King Co. Sheriff asks off-deputies to stay armed after Paris attacks

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart.

Deputies in King County have been urged to carry their service weapon while off duty along with extra magazines.

Sheriff John Urquhart sent an email to officers Tuesday saying the greatest threat in the county, which includes Seattle, is a homegrown terrorist who supports ISIL. That group is responsible for the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 people and injured more than 350 others.

"As they have in the past, ISIL released a video on Saturday, urging attacks anywhere, saying there are 'weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit,’” Urquhart wrote. “I believe this is the biggest threat to our area," he said.

KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy will have a live report on the Sheriff's e-mail on KIRO 7 News from 5-6:30 -- click here to watch live.

Initially after the attack the FBI said there was no specific threat to Seattle area. But in previous years authorities have identified Washington State Ferries as potential targets for other terrorist groups.

“Of course we should all stay vigilant and ‘if you see something, say something,’” Urquhart wrote. “But after Paris, that doesn't seem enough. Therefore my request."

He then asked deputies to stay armed while off duty.

"With all that is going in the world, it is more important than ever to have the means to protect your family, the public, and yourself," Urquhart wrote. The text of the e-mail is below.

Email from Sheriff Urquhart to deputies 11/17/15

First the update:

I have received several updates from the FBI, including information on the shootings and the resulting investigation.  So far, at least 130 persons were killed and at least 352 were injured, with approximately 157 in critical condition.  A variety of methods were used, including bombings, hand grenades, and small arms at five shooting locations and three bombing locations in and just outside Paris.

One American was killed and four were wounded, none critically.

According to the French government, eight attackers were killed.  Seven killed themselves and one was shot by French police.  ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Since the Friday night massacre, at least nine people were arrested over the course of more than 150 anti-terrorism raids across France, some of which were linked to the terrorist attacks.  Raids also occurred in Belgium and Germany with more arrests. 

ISIL released a propaganda video on Monday and threatened additional attacks in Europe and the United States, specifically mentioning Washington DC.

- Despite their video, the FBI continues to say they have no specific, credible information of any imminent attacks in this country.

Nevertheless, I believe the bigger threat to the greater Seattle area is a home-grown terrorist who decides to act unilaterally in support of ISIL.  As they have in the past, ISIL released a video on Saturday, urging attacks anywhere, saying there are “weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit.”  I believe this is the biggest threat to our area.

So what should we do?  Of course we should all stay vigilant and “if you see something, say something.”  But after Paris, that doesn’t seem enough.  Therefore my request.

- While off-duty I am asking all commissioned personnel to always carry their sidearm, with extra magazines.  I know that some of you already do, but many do not.  Now is the time!  With all that is going in the world, it is more important than ever to have the means to protect your family, the public, and yourself.

Thank you.  Please stay safe!

JU