July 30th, 2006 11:24 EST
Suspect Identified in Seattle Jewish Federation Deadly Shooting
Officials have identified a man charged with the Seattle shooting that killed a woman and wounded five others at a Jewish office on Friday as Naveed Afzal Haq.
The FBI’s Seattle office stated that 30-year-old Haq, an American citizen of Muslim descent, was apprehended and taken to the King County jail for investigation of homicide and attempted homicide.
Seattle authorities said the assailant walked into the Jewish Federation office building just after 4 p.m. Friday, equipped with a large caliber semi-automatic handgun and began opening fire after asking for the manager. About 12 minutes after the shooting began, authorities stated that the shooter placed his handgun on the ground and relinquished himself to SWAT officers .
Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation, said, in a statement, that the man told staff members, ``I'm a Muslim American, I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.
Three of the injured women, all shot in the abdomen, were moved from critical to serious condition Saturday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said at a press conference. Two others were in reasonable condition, a 37-year-old woman, five months pregnant, who was shot in the forearm, and another woman who was shot in the knee.
"This is a crime of hate, and there's no place for that in the city of Seattle," Mayor Greg Nickels said at a news conference. "This was a purposeful hateful act, as far as we know, by an individual acting alone."
The idea of the shooting being a hate crime is rooted in what Haq said to a 911 operator and supervisor when he took a phone from an office worker who called the emergency number. Officials would not disclose what the man actually said to the public. During a news conference Friday night, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said that, because of the 911 conversation, police are treating the shootings as a hate crime.
The shooting came just one day after federal officials cautioned Jewish organizations across the country to be vigilant after Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and Al-Qaida's second in command insisted that the war ravaging the Middle East be moved over to the United States. Nevertheless, law enforcement authorities said there is no indication that Haq was involved with any radical group.
The authorities said that officers are moving to protect synagogues and mosques around the Seattle area, but that there is no evidence of a wide-ranging danger. The police are protecting mosques “because there’s always the concern of retaliatory crime,” Chief Kerlikowske said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, founded in 1926, is an arena for local Jewish neighborhoods. It raises money for Jewish organizations, runs youth and adult Jewish educational programs, and participate in efforts in support of Israel.