Man shot inside Seattle's Union Gospel Missionon October 30, 2013 @ 12:28 pm (Updated: 3:59 pm - 10/30/13 )
The victim was identified by staff as 45-year-old Darren "Jerome" Nelson, a frequent guest of the mission. Nelson was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he remains in critical but stable condition.
Police arrested the 82-year-old gunman immediately following the incident, but later released him after he told detectives the victim tried to assault and rob him.
"He doesn't come regularly," Terry Pallas, director of men's ministry, said of the gunman. "He's actually sleeping out of his car as we understand, and was just coming in for a lunchtime meal when he got in the altercation."
Seattle police were called to the mission near 2nd Ave. and Washington St. around 11:45 a.m., according to Det. Mark Jamieson.
Pallas said he was in his office when he heard "the shot and a scream immediately following." He said roughly 70 people were waiting in line for lunch in the mission's community room when the incident occurred.
"We understand that maybe one of them bumped into the other and words were exchanged and it elevated from there," he said.
Pallas said the mission has a strict no firearm policy, but guests are not patted down and there is no metal detector inside the building.
"We see so many numbers for regular meals that that could be difficult and we also don't want to create an institutional feeling," he said. "This is a very rare instance, and our prayers are certainly with Jerome at this time and caring about his safety and all the guests that access the shelter."
Pallas said the mission will reevaluate safety procedures in light of the shooting.
The investigation is ongoing and it was unknown Wednesday whether the gunman had a permit to carry the firearm.
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