Naked gunman shot dead by officers on Bainbridge Island

The suspect came on the deck of the boat naked, retrieved a rifle and pointed it at police. He was then shot. (Photo: KOMO News)

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- An hours-long standoff in Eagle Harbor ended early Sunday morning when police shot and killed an armed, naked man who pointed a rifle at them, investigators said.

Investigators don’t yet know what prompted the man to start shooting in the first place, they said.

No one else was injured, police said.

The gunman began firing shots from a boat anchored in the waters of Eagle Harbor around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. When officers arrived, he began aiming his shots toward them, said Bainbridge Island Police spokesperson Kellie Stickney.

It was a sleepless night for a lot of people in Eagle Harbor who watched the tense standoff unfold not far from Fred Adams’s boat.

"When I heard the first two shots, I was on my boat," Adams said. "I heard what I thought was fireworks going off in the marina here. And so I came out on the dock to see if it was coming from our marina. Someone called me and said ‘Hey, the police are coming down here. You got an incident going on.’ And I said, ‘What incident?’

Adams was one of several people who called 9-1-1 after hearing the man fire shots from an old boat that was anchored between two buoys in the middle of the harbor. The gunfire prompted evacuations and many people to take cover, police said.

One of the bullets hit a wall above a homeowner's bedroom window, she told KOMO News.

"It didn’t look like he was aiming at anything particular," said witness Susanne Park. "He was just kinda shooting and then he’d yell some things. We couldn’t quite make out anything, but he seemed angry."

As King County's Guardian One police helicopter hovered overhead, police used measures such as flash bangs and some sort of smoking devices to get the gunman to surrender, according to witnesses at the scene.

The gunman then appeared on the boat's deck in the nude about 12:30 a.m., and climbed into a dinghy behind the boat, according to a KOMO photographer at the scene. The gunman climbed back into the cabin of the main boat, emerged with a rifle and aimed it at the officers, the photographer said. Police then opened fire, striking the man.

"All of a sudden he turned got back on the boat. I watched him go down into the boat, comes out and he's got his gun, fired one shot, then the policeman responded," said witness Christina Marie Kimball. "It’s never like this. It’s calm. It’s like shocking. I think I’m shock. I’m acting like it’s normal, but it’s not. It’s scary."

"Well, it’s sad. I mean, I think it’s really sad that this has to happen. I wouldn’t expect it on Bainbridge Island where it’s such a small community," Adams said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Bainbridge Island police said.

Bainbridge Island and Bremerton police, the FBI and the Coast Guard were among the agencies involved.

Witness Lisa Skelton told KOMO News the boat had been moored out in the harbor for about two weeks. She said they saw the man come outside his boat, fire his gun, the go down into the cabin to reload, and start firing again.

She said she could hear the man saying something about the cops coming and 'I own them, let them come...' "

Washington State Ferries spokesperson Brian Mannion told KOMO News the gunfire erupted near one of their repair yards but everyone was accounted for.

All ferry service was suspended along the Bainbridge Island/Seattle ferry run for about 90 minutes as police investigated the nearby gunfire. Ferry service resumed just after 11 p.m.

KOMO News' Kristen Drew was having dinner with friends in a sailboat near Eagle Harbor when she noticed police moving around docks with guns drawn.

"I looked over at a dock nearby and saw an officer with a gun drawn and people running toward shore," Drew said. "I overheard an officer say, 'those are not fireworks' as the officer continued on to another boat.

"Periodically throughout dinner, we could hear what sounded like fireworks, but now given the situation, obviously we now know they weren’t. My friends and I got into the sailboat, turned off the lights and sheltered in place."

Police towed the gunman's boat out of the marina Sunday morning just after 9: 30 a.m.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off