Bizarre incident on I-5 bridge results in state troopers shooting knife-wielding man


Police said the driver of this pickup truck pulled a knife on a Washington State Patrol trooper, who then shot him.

SEATTLE -- Two Washington State Patrol troopers opened fire when a knife-wielding man on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge came at them Monday. The man, in his 20s, was rushed to the hospital.

The incident shut down all southbound I-5 lanes at about 6:30 p.m., backing up traffic for miles. The southbound lanes over the bridge remained closed for hours while the Washington State Patrol and Seattle police investigated the incident. The southbound lanes were finally  reopened at about 11:35 p.m.

Police said the incident began when the driver of a pickup truck traveling southbound on the bridge swerved to the middle of the interstate and stopped, blocking two of the center lanes. The truck caught fire, and the driver left his truck and walked about 35 feet south on the bridge. One State Patrol trooper put out the fire, while another went to see to the driver.

The driver then took a can of green spray paint and made a circle that covered two lanes in the middle of the roadway, police said. One of the troopers ordered him to come back out of the road.

"The subject displayed a knife at our officers," Washington State Patrol trooper Cliff Pratt told reporters. "Our officers tried to talk him out of getting that knife, or putting that knife down. The officer then Tased this person, or attempted to Tase him, which had no effect on this subject. And the subject continued with his knife toward the officers, and they were forced to fire off rounds at him."

The Seattle Fire Department tweeted that it was transporting a gunshot victim, a male in his 20s, from the Ship Canal Bridge to Harborview Medical Center. His condition was not immediately known.

A look at the traffic on I-5 Ship Canal Bridge at about 9:10 p.m. Monday. Southbound lanes were closed for a shooting investigation and northbound lanes were backed up as drivers slowed to check out the scene. (Photo: WSDOT)