New details after man allegedly blows up car inside Everett Fred Meyer
A 56-year-old Olympia man has been charged with first-degree arson and first-degree malicious mischief after he allegedly drove a car through the front of an Everett Fred Meyer.
Everett Police report the incident began when an officer was alerted to a nuisance at the Fred Meyer at 8530 Evergreen Way around 6 p.m. Friday.
Police say the officer called for backup when the man drove the car, filled with propane and gasoline, through the front entrance.
When police arrived, they saw the man pour gasoline on himself. Officers began negotiating with the man to get him out of the car when the car caught on fire.
The employee told police that the car’s driver was “acting strangely and not responding to the requests for him to move his vehicle,” according to documents.
“[The officer] could see that there were gas cans and a propane tank in the car,” said Officer Ora Hamel with the Everett Police Department (EPD). “It was strong enough that he could smell it outside the car, and the man had a respirator around his neck.”
Hamel said the officer knew people were in danger.
“He told the officer he was going to blow up his car,” she said. “There were a lot of people around, so he let other officers know that he needed assistance. They came in and started evacuating the store.”
Police said the driver was wearing a filtered respirator around his neck, “presumably so that he would not pass out due to the fumes from the propane and gasoline filling his vehicle.”
That kicked off nearly an hour of negotiations, police said, with the man making demands that led police to believe he was having a mental health crisis.
“[He] kept threatening to blow up his car, pointing to where the gas was,” Hamel said, mentioning the torch lighters the man was holding. “Eventually, he told the officer he had done these actions so that he could speak with the FBI about demons that were hunting him.”
Negotiations ultimately fell through, and police said they saw the man duck inside the car, and then it exploded. Authorities said the store was fully evacuated at the time, and police had been conversing with him over the phone, so the man was the only person hurt in the blast.
He was treated, taken to a local hospital, and later arrested.
KIRO 7 contributed to this report