A bullet hole in the windshield of a Washington State Patrol car that was involved in a lengthy high-speed chase Friday night and Saturday morning from Everett to Redmond. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

A bullet hole in the windshield of a Washington State Patrol car that was involved in a lengthy high-speed chase Friday night and Saturday morning from Everett to Redmond. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

Shots fired during freeway chase from Everett to Redmond

A Redmond man was arrested around 4 a.m. Saturday after fleeing state troopers by car and on foot.

EVERETT — An hours-long pursuit and standoff with multiple shots fired ended with a Redmond man in custody Saturday morning.

It began just after 11 p.m. Friday at the interchange of southbound I-5 and U.S. 2 in Everett. It ended in Redmond around 4:15 a.m.

Initially, the Washington State Patrol sought to stop a 1993 Ford Explorer because is had an obstructed license plate, trooper Heather Axtman said.

The vehicle’s driver refused to stop, instead taking off south on I-5. The State Patrol later identified the driver as a 45-year-old man, though his name was not released. He was the only person in the car.

At milepost 185 in south Everett, troopers set up spike strips. The spikes only caught one of the Explorer’s front tires, and the car continued at speeds up to 97 mph, Axtman said.

“This is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, so we’re able to power through,” Axtman said.

Then the man exited for southbound I-405. State Patrol units again set up spike strips, catching the vehicle’s other front tire.

But the suspect continued on the car’s wheel rims, with sparks spraying.

At milepost 19 near Kirkland on I-405, troopers tried a “PIT maneuver” in which a trooper’s vehicle hits a suspect’s car in a way that spins the vehicle around and to a stop.

That’s when the man began shooting.

He shot at a trooper three times, Axtman said, with one bullet going through the windshield of the trooper’s car. The trooper wasn’t hit but had glass shards all over his arm.

Troopers then backed off, relying on the patrol’s airplane to track the fleeing vehicle.

“We’re still pursuing, still have visual on him, but now he doesn’t get the opportunity to literally hit us with all the gunfire,” Axtman said.

The man followed Highway 520, continuing to shoot, until it ends in Redmond at Avondale Road NE.

The suspect tried to turn onto 116th street into a residential area but couldn’t make the turn. He hit the sidewalk and came to a stop, then fled on foot while continuing to shoot at troopers. That was around 11:40 p.m.

“There’s a big huge apartment complex and a thick wooded area that he gets to hunker down in,” Axtman said.

With the suspect concealed by darkness, troopers relied on heat-sensing tracking from the aircraft. By this point, a King County helicopter had relieved the patrol’s airplane.

The State Patrol set up a perimeter and locked down the surrounding residential area, telling people to stay in their homes.

Three SWAT teams responded to the standoff, Axtman said. She estimated around 100 officers were there.

“At no point did any officer fire a shot,” she said. “We knew where he was at. We didn’t back off, we just continued watching him without having to go engage, for the safety of officers, safety of the public and really the safety of the suspect.”

Around 4 a.m., one of the teams deployed a K-9, which successfully apprehended the suspect.

“He did not go compliantly,” Axtman said. “But he didn’t sustain any massive injury aside from K-9 bites.”

By 4:15 a.m., the man was in custody.

He’s being held for investigation of felony eluding and first-degree assault for shooting at an officer. The man will be held at the King County jail, Axtman said.

“Why he decided to do this, why he decided to shoot at us so many times, why he fled, all of that is what we’re trying to get to the bottom of,” she said. “And all of that hopefully will be revealed in the course of our investigation.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.


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