Details emerge, dead man identified in Madison Park bank robbery

by: Alison Grande Updated:


SEATTLE - A man clad in women’s clothing and a wig who robbed a bank and rolled his getaway vehicle before being fatally shot by Seattle police during a confrontation has been identified as a 26-year-old worker at a Ballard restaurant.

Cody Spafford was shot by Seattle officers when he ran toward a detective while brandishing a knife, according to police.

At 9:16 a.m. Thursday, Seattle police received a 911 report of a takeover-style bank robbery at the Madison Park Wells Fargo bank in the 4000 block of East Madison Street.

The robber, who was described as a white man wearing lots of makeup, a fake nose, dark wig, and women’s clothing, brandished a handgun during the robbery and told witnesses inside the bank he would kill them if he heard police sirens.

The man ran out of the bank with a cash-filled rolling suitcase and was gone before officers arrived minutes later.

At 9:26 a.m., police received a report of that a silver Hyundai had crashed and rolled over near 39th Avenue East and East John Street. Witnesses reported seeing a man running from the car, pulling off clothing and dragging a piece of rolling luggage. Officers were not chasing the car at the time of the crash.

Dozens of police officers, including SWAT and K-9, flooded the area to search for the robber, who police believed was running through the neighborhood armed with a handgun.

Officers arrived at 39th Avenue and East John Street at 9:32 a.m. and found clothing and cash in the driveway of a home in the 100 block of 39th Avenue East.

Police searched the area for more than two hours, but were unable to find the robber.

At 11:40 a.m., an officer spotted the robber running between two buildings inside the yard of a large home near 39th and East John and alerted other officers.

Officers and robbery detectives entered the courtyard of the home to surround the man and spotted him running onto the roof a detached garage. As the man ran across the garage, away from officers and out of view, a detective scaled a wall adjacent to the garage to get to higher ground and get a better view. As soon as the detective ascended the wall, he saw the man standing nearby, holding a large knife, police said.

According to police, a detective began talking to the man and repeatedly ordered him to drop the knife, but he refused, and a lieutenant at the scene called for officers with stun guns to come to the courtyard.

Investigators said that before the officers with stun guns arrived, the man, with knife in hand, ran toward the detective.  When he was within 15 feet of the detective, the detective fired multiple rounds from a rifle, striking the man.  Officers called for medics and began performing CPR on the man, but he died at the scene.

“Although officers armed with less-lethal tools were responding to the incident at the time of the shooting, police are trained to use deadly force when facing a threat from a deadly weapon, like a gun or knife,” a Seattle Police Department news release said.

Police found the man’s cash-filled rolling bag in a garage a block away from the scene of the shooting. They are also processing the crashed car, but recovered a realistic-looking Airsoft gun that resembles a handgun.

Though Seattle police did not identify Cody Spafford as the man who was killed by police, Spafford’s boss at The Walrus and the Carpenter, the Ballard restaurant where Stafford worked, did.

Spafford apparently worked his way up in the kitchen since the restaurant opened more than three years ago and was about to take a job in New York.  His boss said he showed no signs of money problems or mental illness.

“If Cody had broadcasted to any of us that he was in trouble, we would have been lining up to help him, “ said Jeremy Price, co-owner The Walrus and the Carpenter.  

“He was someone who made you laugh and smile and look forward to the next time you’re going to see him,” added Price. 

The restaurant was closed Friday night to mourn Spafford’s death.

Detectives said Spafford’s criminal history included burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft, drug possession, criminal mischief, obstruction and possession of stolen property.

The detective, a 15-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in officer-involved shootings.

The department’s Force Investigation Team is handling the case.

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