SEATTLE — A man who’s been arrested and charged with multiple felonies and then consistently released had only been out of jail for a week before he caused a standoff at a Target store at Westwood Village in West Seattle.
The standoff with Seattle police on Friday night lasted nearly seven hours before the man was arrested and taken to Harborview Medical Center.
“We’re not doing him any favors by letting him out and (and letting him do) the same stuff that he’s doing,” said Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Executive Director Jim Fuda.
Fuda was also a hostage negotiator for 25 years and saw the SWAT standoff at Target.
“(He’s a) repeat offender that has slipped through the cracks and hasn’t been held accountable,” said Fuda.
A police report shows the man called 911 and talked about his past crimes and his current need for mental health. He also said he would be taking hostages because he was desperate for help.
The report states he tried taking hostages while armed with a knife but was unsuccessful.
“Whether you charge him with a crime, whether you don’t — but get the person, so it doesn’t happen again. But to repeatedly let these people out is a failure of our system,” said Fuda.
KIRO 7 has confirmed the man’s identity but is not naming the suspect because he has yet to be charged in the incident. Records show the man has been charged with multiple felonies since 2021. About a week before the standoff, he was arrested for investigation of felony assault.
A spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said the office has consistently filed charges against the man, but judges have consistently released him.
“We’ve argued consistently every time that he’s a danger to the community. And I think what we saw on Friday shows that. We’ve argued two things: that he’s a danger to the community and needs to be held on bail because of that, and because this is somebody who needs help,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Director of Communications, Casey McNerthney.
While the case does not fall under Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison’s jurisdiction, she says Seattle is no stranger to repeat offenders.
“This incident tells us again how important it is to have a coordinated, collaborative approach to public safety, and that means across jurisdictions and agencies. Because of that need, I am establishing a unit of the City Attorney’s Office focused on intervening with people engaged in frequent, repeated, criminal activity to better protect the public,” said Davison.
KIRO 7 asked Davison for details about the new unit, but so far has not heard back.
Meanwhile, the man is still in the King County Jail. Prosecutors said they will consider charges later this week.
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