Self-described 'space cowboy,' 'vampire' sparks bomb scare

Scroll down for more photos of the incident and the device.

SEATTLE - A man claiming to be a "vampire" and a "space cowboy" was arrested in downtown Seattle after he approached the King County Courthouse with a suspicious pipe device duct-taped to his arm, officials said.

Detectives later determined that the device was fashioned to look like a pipe bomb but it was not an actual explosive.

Streets were closed at mid-morning and the courthouse was locked down as police investigated the bizarre Friday morning incident. All streets and the courthouse had reopened by 10:02 a.m., police said.

After his arrest, the man was screened for possible hazards. The suspicious device, with wires attached, was removed from the man and contained, police said. It was later found to be a fake.

The man was described as being dressed in all black, with black electrical tape or duct tape wrapped around his body, including part of his head, arms, body, and legs.

Police initially responded to the scene, near Second Avenue and Yesler Street, as the 33-year-old man was spotted walking up Yesler toward the courthouse at about 8:15 a.m.

Earlier he had left the Union Gospel Mission on Second Avenue after he got into a confrontation with staff there.

Mike Johnson at the mission said the man was acting strangely, and was asked to leave after he said he wanted to eat people.

"According to the complainant, the suspect walked in wanting to be served breakfast," police said in a statement. "He informed the staff that he was a vampire and wanted to eat people. The staff declined to serve him and asked him to leave."

Another staff member said the man also claimed he was a "space cowboy," then took off his coat and displayed the pipe device on his arm.

"He was refused access to the day room, at which point he came to the front counter and stuck his left forearm up on the counter, demonstrating - some kind of - what appeared to be a pipe bomb strapped to his left arm, and demanded that someone remove it from his arm," Johnson said.

"The guys at the front counter didn't want to touch it and refused. Then a couple other folks, as part of our normal protocol, came around and said, 'You need to leave.'"

Staff members said that's what appeared to set the man off.

From there the man left the mission and headed in the direction of the courthouse, shouting threats, and police were called in.

The nearby King County courthouse was immediately locked down as a precaution. Several streets and a store also were closed in the area as a SWAT team and multiple police units were called in.

Police were able to make contact with the man, and soon after he began complying with police instructions.

KOMO News video shot at the scene showed the man removing his coat and some of the duct tape as officers trained their weapons on him.

The man then cut off the device with a pair of scissors at the direction of officers at the scene as a remote-controlled bomb robot approached him.

The man then placed his arms behind his neck and was placed under arrest.

Police said they planned to book him into the King County jail for making "threats to bomb."

A photo of the device released by Seattle police.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off