Help delayed for family pinned down by gunfire

by: Chris Halsne, Lead Investigative Reporter Updated:

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 A local family went hiking in Snoqualmie National Forest expecting a relaxing journey through the woods; instead, they were pinned down by gunfire—twice.

KIRO 7 Investigators obtained just released 911 calls from the incident last month that captures the family’s fear.

In one exchange, multiple gunshots can be heard and the caller, Bob Cook, questions the dispatcher about what kind of gun is being fired.

Cook: Is that an automatic weapon or what?

911: Listen to what I'm asking you please. I hear the shots, OK.

But despite hearing those shots the family never saw the King County Sheriff deputy promised by dispatch, a fact that sparked a KIRO 7 Investigation.

On November 9, Cook, his wife, daughter Bobbie and two grandchildren joined him on a hike along the path to Alice Creek Falls. Minutes into their trek, their family outing was interrupted by threatening gunfire.

“You could hear the bullets zipping through the trees. They’d hit something and go smack!” Cook explained while leading our crew through the trail.

His daughter Bobbie agreed that “out of nowhere a bunch of shooting erupted.”

“I was hollering at him to stop shooting, my family is here!” said Cook.

When he first heard the shots, Cook figured “some silly kids” were just being careless near the trail but he still decided to alert authorities.

911: What are you reporting?     Listen to the first 911 call here

Cook: Yeah, I think somebody is shooting at us up here.

Near the end of the call, the dispatcher said she would "let the officers know and see if we can get somebody up there".

According to sheriff logs obtained by KIRO 7, a deputy was not immediately dispatched to check out Cook’s first 911 call.

The family didn’t want to take any chances with two young children in tow. They quickly turned back after those initial gunshots, hiking about a half-hour toward their car.

But soon, Bobbie realized they were being followed.

“It was like, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang—at us!” Bobbie said.

The family felt ambushed, even hunted, and they estimate 100 rounds of gunfire from at least two rifles filled the air.

As they scrambled to their car, at one point crawling on their hands and knees to avoid being shot, Cook called 911 again.  Listen to the second 911 call here

His second call is much more frantic.

Cook: They’re shooting really close to us and you can hear the bullets going through the frickin’ trees!

At one point, Cook urges his family toward the safety of their car.

Cook: Hurry up! Come on! Get down here, hurry up!

“It was just scary, it was just petrifying, right? So we ran the whole way down and got to the bottom,” Bobbie said. But once they got through the woods and into the parking lot “no one came”.

Records show from Cook’s first call for help it took one hour 12 minutes before a King County deputy arrived at the trailhead.

By then, the scared family was long gone—fleeing the area to safety.

“I’m upset. We could have been up here bleeding and nobody would have come up here. We were all by ourselves,” said Cook.

A King County Sheriff's spokesperson tells us an internal affairs investigation into how dispatchers handled the "reckless shooting" calls is underway. They are listening to those recordings to see if employees could have done a better job handling the incident.

Federal law does allow for recreational shooting inside the Snoqualmie National Forest but not near that particular trailhead at exit 42, off I-90.

The US Forest Service told us shooting is banned in the area due to the high volume of hikers along the popular path.