UPDATE 6:00 P.M. | Seattle police, after about a two-hour struggle, have finally arrested a homeless man who swam into Green Lake after tackling two teens to the ground. The bearded man had repeatedly refused being taken into a police boat but did take advantage of a life jacket they gave him at one point.
Two teens have been taken to a hospital after they were tackled by a man on a Green Lake walkway, according to witnesses. The man then stripped naked jumped into the lake, where Seattle police are attempting to get him to surrender.
At about 3:21 p.m., the man approached a 16-year-old girl and her 19-year-old brother from behind and knocked them to the ground, police said.
“The guy came out of the trees like a linebacker. There was no warning whatsoever,” said Bettye Atkinson, 61, who was walking behind the teens when they were attacked. “He yelled at them ‘Don’t do that!’ But they did nothing to provoke him.”
Police were summoned and when they approached the man he threw a sleeping bag at the officers and ran away. The attacker then ran off while a few good Samaritans tried to chase him down. The man “could sprint like you wouldn’t believe,” Atkinson said.
The man, who was described as homeless, then removed his clothing and jumped into Green Lake. He swam out to the center of the lake, where he was holding onto a buoy as Seattle police Harbor Patrol officers tried to persuade him to take a life jacket.
The victims were taken to Harborview by their father for treatment of their injuries, police said. The 19-year-old man suffered a broken finger and a busted lip. The extent of the girl’s injuries was not immediately known, however witnesses said she had scraped knees and was emotionally jarred by the attack.
Their father said he had dropped his kids off near the walkway while he parked the car and got a bicycle out.
“You don’t expect to see that here,” said the teens’ father, Jesus Gonzalez. “You see women, children and families around usually, but not a homeless guy like that. He was a creepy creature.”
We’ll update this post as soon as we have more information.