Two killed, two wounded in shootings at Seattle boat company
SEATTLE – A man in camouflage clothing and sunglasses calmly walked in and shot four employees at a boat repair company Wednesday, killing two of them. The attack came a day after a deadly workplace shooting in Hawaii.
Law officers hunting for the gunman spread a massive dragnet around the area north of downtown Seattle, using helicopters and dogs to search into the night. Residents were told to stay in their houses, while children at 20 schools were locked inside for part of the day before they were sent home.
”He walked in and started shooting. That’s all we know,” said Pam McCammon, a police spokeswoman. Police said survivors told them that the man said nothing before shooting seven to nine rounds with a 9 mm handgun.
A 19-year-old man who survived with a gunshot wound in his arm said the gunman didn’t work at the Northlake Shipyard shop and he had never seen him before. All the victims were men.
The suspect, described as possibly in his 30s, was wearing an overcoat over camouflage clothing and a brown hat when he walked in the front door and went to a back office of the shipyard on the edge of Lake Union. He had brown curly hair, a mustache and wore a baseball cap and sunglasses.
As the search continued past dark, hours after the morning shooting, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell asked the public to help and to be careful. ”Check on your neighbors, check on senior citizens, check on your premises,” he said.
Investigators were not ruling out that the suspect fled by boat.
The King County medical examiner’s office said Russell James Brisendine, 43, was one of the dead. The other fatality was Peter Giles, 26, whose uncles owned the yard.
”He was just a super young fellow,” his grandfather, Richard Kelly Sr., told KIRO-TV. Giles had worked at the shipyard since he was 12. ”Who would expect for a decent, law-abiding, wonderful citizen to get just shot in cold blood?”
The other survivor, a 58-year-old man, remained unconscious in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, hospital officials said.
The shooting took place in an industrial area on the edge of the lake, a few blocks from the Wallingford neighborhood, a leafy area of older wood-frame houses with small, tidy yards and porches dotted with Halloween pumpkins.
”We want to alert homeowners as they return for the day, if they see anything unusual, to call 911,” Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper said.
Jeannie Parr, who works in a glassed-in office across the hall from Northlake Shipyard, said she saw the gunman enter the building and thought he looked strange.
”He came in calmly,” she told Northwest Cable News. ”I didn’t hear any sounds of a confrontation or argument. … All I heard was gunshots.”
Scottie Pierce of Seattle Boat, across the street from the shipyard building, said he was sending his employees home early.
”It’s almost a surreal type situation, faced with what the nation went through in Hawaii yesterday,” he told the cable station. ”I’m quite concerned that there’s someone running around with a gun.”
Seven people were shot to death Tuesday at a Xerox Corp. building in Honolulu. The suspected gunman, a Xerox employee, fled after the slayings and surrendered hours later. The shootings follow a string of fatal attacks at workplaces and schools.
President Clinton offered federal help to officials trying to solve both of the latest shootings, and said the country has been plagued for too long with gun violence.
”Our nation continues on this day to be reminded of the horrors of gun violence. We need to do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children,” Clinton told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. ”Congress needs to send me commonsense (gun) legislation.”