2 Seattle firefighters accused in attack on homeless man

2 Seattle firefighters accused in attack on homeless man »Play Video
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 - Police say an off-duty Seattle firefighter was stabbed on Saturday evening in Pioneer Square after the firefighter and two others attacked a homeless man.

According to police, two off-duty Seattle firefighters and a woman were walking through Pioneer Square after the Sounders game when they came across a homeless man sleeping near the Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial near the intersection of Occidental Avenue and Main Street. The memorial in Pioneer Square is a tribute to the Seattle firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Police say the woman became angry about what she saw, yelled at the man for sleeping on the memorial, and started kicking the homeless man.

Steve Banfield was walking his dog nearby when he saw things escalate.

"While I was on the phone with 911, the second man of the original three got into a fight with another homeless man, taking the homeless man's walking stick from him and beating him with it," Banfield said.

During the attack, bystander Francis Hicks tried to help the victim, but says the firefighters turned on him, punching him twice in the face.

"That was my friend asleep under the thing right there," Hicks said. "The guy kicked him in the face. The lady grabbed her foot and threw it on him."

Alvin Taliaferro is another homeless man who tried to help the victim.

"A big guy was pursuing him. I stood between him and said 'let him alone'. He said to me, 'My brother was a firefighter and he died in service'."

Police said the victim tried to defend himself during the attack and stabbed one of the firefighters.

"It was mass chaos," Taliaferro said. "His girlfriend straight-up over here was fighting with folks, and his other friend was fighting with folks."

On Saturday, the Seattle Police Department reported that officers arrested one 45-year-old off-duty firefighter, and a 37-year-old woman for investigation of assault.

As of Sunday evening, the 37-year-old woman - who police identify as Mia Jarvinen - was the only one to appear in King County Jail logs.

One of the firefighters, who Seattle Fire Department sources identify as Scott Bullene, was not booked Saturday and instead taken to Harborview Medical Center to be treated for a stab wound. Seattle police said he will face assault charges as well.

Bullene was in stable condition at Harborview Medical Center Saturday night.

A firefighter at Station 5, Bullene has been with the department for 15 years. He is now on disability as a result of the stabbing incident.

The Seattle Fire Department said Sunday that the second firefighter has been with the department for 17 years. He works at Station 32 in West Seattle, and has been on disability since January.

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

"I don't think it was just the individual, I think it's the thing that's happening down here," Taliaferro said. "All homeless are put in a category, and people have a tendency to disrespect the homeless."