'My mom's gone crazy': Four shot dead in West Seattle

'My mom's gone crazy': Four shot dead in West Seattle »Play Video
Neighbors look on at the scene of a shooting that left four people dead and another wounded Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE -- A woman shot four people, killing three of them before turning the gun on herself in an incident at a home in West Seattle's Highland Park neighborhood that unfolded even as police officers and medics raced to the scene on Thursday.

The suspected shooter, identified by relatives as Saroeun Phan, a woman in her 50s or 60s, was among those dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene, police said. (View photos from the scene >>>)

The sole survivor, the 42-year-old daughter of the suspected shooter, told police," My mom's gone crazy," according to Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel. Killed were the survivor's husband and two daughters, who were in their late teens.

The drama unfolded as police and medics rushed to the scene, a home in the 9400 block of 14th Ave. SW, at about 1:30 p.m. after receiving reports of gunshots fired in the normally quiet neighborhood.

Minutes after officers arrived, more shots reportedly were fired, as officers were deployed in all directions to cordon off the scene.

SWAT units who were nearby on another call were dispatched to the scene, and police reported two shots were fired from inside the house about 1:45 p.m.

A man arrived, broke through police tape, and ran inside the house. After more shots were heard from inside the home, the man ran back out and said his wife had shot herself.

"He ran from the house and told us there were several people shot inside and she had apparently shot herself," Pugel said.

When it was all over, one person was found shot outside the home and four others were found shot inside. One of those found shot inside the home was believed to be the woman who pulled the trigger.

The surviving victim, a woman with gunshot wounds to the shoulder and the chest, was rushed to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Medics said at least one round remained lodged in the woman's chest, but Seattle police spokesperson Sean Whitcomb said she was expected to survive. By 10 p.m Thursday, she'd been upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition.

Bobby Miller, who lives nearby, says police showed up almost immediately after the shots were fired.

"I just heard gun shots. I come out and cops were all over," he said. "Just 'bam, bam,' and that was it, then screaming over here."

Police said there was a 9mm and another pistol, a .25-caliber automatic, inside the house.

The house is believed to be a rental property. A woman who said her brother lived at the home said 11 people lived there.

A motive for the shooting has not been established. Liz Valencia, a relative of the suspected gunman, said she has no idea what could've set the woman off.

"It's like I want to drop to the ground and not wake up again," she said in the wake of the tragedy.

According to a relative, the suspected gunman and her family members are from Cambodia. Police have called in an interpreter to help question family members.

The surviving victim works at Magic Lanes & Casino in White Center, according to several employees there. The victim's boss said in recent weeks, the woman had mentioned her mother's mental issues, but no one saw foresaw this tragedy.

Police initially said the suspected gunman was a 61-year-old woman, but later described her as a woman in her 50s.

Seattle Police Department's homicide detectives, SWAT unit, crime scene investigators have responded, as have King County Sheriff's Office.

Thursday's incident was the deadliest shooting the city has seen since March 2006 when Kyle Huff opened fire at a party at a home in Capitol Hill and killed six people before turning the gun on himself. Two others were also shot, but survived in what has become known as the Capitol Hill massacre.