Thursday, April 26, 2018

Seattle shaken as 3 killed in cafe, then 1 in carjacking

SEATTLE — A gunman killed four people Wednesday — three at a cafe and another in a carjacking — before he apparently shot himself as officers closed in during a citywide manhunt, authorities said.

He was listed in critical condition at a hospital. Police have not released the suspect's name.

Police searching for the suspect in the shooting near the University of Washington also had to respond to another fatal attack near the city's downtown. They say a man killed a woman in an apparent carjacking and fled in a black SUV. Authorities later said they think one man was responsible for both attacks.

"At this time, we feel pretty confident that we have the suspect in both cases," said Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz.

The latest spasm of deadly gun violence worried Seattle's leaders and prompted police to consider increasing patrols in high-crime areas. The deaths brought the number of homicides so far this year to 20, compared with 21 in all of last year.

Police said residents could expect a heightened police presence in the city for the time being.

Gunfire erupted Wednesday morning at Cafe Racer, a restaurant and music venue north of the university. The gunman was described as a man in his 30s.

Police released two photos from inside the cafe, apparently taken from a security camera. One shows a man walking into the cafe, with a woman nearby reading a book. Another photo shows stools overturned, and the man standing and holding what appears to be a handgun.

Two men died at the scene. A woman from the cafe died at a hospital.

Evan Hill, who lives above the building where the shooting happened, said the cafe was an artists' collective and performance space.

"It's the strangest place to think of a shooting," said Hill, who heard four or five shots and called 911.

Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said a plainclothes detective spotted the suspect in the southwestern part of the city and called for unformed officers and a SWAT team. As the officers arrived, the man put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, Pugel said.

The SUV that the gunman had used to flee was found abandoned later. The suspect shot himself not far from where the SUV was found, authorities said.

At a news conference, Mayor Mike McGinn said the spate of violence had shaken the city.

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