EVERETT, Wash. — A man who was walking his dog in Everett is dead, after allegedly harassing people near a park.
Police say strangers stepped in to try to protect a woman and her grandchild, but the man sprayed several people with pepper spray and hit them with a metal baton. Then one of the people intervening opened fire, shooting and killing the man.
The incident happened on Tuesday in the 11300 block of 19th Ave SE around 3:30 p.m.
Howard Rhody and his friend were fishing at Silver Lake when they heard the commotion.
“The screaming kept going on and on and on for about four, five minutes,” Rhody said.
He and his friend went to see what was going on and say they saw a man yelling at two women and a child. Everett police say the group included a grandmother and her young granddaughter.
“He was approaching them aggressively, walking towards them and swinging this object that looked like a sword. It was a retractable (baton)-style thing and he was swinging at them,” Rhody said. (Rhody originally said “bayonet” but Everett police called the man’s weapon a “baton,” which does not have a blade.)
“They were trying to get away from him. He wasn’t going to let them,” Rhody said. “So I try to put myself between him and them, try to diffuse the situation until police came,” he said.
Rhody says that’s when he got pepper sprayed.
“I’m not going to lie, when he first pointed it at me - I turned my head, like please don’t shoot me on the sidewalk,” Rhody said. “But fortunately he didn’t - it was pepper spray,” he said.
Rhody and his friend, who didn’t want to be identified, say that’s when the man armed with a gun showed up “out of nowhere.”
“This guy was holding that (pepper spray) behind his back,” Rhody’s friend said, pointing at a photo he took. “When the guy with the pistol came up and - it all happened so fast. (The dog walker) was squirting as it was coming up and (the man with the pistol’s) reaction was bam, bam - same time,” the friend said.
The dog walker got shot twice.
“He (the shooter) put his handgun down sat right there,” Rhody said. “He apologized immediately, because he immediately was like, ‘I really thought that was a gun.’”
Rhody said he tried to help the man who was shot, but police say he later died at the hospital.
Everett police say the man who opened fire is cooperating with investigators and has been arrested.
“I’m thankful for the man who did what he had to do but I’m also sad that the guy died. I don’t want nobody to die,” Rhody said.
The law in Washington State says you need to be in fear of your life or someone else’s life to use lethal force. Investigators are interviewing other witnesses, plus looking for video footage of what happened. Everett police say detectives will work with prosecutors to figure out if any charges will be filed in this case.
The victim who died was in his early 30s. His identity has not yet been released.
Cox Media Group