Edmonds police say they are referring mutiple charges, including felony assault, to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office after a 23-year-old Mountlake Terrace man attacked a Swedish Hospital employee last Saturday morning before fleeing the hospital and running naked through the streets of Edmonds. The suspect also assaulted three more people, including a 71-year old woman and an Edmonds police sergeant, before being taken into custody.
According to Edmonds police spokesperson Sgt. Josh McClure, the incident unfolded around 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 when officers responded to an assault that had just occurred at Swedish Hospital. “The suspect had committed an unprovoked and vicious attack on a medical technician by punching her three times in the head and face as she sat at her work station,” McClure said. The suspect had been brought to the hospital earlier by Mountlake Terrace Police after a mental crisis incident that reportedly also involved violent behavior, he added.
After fleeing the hospital on foot, the suspect stripped off his hospital scrubs. Officers then received multiple calls from the public about a naked man running near Highway 99. Subsequently, the suspect was witnessed assaulting a motorist in the Dick’s Drive-In parking lot. “Responding officers found the naked suspect who immediately fled from them,” McClure said.
The man then ran into the parking lot of another business, approaching vehicle occupied by the 71-year old woman, from Puyallup. “The subject punched the driver’s side door frame with his bare fist, causing a large dent,” McClure said. “He then opened her car door and started punching the woman before fleeing again. Officers caught up to him a short distance later, where he disregarded all verbal commands to surrender. Officers attempted four different Taser deployments, none of which were effective.”
The suspect was ultimately contained in a parking lot, where he charged several officers and punched Edmonds police Sgt. Shane Hawley in the face. Officers were able to subdue the man following a brief struggle. Aid personnel responded to the scene to evaluate the woman, the suspect and the sergeant, McClure said.
The hospital employee, a 27-year-old female, suffered swelling and bruising to her head and face. The woman from Puyallup received injuries to her face, leaving her bruised and swollen as well. Hawley, a 19-year veteran, suffered bleeding, swelling and bruising to his face. He was evaluated at the hospital before returning to duty.
The second motorist that was assaulted — as witnessed by other bystanders — left the area before officers could make contact. Police would still like to speak with that motorist and are asking the victim to contact Edmonds police, McClure said.
The suspect was returned to the hospital for further mental health and medical evaluations, and police were told the suspect was moved to a secure section of the hospital, McClure added.
“I am incredibly proud of the response of our officers to this incident,” said Acting Edmonds Police Chief Jim Lawless. “The thought that someone is less of a threat because they have stripped their clothing and are unarmed is just not true. This subject was impervious to any sort of pain and had no regard for the safety of others. This is yet another example of the dangerous situations officers deal with on a daily basis and their dedication to public safety, despite risks to their own safety. Our officers handled themselves with extreme professionalism and demonstrated a dedication to the safety of the public and the suspect.”