Why a Seattle shooting suspect remains free, at least for now

Dec 28, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 11:26 am

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A Seattle Police Department vehicle. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department)

A Federal Way man deemed dangerous to the public by King County prosecutors is back on the streets after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) said one of its officers watched him fire a gun and injure another person in a shooting in Seattle early Saturday.

According to a document provided to Jason Rantz of AM 770 KTTH by the SPD and court documents, an SPD officer saw a suspect from about 20 yards away shoot a man during an argument near 5th Avenue and S. Jackson Street on Dec. 23.

The officer immediately called for backup and told the suspect multiple times to drop the weapon. The suspect then looked back at the officer and began fast walking toward a red SUV. The officer thought the suspect “was going to engage me or flee in the vehicle,” the documents read.

Instead, the suspect opened the SUV’s door threw inside “what appeared to be the firearm” used in the shooting and ran from the scene.

The gun was recovered from the vehicle and the suspect was arrested later.

The shooting victim is recovering.

More crime in Seattle: SPD recover video of car purposely hitting pedestrians

Despite the police account of what happened, the suspect, 42, was able to post bond and he hasn’t been charged yet.

As a general rule, KIRO Newsradio doesn’t name suspects until they are formally charged. MyNorthwest has, at this time, elected to follow suit.

Why the suspect remains free, for now

Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, confirmed in an emailed statement to KIRO Newsradio and AM 770 KTTH that “prosecutors argued that (the suspect is) a danger to the community and should be held on $250,000 (bail).”

Seattle crime blotter: Shooting leads to daycare damage, 1 serious injury

The court set bail at $125,000 after hearing from both sides and found probable cause for first-degree assault, McNerthney wrote. He added, the rush-file charging deadline is Thursday and the police investigation appears to be ongoing.

If SPD sends county prosecutors the case referral, they will act on it right away, McNerthney said.

In an interview with KIRO Newsradio Wednesday, McNerthney said asking for someone to be held without bail is uncommon, even in a potential murder case, let alone in a case involving an assault with a gun.

“It’s unusual to see someone held without bail, even in a murder case. But on a first-degree assault case, ($250,000) is still a pretty high amount and we got half of that,” McNerthney said.

Contributing: Luke Duecy, KIRO Newsradio; Jason Rantz, AM 770 KTTH

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