Story Published: May 31, 2009 at 9:18 AM PDT. Story Updated: May 31, 2009 at 6:05 PM PDT.
BURIEN, Wash. - Three men suspected of breaking into apartments and firing a gun in a Burien-area complex early Sunday were arrested after a five-hour standoff with sheriff's deputies.
A witness later said one of the men aimed a gun at his 5-year-old son and pulled the trigger several times during the hair-raising disturbance, but there was no round in the chamber so the gun did not fire.
Sheriff's deputies swarmed around the Veranda Green complex in the 11300 block of 26th Avenue South at about 7 a.m. after residents there called 911.
According to preliminary reports, the three armed men allegedly were forcing their way into one or more apartments around daybreak and robbing residents.
A resident of the complex, Ramon Frazier, told KOMO News that the three then began pounding on his door and accused him of calling 911 and snitching on them.
When Frazier refused to let them in his apartment, he said they began firing their guns into the air and demanded to be let in. They then broke down the door of his apartment with brute force.
After they broke in, Frazier said, one of the men pointed a gun at the resident's 5-year-old child and pulled the trigger, but the gun merely clicked.
Frazier says he told the men "don't shoot, please don't shoot," but the man kept pulling the trigger again and again. But it still did not fire - apparently because the man had expended all his bullets while shooting in the air outside the door.
"I thought I was going to die, to tell you the truth," Frazier said. "If I would have opened the door before they fired that gun, I would have gotten that shot."
One of the men then pistol-whipped Frazier before running from the unit.
As deputies began arriving at the complex, the three men fled to the apartment of a woman they know who lives there and told her they wanted to hide out in her unit. But the woman had several children with her and did not want the three men there, so she called 911.
The suspects still refused to leave, so the woman left the unit and took the children with her, according to preliminary reports.
As deputies surrounded the apartment complex outside, the three men holed up inside the unit and refused to come out, officials said.
Officers first tried talking with them by phone. When that didn't work, they brought in a loudspeaker system and ordered the men out of the apartment.
When the three still refused to come out, deputies broke out windows and fired one or more tear gas canisters inside the unit.
Two of the three men then left the unit soon afterward.
"They must have had a conversation among themselves," said Capt. Carl Cole. "All we know is that they came out."
One of the two men was then heard yelling to people in the crowd that he just got "caught up in some BS."
Less than an hour later, deputies shattered windows with rifles drawn - as they moved in for the final suspect. He finally came out at around noon - about five hours after the standoff began, officials said.
Residents in surrounding apartment units were evacuated during the standoff as a precaution.
Tags: three, arrested, break-ins, police, standoff, gun, pulled, on 5-year-old
Location: Burien, Washington, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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