Security guard, suspect shot during struggle at Seattle bank

SEATTLE - A bank security guard and a suspect were both critically injured by gunfire Thursday morning after the two men fought over the guard's gun outside a Central District bank, police said.

Dispatchers received 911 calls about gunfire outside a bank at South 23rd Avenue and South Jackson Street just after 11 a.m., followed by reports that two people had been shot, said Jonah Spangenthal-Lee of the Seattle police.

Officers arrived and found a 46-year-old security guard and the 30-year-old suspect, both with gunshot wounds, in a breezeway outside the bank.

As medics transported both men to Harborview, police began to piece together details of the incident, which began following a confrontation between the guard and the suspect outside the bank.

Police believe the suspect and the guard were in a struggle outside the bank when the suspect grabbed the guard's gun.

The suspect fired several rounds, seriously injuring the guard, before turning the gun on himself, firing once. It also appears the suspect sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder during the incident, possibly during his struggle with the guard, Spangenthal-Lee said.

Eyewitnesses reported multiple patrol cars converging at the scene within minutes after the shooting and medics running into the bank branch with a gurney. Two people were then seen being loaded into ambulances.

A Seattle Fire Department official said the guard and suspect are listed in critical condition with gunshot wounds. The suspect's injuries are considered to be life-threatening. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Police say the suspect apparently was not attempting to rob the bank. The struggle broke out after the guard recognized the suspect as someone who had been there before and bothered bank customers in previous incidents.

Those who worked near the bank knew the security guard well and were saddened to hear he was a victim.

"He's really nice," said Oscar Rodriguez, who works at the Subway next door. "Every time I go to the bank to get change, he asks me to bring cookies."

While others describe the victim as always going out of his way to help others.

"He would always open the door for - even for young people," said Kevin Amos.

Bank of America issued a statement saying, "We are working with the FBI and Seattle Police Department to support their investigation and won't be commenting on the incident so as not to interfere with their efforts.

The statement also said that "the safety and security of our customers and employees are always our top priorities."

No one else was injured in the incident.

The security guard is employed by GS4 Secure Solutions, with local offices in Tukwila.