A man stopped Sounder and other rail traffic this morning (March 1) as he climbed a tree near the tracks after allegedly breaking into a woman’s home and assaulting a resident.
According to various news reports, the suspect allegedly broke into his former girlfriend’s home in the 4600 block of 33rd Avenue West around 5 a.m. and attacked her male roommate. The suspect ran off, while the male roommate was taken to the hospital.
A driver flagged down responding officers and told them he heard someone calling for help in the area; the police ultimately found the man, believed to be the suspect, 40 feet up in a tree, near 34th Avenue West and Gilman Avenue West.
Seattle Fire’s rope-rescue team responded, and a police negotiator tried to talk the suspect into coming down from the tree. Instead, the man removed clothing and tied them to branches, according to police. He would also climb down and then back up the tree, acting “erratically.”
After several hours, the suspect came down on his own, around 8:45 a.m., and was taken into custody by Seattle Police.
Because of the incident’s proximity to the railroad tracks running through Magnolia, all rail traffic, including the Sounder commuter trains from Everett to Seattle, were stalled until the man came down from the tree. Commuters on those trains — some of whom had been stopped for more than hour — disembarked in Edmonds and took buses into Seattle.
[Update (3/6/12): According to a Seattle Police Department “SPD Blotter” posting following the incident, the suspect allegedly forced his way into the home around 1:30 or 2 a.m. and assaulted the male roommate. The suspect fled afterward and returned at 5 a.m. The female resident, the suspect’s ex-girlfriend, then fled, after which the suspect also left and subsequently climbed the tree.
The suspect was booked into King County Jail for domestic-violence burglary, property damage and felony assault, as well as an outstanding warrant.
The SPD Blotter also noted the suspect had recently been released from prison.]