COVINGTON, Wash. KOMO NEWS - An armed man who was threatening to explode a bomb in a Covington neighborhood was shot dead by a SWAT team officer after the man pointed a high-powered rifle at a police helicopter, officials said.
King County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart said the man was shot during a standoff in which he claimed to have a 250-pound fertilizer bomb.
After the man was shot, deputies were able to move in, and it was determined that he did not actually have a bomb. The man's identity has not been released.
Officers initially responded to the man's home, not far from Kentwood High School near 164th Avenue SE in Covington, at about 10:40 a.m.
A woman who previously lived at the home came there to retrieve some of her personal belongings, but her estranged husband would not let her in. The woman then called police for assistance.
When deputies arrived, they tried talking with the man but he became argumentative and threatened to blow up the neighborhood, Urquhart said.
"He eventually said that he had a bomb in the house - a 250-pound fertilizer bomb - and so we backed out right then," he said. As officers exited the scene, they brought the woman with them, and the man was left alone in the house.
Officers then began evacuating the neighborhood and brought in a SWAT team and hostage negotiators to try to talk with the husband, Urquhart said. King County Sheriff's Department also brought in its Guardian 1 helicopter to overfly the scene.
After the SWAT team was in position, hostage negotiators tried to keep up a dialogue with the man, who talked to them off and on.
Then the man came out onto the back deck of the house carrying a high-powered rifle with a scope and pointed it toward the police helicopter, Urquhart said.
"At that point, one of our SWAT team sharpshooters shot him," Urquhart said.
The man went down, but officers delayed checking on him until they could explore the house with a robot to determine if there actually was a bomb on the premises.
When the robot found no evidence of an explosive device, deputies went in and confirmed that the man was dead on the back deck.
A further search turned up a sidearm, in addition to the rifle, and several rounds of ammunition. Deputies also found several bags of fertilizer, but nothing rigged up to be an explosive.
A more thorough search will take place once officers have a warrant.
Urquhart said the woman who came to retrieve her belongings is "very distraught" over the incident.
"She wanted to get in to get some personal belongings, which she certainly had a right to do. She called us to keep the peace, and it went downhill from there," Urquhart said.
Several streets were blocked during the standoff, including a mile-long stretch of 164th Avenue SE, and several homes were evacuated, officials said.
Urquhart said the evacuations were carried out because officers wanted to be "very, very careful, due to the risk of not only blowing up the man's house but the neighbors' houses as well."
Mike Pitcher, a neighbor of the man, was one of those who was evacuated from his home.
"They said if ... we were in the zone, if it were to detonate, we were in that area of fallout," he said.
A command post was set up in the parking lot of Kentwood High School.
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