Two men dead, four injured after Lake Sammamish State Park shootings
July 17, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Park will be closed Sunday as detectives gather evidence
UPDATED — 1:05 a.m. July 18, 2010
A shooting at a party in Lake Sammamish State Park left at least two men dead and another four men injured after gunshots shattered a summer Saturday evening.
The shootings occurred at about 9 p.m. — as dusk settled over the popular Issaquah park. Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said investigators did not yet know if the victims had been bystanders or other shooters. Though early reports tied the shootings to gang activity, Urquhart refused to confirm details about the incident.
Urquhart said at least three of the injured men had been transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He did not know the hospital where the fourth wounded man had been taken.
By 12:30 a.m. Sunday, two of the men were in satisfactory condition at Harborview, UW Medicine spokesman Brian Donohue said. Another man was listed in serious condition.
Police had taken at least two men believed to be shooters into custody after the incident. Urquhart said, all told, authorities detained at least six and up to 10 people for questioning about the incident.
Investigators also recovered a car with several guns inside the park, as well as a gun near the scene. Investigators believed the suspects had stashed several guns in the park immediately after the shooting.
Police detained shaken park goers inside the park in the hours after the shooting, as investigators raced to the scene to question possible witnesses and suspects.
A group of 20somethings leaving the park at about 10:30 p.m. described hearing popping noises and believed the sounds to be fireworks — only to recognize the noise as gunfire. The park goers described hearing as many as 15 shots.
Urquhart described the scene in the park as “chaotic” during and after the shootings. He said a park goer barricaded him- or herself in a park restroom during the shootings.
Washington State Patrol dispatchers received a call at about 9 p.m. to report a shooting in the park. In the aftermath, four police agencies — the state patrol, sheriff’s office and police departments from Issaquah and Bellevue — descended on the lakefront park.
Law enforcement agencies received several 911 calls from terrified park goers. A park ranger called the state patrol to report multiple shots fired; a shot could be heard in the background during the call, Trooper Cliff Pratt said late Saturday.
The sheriff’s office had a helicopter in the air to search for possible suspects in the chaotic moments after the shooting, but Urquhart said the search had been called off after nightfall, because authorities believed to have taken the shooters into custody. Police dogs also searched the park after the incident.
“We’ve got four agencies out here,” Urquhart said. “Everybody has scooped up at least one suspect.”
Police cordoned off Northwest Sammamish Road as flashing lights from emergency vehicles blazed in the darkness. Vehicles started to trickle from the park just before 11 p.m.
The park closes at dusk, and investigators expected to spend most of the night processing the crime scene. Lake Sammamish State Park will be closed Sunday as the sheriff’s office gathers evidence and diagrams the area.
A Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission spokesperson could not be reached for comment late Saturday.