BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — A man was shot by a Bainbridge Island police officer in downtown Winslow at the end of a short police pursuit Wednesday afternoon.
Bainbridge Island Police Department Chief Matthew Hamner said an investigation was underway and that he could not release details prematurely.
Hamner did say a Bainbridge officer fired the shot that injured the man.
No officers or bystanders were injured.
“Right now we have one individual who has been shot and transported. We have one BIPD officer, and no serious injuries to the officers at this point,” Hamner said.
“All other facts and factors will come as we develop them. As developments come in, we will update you, but at this juncture that’s what we have,” he said.
Hamner said there were at least nine witnesses that police needed to interview downtown.
“We have numerous people that have come forward and said they were standing out here and saw it happen,” he said.
Yellow police tape was stretched across Winslow Way in front of Eagle Harbor Congregational Church to block traffic, and Finch Place was also shut down. Sidewalks on both sides of the street were also taped off where police finally stopped the Ford Mustang that fled police earlier. The Ford had bumper damage and had been spun 90 degrees in the westbound lane of Winslow Way.
Clarence Moriwaki, in a Twitter post, said he had heard the end of the confrontation: “I heard repeated warnings to suspect to not to reach for knife, two shots fired. Suspect alive and taken to hospital.”
Other witnesses said the incident began in the parking lot of Ordway Elementary School.
A woman who was waiting to pick her son up from the school said she had pulled into the school’s parking lot and had seen the Mustang parked on the northern edge of the parking lot, near the entrance off Madison Avenue.
That witness, who asked not to be identified, said she thought it was odd that the man had parked in that spot, as the parking lot would soon be full with parents coming to get their kids and that he would be in the way.
Then, she noticed a passenger door open on the Mustang.
A woman was on the ground nearby and medics quickly arrived and began providing aid.
“I saw the EMTs grab her by the arms and she was lifeless.”
“She was totally out,” the witness said. “Somebody thought it was an overdose.”
The driver of the Mustang was very upset, the woman said, and began to pace back and forth, crying at times.
“He was just rubbing his face and grabbing at his hair like he was distraught. I thought, ‘Oh my god, he must know her.’”
Other than being upset, the man appeared normal, she said.
He then walked back to his car and got in. A police officer started to walk over and the man rolled up his car window.
“Everything was calm,” she said. “I had no idea there was this terrible thing about to happen.
“It just happened in slow motion,” she added. “All of a sudden he just freaks out and peels out of the Ordway parking lot.
“I can’t believe it; he just went flying through the parking lot. And the chase was on.”
She later saw the same car on television news reports of the downtown shooting.
“It was really scary,” she said.
The police shooting happened just after an active shooter drill was conducted at Bainbridge Island City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
Some people stopped to watch the police response next to Winslow Green, thinking it was part of the drill.
“Many people here thought it was all a drill,” Hamner said. “They all thought this was a drill, so everyone just kind of stood out here to watch the drill, not realizing it [was real].”
“I had several witnesses come to me saying, ‘What do you mean this isn’t a drill?’”
— Brian Kelly is editor of the Bainbridge Island Review, a Kitsap News Group newspaper. Luciano Marano is a reporter for the Bainbridge Island Review.