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Heavily-Armed Suspect Gets Into 3-Hour Standoff With Police Inside Snohomish County Courthouse

Everett, WA – More than 80 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies descended on the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday afternoon after a suspect entered the building with multiple firearms and demanded to see the sheriff and two judges.

“He’s got a jacket on, backpack and what appeared to be a bulletproof vest,” a witness said, according to KIRO.

The incident began at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, when 32-year-old David Hsu walked into the Snohomish County courthouse lobby carrying multiple firearms, KIRO reported.

He was immediately confronted by law enforcement marshals, who ordered him to drop his weapons, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) said in a press release on Tuesday.

“The suspect placed two rifles on the ground but refused to disarm himself of additional firearms on his person,” the SCSO said.

The marshals responded by containing the suspect in the lobby area and placed the entire courthouse on lockdown.

“I was just going through the metal detector and they announced that somebody was walking up the stairs with guns,” a witness who was inside the building when the incident occurred told KIRO. “As I turned around, there he was, as I was putting my belt on and grabbing my phone and grabbing my final stuff. He, sure enough, had a gun sticking out of his backpack. And then we realized he had a gun in his hands. When the officer told him to put his gun down, he refused to.”

More than 80 law enforcement officers from the Everett Police Department, the SCSO, the Washington State Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Region 1 SWAT responded to the armed standoff, the sheriff’s office said.

As they worked to convince Hsu to surrender, law enforcement officers from other municipal agencies throughout the southern portion of the county covered the SCSO’s priority calls.

The standoff ended at approximately 3:30 p.m., when police successfully convinced Hsu to surrender.

He was taken into custody without further incident, the sheriff’s office said.

By that time, the courthouse had been on lockdown for three hours.

Investigators said they recovered a 9mm Glock, two 7.62×39 rifles with loaded magazines, a .44 Magnum revolver, a Smith and Wesson .45-caliber pistol, a Kel-Tec .32-caliber handgun, and over 300 rounds of ammunition, The Everett Herald reported.

The suspect also allegedly had a ballistic armor vest, six knives, brass knuckles, and a hatchet, KIRO reported.

Hsu was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, intimidating a judge, carrying a concealed pistol without a permit, resisting arrest, entering where weapons are prohibited, and disorderly conduct, according to the SCSO.

A judge set his bail at $1 million on Tuesday.

According to police, Hsu said he showed up at the courthouse with his arsenal of weapons because he wanted to get people to pay attention to his child custody concerns, The Everett Herald reported.

He allegedly told them a lawyer cost too much, so he opted for a different tactic.

Hsu demanded to see “two judges and the sheriff” so he could get some changes made to his child custody situation, SCSO Detective Myles Bittinger wrote in his investigative report, according to The Everett Herald.

When Hsu’s now-ex-wife separated from him last year, she petitioned the court for a protection order, according to the paper.

“His mental health is tenuous and I fear removing his child from him will break it,” she wrote in the petition. “He’s very angry with me.”

The woman said Hsu always carried a gun on his hip, and that she feared the situation would result in “murder/suicide by firearm,” The Everett Herald reported.

Hsu said those claims were lies.

A judge denied the protection order request in January, ruling that a “preponderance of the evidence has not established that there is domestic violence,” according to the paper.

But a Snohomish County Superior Court Commissioner ended up issuing a one-year restraining order against Hsu in October, The Everett Herald reported.

The judge determined that he was “a credible threat” to his ex-wife’s “physical safety,” according to the order.

The King County Sheriff’s Office revoked Hsu’s concealed pistol license the same month.

Det. Bittinger said Hsu told investigators he tried to buy a 16-gauge shotgun in November, but that he was blocked because of the active protection order showed up on his background check, The Everett Herald reported.

Police said Hsu didn’t point guns at anyone during the incident at the courthouse on Monday, but that they were concerned he would have potentially harmed those he was trying to contact “due to his stated anger about the protection order, the custody of his daughter and the restriction of his firearms rights,” Det. Bittinger wrote.

The SCSO filed a petition asking for an extreme risk protection order to block Hsu from legally possessing any firearms, The Everett Herald reported.

The judge granted a temporary order.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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