SPD: Knife-wielding bank robbery suspect fatally shot by officers

SPD: Knife-wielding bank robbery suspect fatally shot by officers »Play Video
Police investigate at the scene where the suspect flipped his car. (SPD photo)
SEATTLE -- A bank robbery suspect was fatally shot by Seattle police officers Thursday morning after confronting them with a knife near Seattle's Madrona neighborhood, officials said.

"I heard seven gunshots in a row – it was pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop," said mailman Rod Lei-Sam. "And then I ran back in (to my truck). I didn’t know what was going on."

According to police, an armed man wearing women's clothes, lots of makeup and a wig robbed a Wells Fargo bank near East Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East around 9:15 a.m. and was later seen escaping, possibly with a rolling suitcase, in a silver sedan.

Ten minutes later, a silver Hyundai was reported flipped over a mile away near 39th Avenue East and East John Street, police said.

"We have a number of witnesses in this neighborhood who heard the crash, saw a male leaving that crash described very similar to the bank robbery suspect," said Mark Jamieson with Seattle police. Those witnesses also described the man appeared to be shedding his disguise as he ran.

"We saw this blonde haired guy dragging a suitcase with wheels on it, like you’d have at an airport," said witness Cody Morrison. "He started taking his clothes off and then he cut down to Madison Park and that’s when we didn’t see him."

Police shut down streets in the area while searching for the suspect, but were initially unsuccessful.

But officers remained in the area and around 11:45 a.m., officers spotted someone matching the robber's description as a 911 call came in saying there was a man in their backyard in the 100 block of 39th Ave. East, officials said.

Jamieson said a robbery detective was first to reach the man and the suspect had a knife. "(The suspect) presented a threat to the first detective that encountered him. The detective was forced to fire his weapon, striking the suspect," Jamieson said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

"I'm glad they got the guy," Morrison said. "A little bit shaky. Didn’t need coffee this morning, that’s for sure."

Police are still investigating the case.