March 13, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Seattle parks employee charged with assault in Friday shooting
Carolyn “Zoom” Piksa, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department employee accused of shooting a co-worker last Friday and threatening a second with a handgun, was charged this afternoon with first- and second-degree assault.
Piksa will be arraigned on the charges on March 27. She is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Seattle police say Piksa shot Bill Keller, the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), just before 2 p.m. at a parks-maintenance building at North 82nd Street and Densmore Avenue North. ARC oversees the programs at the city’s community centers.
Piksa, 46, then drove to the Bitter Lake Community Center, where she confronted a female employee, police said. The employee was able to escape, and Piksa stole her purse and fled, according to police.
Keller, 65, who was shot in the chest, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. He has since been upgraded to satisfactory condition.
The shooting touched off a lengthy search that prompted nearby schools to keep students inside and several community centers to close.
Police used Piksa’s cellphone signal to trace her to her home in Burien, where she was arrested around 5 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, a judge found probable cause to hold her on investigation of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $1 million.
Both alleged victims told police they had never had a conflict with Piksa, according to charging papers. Keller told detectives he and Piksa worked in the same building, but they didn’t have a lot of interaction, the papers say.
Piksa apparently believed Keller and the woman she confronted at the Bitter Lake Community Center were involved in some sort of “game of manipulation” that Piksa could never win, charging papers say. Police said Piksa thought her co-workers had removed contacts from her cellphone, taken money out of her bank account and caused noises at night that prevented her from sleeping, the papers say.
After shooting Keller with a .357-caliber handgun, Piksa retrieved her lunch out of a refrigerator near her work area and left the building to go to Bitter Lake, where she confronted the woman in her office, according to the charges. Piksa threatened to shoot her, tried to stop her from leaving the office and pointed a gun at her, the papers say. The woman was able to run away and yelled for other staff members to evacuate the building.
Piksa — who earned the nickname “Zoom” for her skill as a softball pitcher — has been a Seattle Parks Department employee since 1986. She is an assistant coordinator for community centers and worked at several around the city, including Miller Community Center and Montlake Community Center, according to city records.
According to relatives, Piksa has had a troubled past and was the victim of a break-in last summer in which her dog was killed. The King County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the burglary, but said they were unaware a pet had been killed.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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