The car theft suspect who barricaded himself inside a home just behind the Ranch 99 Market on Highway 99 was taken into custody without incident after a police manhunt that lasted several hours Thursday.
Edmonds Police Department spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley said the suspect apparently attempted to start a small fire before coming out of the house at 2:25 p.m., and smoke was coming from the residence when he was taken into police custody. He was booked into Snohomish County Jail but his identity has not yet been released, Hawley said.
Snohomish County Fire District 1 entered the house after the suspect left and was able to put the fire out, Hawley said.
The family that lived in the house where the suspect holed up — located in the 7200 block of 224th Street Southwest — will be displaced for an undetermined period of time, Hawley said. The house is likely to have incurred damage primarily from chemicals emitted by the stun grenades, known as flashbangs, that police used in an attempt to get the suspect to surrender.
It’s unclear at this time whether the suspect was armed. Early reports stated the man had a handgun, but Hawley said that has not been confirmed. One of the home’s residents, 25-year-old Girum Yoseph, said he didn’t see the suspect carrying a weapon.
Yoseph said that he and his younger siblings — including a 7-year-old and 14-year-old — were at home when the suspect entered the house.
“I was upstairs and he came in and he asked me for a car or a basement to hide, and I said we don’t have that,” Yoseph recalled. “So we went downstairs, checked the garage and he came upstairs and tried to hide in the attic.”
The family was able to escape out the front door, and was taken to the police staging area in the Ranch 99 parking lot. Hawley said family members will be able to go back inside their house briefly to recover their belongings and then will be put up in a hotel by the Red Cross.
Yoseph, who has lived in Edmonds for five years, said he was “very surprised” by the dramatic events that affected his family, but admitted that he has seen an increasing amount of crime in his neighborhood recently. “Five years ago, I had never seen this kind of stuff but more and more it’s happening,” he said.
The incident began around 1:30 a.m. Thursday when an Edmonds police officer made contact with the suspect, who was sitting in a vehicle at a motel in the 22100 block of Highway 99. The vehicle turned out to be stolen, and when another officer arrived, the driver fled in the vehicle, hitting the back-up officer’s vehicle as he left the parking lot. The officer was uninjured, Hawley said.
About 15 minutes later, the stolen vehicle was found abandoned on Interstate 5, facing the wrong way near the King/Snohomish County Line.
Surrounding police agencies began arriving to look for the suspect, and a Mountlake Terrace resident called 911 and reported that a male subject had come into his house and wanted help hiding from the police. Those in the Mountlake Terrace home told the suspect to leave, and then called 911 a short time later.
Police believe that after the suspect left the first Mountlake Terrace residence, he broke into another Mountlake Terrace home and was able to obtain the keys to a second vehicle, a black Jetta, and drive it away. That vehicle has not yet been recovered, Hawley said.
A second suspect, related to this incident, was arrested from one of the motel rooms for an outstanding warrant. He was booked in Pierce County jail.