open again, please have a benefit night for the victims. I know the entire community will pack in to show support and help raise money for any medical costs they’ve incurred. I’d be there tonight if you were open. Hoping for speedy recovery for both, and looking forward to coming in when you are open again.”

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-2073 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com.

Seattle Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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