March 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Police arrest suspect in shooting at parks facility in N. Seattle
UPDATED AT 4:53 P.M.: Police have arrested Carolyn J. Piksa in Burien. For continuing coverage of this story, click here.
UPDATED AT 4:15 P.M.: Seattle police are searching for a Parks and Recreation Department employee after she allegedly shot a man in the chest at a department maintenance building north of Green Lake.
The victim, 65-year-old Bill Keller, was shot just before 2 p.m. at the building at North 82nd Street and Densmore Avenue North, police said. He is at Harborview Medical Center in critical but stable condition, according to police.
Keller is the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), is a non-profit that runs the city’s community centers. ARC is based in the building where the shooting took place.
The suspect has been identified as Carolyn J. “Zoom” Piksa, 46, a Parks Department employee since 1986. Police say she may have keys to all of the city’s community centers, so all have been locked down.
Police say the shooting could be a case of workplace violence, according to police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. However, her relationship with Keller was not immediately clear.
Piksa is described as white, and was wearing a blue stocking cap and beige or Army green jacket. She may be driving a dark-colored SUV, possibly a Range Rover. According to court records, she has no criminal convictions.
Whitcomb said they don’t believe she is out to hurt other people.
Sandy Piksa, the suspect’s stepmother, said Piksa had been struggling since her father died two and half years ago. She said her stepdaughter has “ always been very quiet and subdued.”
Piksa has worked for the city since 1986. As an assistant coordinator for community centers, she worked at several of them around the city, including Miller Community Center and Montlake Community Center, according to city records.
Police say Broadview-Thomson School, Bagley Elementary and Wilson Pacific were sheltering in place during the search for the shooter. They have since been released.
Parks and Recreation employees have been evacuated from the North 82nd Street building. Police say all community centers in the city have been placed on lockdown, police said.
King County sheriff’s deputies were sent to the home of Piksa’s boyfriend near Bitter Lake to check on his welfare, according to spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.
ARC board president Charlie Zaragoza said Keller is married with three grown kids. He has worked for ARC for more than 30 years. He was the first executive director of the non-profit, which was formed to help solve funding problems in the parks department. The non-profit collects money from community center programs and then distributes it to the city’s 34 community centers for child-care, sports, educational and other programs.Zaragoza said the job could sometimes be controversial, as Keller is often charged with deciding which programs to cut and which to fund.
“Bill did everything within his power to protect the entire system,” he said. “None of us is perfect, but he just cares so much about what he does.”
Seattle Times staff reporters Emily Heffter and Christine Clarridge contributed to this post.
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