By Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press
SEATTLE — A man wearing what appeared to be a pipe bomb was kicked out of a Seattle homeless shelter Friday morning after claiming to be a vampire, then wandered around before surrendering to police, authorities and witnesses said.
The contraption did not turn out to be a real explosive device, Seattle Police said Friday afternoon, although it was treated like a bomb at the time because as police spokesman Mark Jamieson said, it looked “real enough.”
A photograph of the device posted on the police Web site shows a tape-wrapped metal pipe with metal end caps and bits of plastic debris attached. Jamieson said the device appeared to have a wire attached.
The man, whose name was not released, complied with officers who rushed to the scene and voluntarily removed the suspicious device, Jamieson said.
The 33-year-old man, dressed in black, was taken into custody for questioning. Police said they planned to book him into the King County jail for making “threats to bomb.”
Employees at a nearby men’s shelter alerted police after the man walked into the shelter, said he was a vampire and wanted to eat people, a police report said.
After the staff refused to serve him and asked him to leave, the man said he was a space cowboy and showed the staff what appeared to be a pipe bomb taped to his wrist. He then threatened to blow up the building, according to police.
Jamieson said police responded to numerous calls shortly after 8 a.m. and closed off the area around Third and James near the King County Courthouse.
Police cautiously approached the man and he cooperated. They gave him a pair of surgical scissors and had him remove the device.
“Once we started talking with him, he was compliant,” Jamieson said.
A nearby apartment resident, Justin Anderson, said he saw the man walking down the street, pacing in circles, and playing with tape that held a pipe to his arm.
Anderson, 29, said the man obeyed police commands shortly before 9 a.m. and put his hands behind his head and surrendered.
“I was enjoying a leisurely morning,” the student said. “Then something more interesting happened.”
The incident closed a major downtown intersection for about two hours during rush hour.