Crime

SWAT team kills naked man who was shooting at homes from a sailboat

A man in a sailboat was shot and killed by a police officer near Bainbridge Island early Sunday morning, according to a statement released by the Washington State Patrol.
A man in a sailboat was shot and killed by a police officer near Bainbridge Island early Sunday morning, according to a statement released by the Washington State Patrol. Getty Images

A shootout with a nude gunman in a Bainbridge Island harbor ended with authorities killing the gunman early Sunday morning.

The man was in a sailboat and randomly shooting a rifle at homes along the Eagle Harbor shoreline, according to statement released by the Washington State Patrol. When Bainbridge Island police officers responded the gunman started shooting at them, Police Chief Matthew Hamner said.

He said officers could hear bullets whizzing over their heads. The police called in the Kitsap regional SWAT team and received assistance from multiple other agencies including the Coast Guard, Hamner said. Officers did not return fire at first because of concern for the safety of civilians in the area.

At one point, the shooter removed his clothes, accord to some media reports and images of the incident posted on social media.

Officers shined a spotlight on the 34-year-old man making it more difficult for him to see, Hamner said. After hours of trying to end the incident peacefully, officers approached the man using two boats, Hamner said. The man reportedly pointed a weapon at an officer and authorities opened fire and killed him.

Officers are not yet sure what events led to the incident, Hamner said. The 34-year-old man who moved to the island recently from Seattle and is believed to own the sailboat from which he was shooting, has not yet been identified.

During the shootout, people in the area were told to seek shelter in their homes or boats and to avoid their windows. At first, many thought the shots were fireworks, Hamner said, but when they learned what was happening they “were highly motivated to get out of the area.”

Ferry service to and from the Island was temporarily suspended. Authorities recovered the rifle and processed it and the boat as evidence.

Hamner said authorities believe one of the gunman’s shots hit the hull of a boat and they are investigating to see if there is other damage in the area. No officers or civilians were injured.

Washington State Patrol is investigating the incident and is seeking help from anybody who witnessed or shot video or pictures of the incident, Hamner said. Those with information should call 360-473-0141.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

  Comments