“He didn’t show a lot of emotion.”
The man who shot and killed six young people at a party this morning in Capitol Hill, before killing himself, was in his late twenties and was only an acquaintance to the victims, according to Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who briefed reporters at a Saturday afternoon press conference.
The Seattle Police Department is not releasing the name of the shooter, nor those of the victims. Kerlikowske confirmed that the people at the party had attended the all-ages “Better Off Undead” DJ dance night at the Capitol Hill Arts Center on 12th Avenue. In an unsettling bit of irony, the show was a zombie costume night featuring theater blood and ghoulish death costumes with girls dressed, for example, as “brides of death.” About 275 youngsters, mostly late teens, showed up. CHAC reports that there were 19 staff security on hand for the event—which went until 4am—and report that it was a mellow scene with lots of cuddling.
Based on police interviews with roughly 25 people who were at the party, the shooter had been invited to the house on East Republican, near 22nd. Kerlikowske said that partygoers used alcohol and marijuana but that it remained unclear whether those substances had any role in the crime.
The shooter was described as “quiet” and “humble” by partygoers interviewed by police. He left the party shortly before 7 a.m. and police say there was no evidence of an argument.
The man returned in about 10 minutes. He spraypainted the word “NOW” on the sidewalk and steps of neighboring homes, before approaching the home where the party was taking place. He was carrying a pistol-grip 12-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic handgun.
People were standing on the home’s porch and the man fired at them, killing two. Those who were inside the home tried to close the door, but the shooter forced it open. He killed three people in the living room “execution-style,” according to Kerlikowske.
The shooter then went upstairs to look for other partygoers, some of whom were crawling out of windows. Two people locked themselves in the bathroom and the shooter fired a round through the door but did not hit them.
A police officer happened to be within a block of the home and when he arrived a victim ran toward his squad car. The officer told the victim to lie down and then the shooter came out of the home. The officer drew his gun and said “Drop your-” but before he could finish his sentence, the man shot himself.
“We have absolutely no idea what the motive was,” said Kerlikowske. “It’s not like there was a lot of conversation.”
The shooter fired “dozens” of rounds, according to Kerlikowske, and police found in the man’s truck an assault rifle with banana clips of ammunition.
“He didn’t show a lot of emotion,” said Kerlikowske. “There was no argument or fight that led to this.”
The victims range in age from early teens to early 20s. There are two more victims who remain at Harborview Medical Center. One has what a police spokeswoman described as “life-threatening injuries,” while the other is conscious and has been interviewed by police.