By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — Snohomish County Sheriff’s investigators believe a gunman acted alone when he opened fire on neighbors and law enforcement officers who responded to the rural area northeast of Arlington on Sunday, the agency reported.
Initial evidence also suggested the 60-year-old suspect, who was from the Arlington area, was killed in a gunfight with the SWAT officers, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Monday.
“They were engaged in a shootout with him,” Ireton said. “We believe he was shot by a member of the tactical team.”
Authorities Monday declined to release further details about the man’s identity.
The shooting had begun near a blue, one-story house in the 17000 block of Jim Creek Road that later became the focus of the crime-scene investigation.
The atmosphere in the neighborhood about eight miles from downtown Arlington was chaotic and dangerous Sunday, and remained that way for hours.
First responders rushed to the area around 1:30 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a man who was shot in his driveway. After emergency personnel came under fire, the SWAT team was called in.
The man, who is in his 20s, was treated for a gunshot wound to his leg and later released from Cascade Valley Hospital.
Several departments with K-9 units and armored vehicles arrived on the scene Sunday. Officers from the Stanwood, Everett and Bellingham police departments and deputies from the King and Whatcom county sheriff’s offices were among those who responded.
An armored vehicle brought in to use in the search for the man was hit by several rounds of gunfire.
Around 8 p.m., detectives determined that a suspect was dead and recovered a weapon nearby, the Snohomish sheriff’s office said. A search continued until about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, when deputies determined that the area was safe.
The suspect’s death was being investigated by the Snohomish County Multiple-Agency Response Team, a task force of homicide detectives from departments around the county who probe cases involving police and deadly force. The large number of shots fired could make that investigation difficult, Ireton said.
Detectives continued to process the scene until late Monday afternoon. They executed a search warrant on the property where the suspect was found, Ireton said.
Tracking teams scoured the area for any other potential suspects, she said. They found none. Shots coming from different types of firearms led to initial speculation that more than one person was shooting.
On Monday afternoon, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office removed the suspect’s body from the scene.
A few hours later, neighbor Adrienne Fulcher, 26, stopped by the home. The standoff there a day earlier had kept her and her children trapped inside their home for hours.
Fulcher said her fiance had noticed something strange at the house a few days earlier when he saw a man standing outside, holding a pistol and a carton of cigarettes. It seemed odd, she said, but nobody reported it.
“You never really think much of it up here because everybody shoots,” Fulcher said.
She said she never met the man, but had noticed him after he’d moved into the house earlier this year. County property records showed the house was sold in January.
During the shootout, gunfire hit at least two vehicles belonging to neighbors, Ireton said.
Residents who believe their vehicles were struck by bullets or who may have other information on the shooting are asked to call the sheriff’s anonymous tip line at 425-388-3845.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, email@example.com.