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April 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Bunker of suspected killer, Peter Keller, found near North Bend

The King County Sheriff's Office on Friday located the bunker that Peter Keller is believed to have been hiding in. (Photo courtesy of King County Sheriff's Office)

Update at 8:42 p.m.

In what she said would be her last briefing of the night, sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West says deputies plan to wait out the occupant of the bunker for as long as it takes. However, when asked if that meant deputies wouldn’t try to enter the bunker tonight, West said she didn’t want to discuss tactics. 

Deputies believe the person heard earlier in the bunker, suspected to be Peter Keller, is still inside. Tear gas fired at the bunker may not have penetrated inside.

One SWAT team member reported seeing what appeared to be a portable generator inside the bunker.

The terrain leading to the site is rugged, and difficult for deputies to access.

Update at 7:55 p.m.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West says deputies haven’t heard any noise coming from inside the bunker for quite some time. It’s unclear whether the person inside is dead or alive.

Update at 6:58 p.m.

Deputies are continuing to deploy tear gas. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said deputies have gotten close enough to the bunker to remove a door. They’re also considering using water to flood out any occupants. 

Update at 6:24 p.m.

Deputies are firing more tear gas at the bunker.

 Update: 4:48 p.m.

When King County sheriff’s deputies searched the North Bend home of shooting suspect Peter Keller earlier this week, they found more than just photos of the bunker on Rattlesnake Ridge. They also found a picture that apparently had been taken from near the bunker. It inititally looked like a photo of trees, but once it was enhanced detectives could see the North Bend Premium Outlets mall in the background.

Witnesses had reported seeing Keller’s red truck near a trailhead in recent weeks, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West. On Friday morning, two deputies trained as trackers went to the area disguised as hikers. They spotted footprints of a man believed to be carrying a heavy pack.

Thus far, searchers have fired tear gas at the bunker, but it doesn’t appear to have penetrated inside, West said.

Update: 4:01 p.m.

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan says shooting suspect Peter Keller’s bunker is “elaborate” and that it had been built to easily defend.

With eight years of planning and construction going into it, Strachan said, deputies are prepared for a long siege. “We have contingencies. We have People we can move in and out of there,” he said.

Update: 3:54 p.m.

Nearly three dozen SWAT team members are now surrounding the bunker believed to have been built by shooting suspect Peter Keller. The SWAT members have set up a perimeter, but the situation could take hours to play out since there is concern that Keller may be waiting for deputies to approach the bunker, according to King County Sheriff Steve Strachan.

“It could very well be that he’s waiting for us to come in and get him. This is a very fluid and dangerous situation,” Strachan said.

Original post:

King County sheriff’s deputies have found a makeshift bunker on Rattlesnake Ridge they say was built by a North Bend-area man wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife and daughter last weekend.

Deputies have heard sounds coming from inside the bunker and believe the suspect, Peter Keller, is inside. They have used tear gas on the bunker, although they believe Keller has a gas mask.

Deputies are now using a megaphone to try to make contact with Keller.

Deputies have set up a perimeter around the bunker. The situation could take hours to play out since there is concern that Keller, who may be heavily armed, may be waiting for deputies to approach the bunker, according to Sheriff Steve Strachan.

The bunker is located in a hillside near the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail outside of North Bend.

Detectives believe Keller had been building the bunker for at least eight years, the Sheriff’s Office said.  The bunker appears to be fortified by logs and dirt, and was well hidden.

Deputies have spent much of the day searching the Rattlesnake Ridge area, one of several spots known to be frequented by Keller, an avid outdoorsman.

Investigators had said Keller was a survivalist and might be hiding out in a fort or bunker stockpiled with weapons, food and other gear. The search was focused on an area not far from the home where the bodies of Keller’s wife, Lynnettee, 41, and daughter, Kaylene, 19, were found. Both had been shot.

Their bodies were discovered by firefighters who responded to a blaze in the home Sunday morning. Prosecutors say Keller set the fire to cover up the killings.

Keller, 41, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of arson in King County Superior Court.

According to court documents, Kaylene told her boyfriend that her father was preparing for “the end of the world” and stockpiling items in the woods. Those who know Keller say  he had a fascination with guns, a survivalist mentality and a “distaste for authority,” court documents say.

One of Keller’s co-workers told detectives Keller owned handguns, high-caliber rifles, scopes, silencers and body armor.

Sheriff”s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said detectives found photographs of the bunker in Keller’s house. They used the photos to pinpoint the location of the bunker, she said.

[do action=”peter-keller”/]

 

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: North Bend, Peter Keller, Rattlesnake Ridge

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