Prosecutor: No felony charges for attack on homeless men

Prosecutor: No felony charges for attack on homeless men
Photos taken by witness Steven Banfield on March 15, 2014 show the scene of an attack in Pioneer Square involving 2 off-duty firefighters and homeless victims. (Photo used with permission by Steven Banfield.)
SEATTLE -- No felony charges will be filed in an incident where two off-duty Seattle firefighters and a woman are accused of attacking two homeless men in separate attacks in Pioneer Square last month, King County prosecutors said Tuesday.

According to police reports, off-duty firefighter Robert Howell and Mia Jarvinen were walking through Pioneer Square after a Seattle Sounders game on March 15 when they came across a homeless man sleeping on the Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial near the intersection of Occidental Avenue and Main Street.

Upset that the homeless man was sleeping near the tribute to fallen firefighters, Jarvinen kicked the man and his food, sparking a fight between the Howell, the first homeless victim, and other homeless men who tried to help the victim, police said.

Nearby - in a separate incident - 15-year fire veteran Scott Bullene was seen fighting with another homeless victim. Witnesses say Bullene beat the man with the vicitm's walking stick, and ultimately was stabbed by the victim. Bullene was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening wounds.

Police said the woman and off-duty firefighters were under the influence of alcohol during the incident.

Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean later apologized for the incident and said both Howell and Buellen would be placed on administrative leave while the police and fire department investigate the allegations.

King County prosecutor spokesman Dan Donohoe said his office was reviewing the case as one of the suspects had potentially committed felony assault, but they concluded there was not enough evidence. Instead, the case will be referred to the Seattle City Attorney's office for review of misdemeanor charges.