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Wednesday, July 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pistol, rifle and machete: Road-rage incident ends in bizarre arms race, arrest in Kirkland

By Sara Jean Green Seattle Times

A 47-year-old man was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, reporting a bizarre road-rage incident in Kirkland on Thursday afternoon, when he started screaming and said he was running into the woods to hide as he came under rifle fire, according to Kirkland police.

On Friday, a King County judge found probable cause to hold a 19-year-old Kirkland man on investigation of drive-by shooting, first-degree assault and second-degree assault in connection with the incident, according to King County prosecutors. He is being held in jail in lieu of $350,000 bail.

The Seattle Times is not naming the man because he has not yet been charged. Prosecutors are expected to make a charging decision in the case on Tuesday.

Just after 12:30 p.m. Thursday, several Kirkland police officers were sent to the area of Holmes Point Drive Northeast and Northeast 116th Street, responding to a “frenzied male 911 caller” who reported that somebody was chasing him with a machete, says the probable-cause statement outlining the police case.

The victim, who was driving a Chevrolet pickup to a job site, said he’d been cut off by the driver of a Toyota Tacoma and eventually pulled behind the suspect’s vehicle at a red light, the statement says.

“He observed the male driver extend a machete out of the driver’s side window and slap the blade against sheet metal on the driver’s door in a threatening manner,” according to the statement.

Once the light turned green, the victim headed toward his job site, trailing behind the suspect’s vehicle, the statement says. Suddenly, the driver of the Tacoma stopped, got out of his vehicle and approached the victim with the machete. The victim, who by then was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, fired a “warning shot” into the ground to scare the younger man away, the statement says.

The suspect returned to his vehicle and turned up a side street while the victim remained on the phone with the police dispatcher, waiting for officers to arrive.

Moments later, the 19-year-old returned to the scene and began firing a rifle at the victim’s pickup, shattering the windshield, the statement says. The victim fired back through his windshield at least three times with a .380-caliber pistol, then put his pickup in reverse and backed into the driveway of a house on Champagne Point Drive Northeast, says the statement.

By then, he “could be heard screaming into the phone that the other male had returned and was shooting at him and he was running away. (The victim) was disoriented, frantic, and told dispatchers that he was running into the woods to hide,” the statement says.

Officers arrived and found the victim’s unoccupied pickup, then spotted the victim walking in the area. Other officers searching the area came across a house with the back door wide open, noted the smell of marijuana coming from the residence, and saw several rifles in a bedroom, says the statement. No one was at the house and officers left, securing the back door.

As officers were investigating, the 19-year-old returned to the shooting scene with his mother and was positively identified by the victim, says the probable-cause statement. Police say the suspect commented, “It was a mistake, just a big mistake,” and admitted he hid his truck at a friend’s house nearby, according to the statement.

After talking to witnesses and the suspect’s mother, officers realized the suspect lived at the house where the rifles had been seen, the statement says.

The suspect gave consent for police to search his bedroom. Once there, he pointed to an AK-47 rifle on his bedroom floor “and without being asked, stated that it was the rifle he used in the shooting,” says the statement. The rifles, dozens of firearm accessories and ammunition were taken as evidence, the statement says.

The initial police investigation indicates the bullets fired by the victim were fired in self-defense, says the statement.

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