SPD: Police car set on fire while officer inside, 1 in custody

SEATTLE — One person is in custody after allegedly setting a police car on fire while an officer was inside, according to the Seattle Police Department.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon in the South Lake Union neighborhood near Dexter Avenue and John Street.

According to a blotter post, an officer was in their patrol car in an alley around 1:30 p.m. looking for a man reportedly brandishing a flaming piece of wood.

The officer found the man, who threw the flaming piece of wood into the car while the officer was inside, the post said.

“He lunged in, he ran and the driver’s seat was already in flames. I thought the officer was still in the car, the driver’s seat was on fire and then within minutes the car was engulfed in flames,” one witness said.

The man, “he comes walking down the ally with a torch, screaming I’m gonna kill all you -- (and then uses the) n word,” another witness said.

Witnesses said they heard the officers in the car identify himself.

“And the next thing you know he was running at the car with the torch,” another witness said.

That is when people who stay at Denny Park said they knew something was wrong.

“And when that went off, everything went off --all the bullets, boom, boom, boom, boom and I’m like ‘holy what is that?’”

“We heard bap, bap, bap, ‘oh crap, these are gunshots!’ Then we see a guy running down the street," one woman said.

More officers responded and chased the man into a parking garage where he was taken into custody.

The post also said that one officer is believed to have shot a firearm during the incident. No one was hit.

As the suspect was being arrested, the car caught on fire from the piece of wood.

“All of a sudden the car blows, catches on fire. We’re like ‘oh snap.' And then flames just started getting bigger and bigger," a witness said.

One officer was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening burns.

“It was an incredibly dangerous situation for our officer. He did suffer some minor injuries, some minor burn wounds,” said Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette.

Police are continuing to investigate.

Watch footage of Chopper 7 over the scene in the video embedded below:

Below is viewer video of the SPD patrol vehicle in flames.