Seattle, WA – The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has released 911 recordings and video footage that captured the moments when a gunman rammed a vehicle into a federal building, opened fire on random motorists, and pointed a gun at police prior to a fatal officer-involved shooting on Saturday (video below).
The incident began at approximately 8:10 p.m. on March 5, when the SPD received multiple 911 calls about an active shooter in the 100-block of Marion Street, police said in a video briefing released on Tuesday.
Security footage from the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building showed the suspect as he rammed his pickup truck through a closed overhead door leading to a parking area and jumped out carrying a rifle.
The suspect, identified by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday as 39-year-old William Michael Stephens, then stormed backup the driveway of the federal building, repeatedly firing his rifle in the direction of passing vehicles, the video showed.
“There’s an active shooter on Second and Marion,” a female caller said in a 911 audio recording. “I’m not hurt. I don’t know if there are people that are.”
The caller said she fled the area in her vehicle immediately “because he was actively shooting into the street” she was traveling down.
The woman described the suspect as a white male wearing a black cap and a black hoodie.
The SPD contacted Federal Building security, who located the Stephens in the sallyport area, according to the video briefing.
Seattle police arrived at the scene and ordered Stephens to “drop the gun,” bodycam footage showed.
Stephens, who was lying on the ground, ignored their commands.
Officers briefly discussed trying to Tase the suspect, but quickly determined he was too far away, the video showed.
One officer radioed that Stephens appeared to be “trying to shoot himself in the head” just moments before the suspect jumped to his feet and charged towards police with the gun pointed in their direction, bodycam footage showed.
Multiple officers opened fire, mortally wounding the suspect.
Police and emergency medical personnel delivered medical aid to the suspect, but he succumbed to his wounds at the scene.
A total of five officers fired at Stephens, according to KING.
One of the officers has served the SPD for over 10 years, two have been with the agency for approximately four years, and two have less than four years of service.
The Bellevue Police Department (BPD) had filed an extreme risk protection order against Stephens on Feb. 28, seeking to confiscate his firearms due to multiple recent contacts that they believed indicated he was “in a declining mental state,” KING reported.
BPD officers were unable to locate Stephens on March 1 when they tried to serve the order, which was scheduled for a hearing on March 8.
According to court documents, Stephens allegedly believed he was being threatened by his former pastor, his ex-wife, and the Brazilian mafia, all of whom he said were conspiring to kill him, The Seattle Times reported.
Police had responded to Stephens’ home in Bellevue in January and February, and he told them about an alleged plot to murder him on both occasions.
He refused officers’ efforts to help him access mental health services on Jan. 29 and demanded his complaint be handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to The Seattle Times.
Police noted Stephens did not meet the criteria for an involuntary commitment at that time because he was not threatening anyone.
He also refused mental health services and denied wanting to harm himself or others when police responded to his request for help on Feb. 15, The Seattle Times reported.
The BPD then referred his case to a city program aimed at helping individuals struggling with mental health issues, according to court documents.
Program staff attempted to contact Stephens for days afterwards, but were unable to reach him at his house or by phone, The Seattle Times reported.
The BPD submitted a statement from Stephens’ former psychiatrist along with the extreme risk protection order.
“Mr. Stephens is suffering a very serious Delusion and rapid mental health decompensation and deterioration,” the psychiatrist wrote in the witness statement. “I have treated individuals over the course of 44 years with behaviors such as this which may have the potential to manifest in violence. I believe that Mr. Stephen’s condition is very dangerous.”
Police said Stephens also wrote messages on his front door and garage with permanent marker about needing “protective custody” and that the BPD only believed the mafia, according to The Seattle Times.
He threatened his ex-wife in other messages.
Investigators said Stephens recently obtained a concealed pistol license, but that a gun dealer turned him away “after he expressed concerns about a mafia plot to kill him,” according to court documents.
Stephens’ neighbor said he began noticing a change in him after he started dating a Brazilian woman online approximately four months ago, The Seattle Times reported.
The neighbor said Stephens abruptly shuttered his landscaping business, started sleeping in his crawlspace and attic, and sold many of his belongings.
The night of the shooting, Stephens allegedly asked his neighbor if he would let him sleep in his garage, The Seattle Times reported.
“When I turned him down, he went out and jumped in his truck and took off,” the neighbor said.
Stephens rammed his truck into the federal building and began shooting wildly about 90 minutes later, The Seattle Times reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:
Body cams, again, show Seattle officers did everything right in dealing with an armed man who tried to murder them.
Still, a who's who of Seattle's dumbest are blaming cops. The Council listens to the dumbest. The rest of us stand with SPD here. (WARNING: Video is graphic.) pic.twitter.com/f1nUG5afGy
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) March 9, 2022