Ballard/Sun Jan 31/2:37 am: Officer Colin Carpenter reports: "I and other police units responded to the 7-Eleven store at 999 NW Leary Way on what originally came in as a silent panic alarm at the store. Later, a citizen at the store called 911 to report there was a male in the store acting odd and brandishing a gun. As officers began to arrive, numerous citizens fled out of the store in terror. The store clerk, apparently on the phone with police operators, was told to exit the store and did so. A single male, later identified as [WM/1971], remained in the store.

"The suspect was dressed in a black leather jacket and had a full beard and long hair. At one point, he opened the door to yell that he was the "Taliban" and then lay on the floor at the door. The suspect's gun was not initially visible to arriving officers but was later seen by officers during containment—it was at that time in a holster on his waist. The gun appeared to be a real semiautomatic pistol, but was found to not be a real gun (it was an airsoft gun).

"I spoke with the clerk, and he stated the suspect had come into the store a little before 2300 hours and attempted to buy some items but couldn't find his money. He left, but returned about five minutes later and walked into the store carrying the pistol by the barrel. At that time, the clerk pushed the panic alarm. The suspect walked back by the beer cooler and began gripping the gun in the proper manner (by the grip). The suspect was rambling to himself, saying: "Don't mess with me..." He then pointed the gun at some cans of beer and said to each: "Bang!" He opened some beer, drank some, and poured the rest over his head. He poured the liquid over his head as if he were bathing and did exercises.

"Multiple patrol officers and supervisors responded to this incident, as well as a SWAT callout response. Police negotiators also responded."

There must have been a moment when the clerk realized that the man he was dealing with was not a criminal but insane. That moment changed everything. If the suspect had turned out to be a criminal, the clerk would have seen him as a dangerous human—a person with a motive, a goal, a gun, a design in mind. But the suspect turned out to be insane, and so he was seen not as a dangerous human (capable of reason) but as a dangerous animal (unreasonable). Like a wild animal, the actions of an insane person have in our eyes no fundamental motive or logic. A moment before, he is going on and on about some group in Afghanistan; in the next moment, the mad/animal man was pouring beer over his head; at present, he might start crying or explode with rage or shoot a packet of peanuts. The mad and the wild animal are one and the same to the sane. recommended