SEATTLE – A woman was dead and five others were hospitalized, three in critical condition, Friday afternoon after a shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building in downtown Seattle by a man who declared he was “angry with Israel.”

Seattle police later arrested the alleged gunman, who reportedly had walked into the building and started shooting. One victim died at the scene, according to police.

All five of the wounded are women, said Pamela Steele, a spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The women, ranging in age from 20 and through their 40s, were brought in between 4:30 and 5 p.m. PDT. Three victims were in the operating room and were in critical condition, Steele said. All three were shot in the abdomen.

Two women are in satisfactory condition. A 37-year-old woman, five months pregnant was shot in the forearm. The other woman was shot in the knee, Steele said.

The shootings began shortly after 4 p.m., according to Seattle police.

Several witnesses said they saw a man walk up to the entrance of the building and shoot a woman in the leg.

The man then walked into the building and went to the roof.

Witnesses said they heard one shot while the man was on the roof. The man then went back inside, and witnesses said they heard several more shots.

An employee in the building said she was at her desk when she heard what she at first thought were balloons popping.

“It went ‘Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!’ and then we heard a woman scream,” said the employee, who asked that her name not be used.

“One of the receptionists told me that he shot her and then demanded that she call 911,” the employee said. “He told the police that it was a hostage situation and he wanted us to get our weapons out of Israel.”

“I saw one friend, she had been shot twice in the stomach and was bleeding,” the witness said.

Most of the employees were able to leave through a back door.

A few minutes later, the man surrendered to officers.

“He was confronted by officers and peacefully gave up,” said SPD Assistant Chief Nick Metz.

According to Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation, the man had told staff members, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” then began shooting.

Wasser-Simpson said she had heard that account from staff members who witnessed the shootings.

“A number of staff people heard some popping sounds, then they heard a scream,” Wasser-Simpson said. “They escaped out the back door.”

Shortly after that, one staff member who had been shot twice escaped through the back door as well, Wasser-Simpson said.

David Gomez, an assistant special agent-in-charge for the FBI, said there is nothing to indicate the gunman is part of a larger organization.

“We believe he is a lone individual with antagonism toward this organization,” he said.

U.S. Attorney John McKay said his office would consider prosecuting the shooting as a federal hate crime if, indeed, the suspect “was making hate-filled speech” during the shooting spree.

“That likely won’t happen until the local investigation is completed,” McKay said..

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, founded in 1926, is an umbrella organization for the local Jewish community. It raises money for Jewish social-welfare organizations, runs youth and adult Jewish educational programs, and engages in efforts in support of Israel. It was a sponsor of a Solidarity with Israel rally Sunday.

The federation’s mission is to ensure Jewish survival and enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide.


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