Friends and co-workers identified the man as Cody Spafford, a sous-chef at Walrus and the Carpenter oyster bar in Ballard.
"Just a charming, loving kinda person," said Jeremy Price, co-owner of the restaurant, who described Spafford as a kind, dedicated worker. "We're all kinda better for having known him."
Seattle police say an armed man wearing women's clothes, lots of makeup and a wig robbed a Wells Fargo bank near East Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East around 9:15 a.m. Thursday and was later seen escaping with a rolling suitcase full of money in a silver sedan.
Ten minutes later, a silver Hyundai was reported flipped over a mile away near 39th Avenue East and East John Street, police said.
"We have a number of witnesses in this neighborhood who heard the crash, saw a male leaving that crash described very similar to the bank robbery suspect," Mark Jamieson with Seattle police said Thursday. Those witnesses also described the man appeared to be shedding his disguise as he ran.
Police shut down streets in the area while searching for the suspect, but were initially unsuccessful.
But officers remained in the area and around 11:45 a.m., an officer assigned to guard the suspect's discarded clothing spotted someone matching the robber's description as a 911 call came in saying there was a man in their backyard in the 100 block of 39th Ave. East, officials said.
Officers ran after the suspect, who was spotted moments later running onto the roof of a detached garage. The suspect ran from view but as a robbery detective scaled a nearby wall to scan the area for the suspect, he found the suspect standing nearby, holding a large fixed-blade knife, police said.
As the detective worked to get the man to drop the knife, other officers with Tasers were called to the scene. But before those officers could get there, police say the suspect ran toward the detective with the knife. The man got to within 15 feet of the detective when the detective fired multiple shots from a rifle, striking the suspect.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Officers processing the scene of the crashed car recovered a handgun, determined to be a realistic-looking airsoft gun, police said.
Investigators say the 26-year-old suspect has a criminal history including burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft, drug possession, criminal mischief, obstruction and possession of stolen property.
"It's shock, it's surprise, it's really difficult for us to reconcile the Cody that we know and worked with and spent time with over the past four years with the Cody that was involved with whatever happened yesterday," Price said. "If Cody had given any of us any indication that he was in trouble or needed help there would've been a line around the block. We really loved him. He was a really great person."
The detective who fired the shot is a 15-year veteran of the department and has been placed on administrative leave, as is standard protocol in officer-involved shootings.