Story and photo by Doug Petrowksi
A nearly four-hour police standoff ended when SWAT members flushed a distraught woman out of her Mountlake Terrace home about 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The woman was taken into police custody following the incident and then transported to Swedish/Edmonds Hospital for medical evaluation.
The 50-year-old woman, described by police as suicidal, had filled her home in the 4500 block of 229th Place Southwest with natural gas, causing her husband to call 911 at approximately 11:30 a.m. Upon arriving at the scene and evaluating the situation, Fire District 1 personnel contacted police.
After attempting to coax the woman from her home via phone, police began using a megaphone around 3 p.m., instructing her to step out the front door into her driveway with her hands above her head. After repeating the command close to a dozen times, SWAT members broke open windows and the front sliding glass door of the home and were able to apprehend the woman without injury when she stepped near the door.
“She will likely face charges for reckless endangerment and attempted arson,” Mountlake Terrace Assistant Police Chief Pete Caw said.
The incident brought police and fire responders from Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Edmonds and Lynnwood police departments, Fire District 1 and North Sound Metro SWAT. Fire crews turn off the natural gas line to the house.
The MLT Police Department knows the woman from previous encounters, Caw noted, mostly involving disturbances and arguments that she has had with neighbors. Police believe she had two firearms with her in the house.
The woman could be heard a couple times during the standoff yelling at the police from inside the house. Her state of mind, plus the danger that gas fumes presented, led to the decision to enter the home by force.
“With suicidal individuals, one of our options is just to leave,” Caw explained. “We couldn’t do that with this situation.”
While 229th Place Southwest was blocked off to traffic, many of the neighbors were instructed by police to remain in their homes. Others who arrived after the standoff had begun were prevented from reaching their homes until the situation was over.
“I’ve lived here 37 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said 229th Place Southwest resident Pamela Wagar Singh.