Shooter kills six at a party, commits suicide


SEATTLE – A gunman opened fire early Saturday in a home, killing six partygoers and critically injuring at least one other before committing suicide when confronted by police outdoors.

Five bodies were found in several places in the rented home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood east of downtown, police said. One of the three other people taken to a hospital died and the third was in stable condition, a nursing supervisor said.

“It’s one of the largest crime scenes the city has ever had,” said Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

Dozens of rounds were fired in the house, where about 20 people ranging from their early and mid-teens to mid-20s had gathered after a larger party nearby in which some of the guests wore makeup “to look as if they were dead,” the chief said.

He said the shooter left the party briefly and returned with a handgun and a 20-gauge pistol-grip shotgun, which Kerlikowske described as “a weapon not designed for hunting purposes but for hunting people.”

The gunman, identified only as a local man in his late 20s, also wore bandoliers of shells for the shotgun and carried additional clips for the handgun, the chief said. In his truck, police found an assault rifle and multiple “banana clips” carrying 30 bullets each.

Kerlikowske said the shooter searched through the house for partygoers. When the gunman couldn’t get in to an upstairs bathroom where two people had locked themselves in, he fired rounds through the door, the chief said. The people were not injured.

Officers said they were not aware of a possible motive. Police said they did not know whether drugs or alcohol were a factor, though Kerlikowske said marijuana and alcohol were found in the house.

Kerlikowske said an officer in the neighborhood heard shots fired just after 7 a.m. When Officer Steve Leonard reached the scene, he found one person staggering out of the house with a gunshot wound.

The officer confronted another man who emerged with a shotgun, telling him to put the weapon down, Kerlikowske said. The man turned the gun on himself and fired a fatal shot, he said.

William Lowe, 59, who lives across the street, said he heard six shots shortly after his alarm went off. He looked out in time to see people scattering from the home, some with faces painted and hair dyed.

Lowe said he saw the man with the shotgun put the barrel in his mouth and fire.

Nancie Thorne told The Seattle Times that her 15-year-old daughter, Suzanne, was in the house when the man opened fire.

She said the girl’s boyfriend called her Saturday morning to say that they had gone to the house following an electronic dance party on Friday night – a “zombie rave.”

“It’s the worst phone call a mom can get,” Thorne said, crying. “She shouldn’t have gone to the rave. I’ve never approved of those things. … I just hope to God she’s alive. And if she is, she’s grounded for life.”

Hospital officials said the girl was not there.

Aaron Hoyle, 25, of Renton, said about five people in or around their 20s lived in the blue, two-story bungalow with white trim, and that some were promoters of warehouse parties. Hoyle hadn’t been to the home in about three months, but heard about the shooting on the news and came to see if his friends were all right.