A gunman opened fire today in a rental home occupied by 20 young partygoers, killing six and critically injuring at least one other before committing suicide when confronted by police outside.
William Lowe, 59, who lives across the street, said he heard six shots fired shortly after his alarm went off at 7am local time.
He looked through the peephole of his door to see people scattering from the home, some with faces painted and hair dyed – “part of their party culture,” according to Seattle Police spokesman Rich Pruitt.
One man staggered out and sat down, Lowe said, and another man came out carrying a shotgun across his chest. When the officer told him to put the weapon down, he put the barrel in his mouth and fired.
Officers found five people dead in various rooms. Three people were taken to a hospital; one died.
Officers transported a dozen witnesses to a precinct to interview them.
“It’s one of the largest crime scenes the city has ever had,” said Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.
He said an officer in the neighbourhood heard shots fired at just after 7am and arrived to find one person staggering out of the house with a gunshot wound.
The officer confronted another man with a shotgun and told him several times to put the weapon down, but then the man turned it on himself and fired, Kerlikowske said.
The suspect had more than one gun, Pruitt said. He said he did not know if drugs or alcohol were a factor.
Lowe said people were coming and going from the house at all hours, often in elaborate make-up.
“This was a destination point,” he said.
Aaron Hoyle, 25, said about five young people lived in the blue, two-story bungalow, and that some were promoters of warehouse parties.
Hoyle had not been to the home in about three months, but heard about the shooting on the news and came to see if his friends were OK.
By late morning, he still did not know.
The home, according to King County property records, is owned by a man named Gregg Doyle.