Seattle police said they were investigating a man in the Queen Anne neighborhood for sending threatening texts to family members the day before he opened fire on officers and was fatally shot when they returned fire.
Officers said they began their investigation when they were called to a report of a disturbance in the 300 block of West Prospect Street on Friday. Officers said they spoke with a man at the house near the famous Kerry Park viewpoint and verified that he was the only person in the home.
Police said that later that night, officers received information that the man had just texted threats to his family. Officers returned to the home to arrest the man, identified by neighbors and a police source as 56-year-old Stephen Johnston, but could not find him.
The following night, Saturday, police received reports that shots were fired at the same home.
“I was talking to my wife and daughter. They were saying that they heard, like, gunshots, a series of gunshots,” said neighbor Terry Wong.
When police arrived, Johnston fired at them and officers returned fire, according to investigators.
Hours later, Johnston's body was found inside his home. He had died from gunshot wounds.
Police said it is still not clear what Johnston was shooting at before and during officers’ arrival.
Though Johnston’s family members were too distraught to comment, neighbors told KIRO 7 they had never seen or heard any problems at the Johnston home and called him a quiet and friendly neighbor.
“I feel so badly for the family, and the situation of what was obviously a very disturbed and ill individual – mentally ill,” said neighbor Cheryl Bachman.
The Seattle Police Department is investigating, and detectives said when they were finally able to enter the home they found semi-automatic weapons as well as body armor just inside the door.