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September 5, 2013 at 12:14 PM

SPD: Officer unintentionally shot woman Wednesday night

UPDATE AT 5:09 P.M.: Seattle police said this afternoon the shooting of a woman last night by an officer was unintentional.

According to police, the officer was pulling out his handgun when it accidentally discharged, hitting the woman in the leg. She suffered a wound that is not considered life-threatening, police said.

Police say the woman was not armed.

The incident began just before 11 p.m. when a man called 911 from a motel near North 120th Street and Aurora Avenue North and reported hearing an incendiary device detonate The man then hung up.

As police responded to the scene, one officer spotted a 19-year-old woman punching another woman on the sidewalk near 120th and Aurora. When one of the women ran off across the street, the officer jumped out of his patrol car and chased her, police said.

He approached the woman in the parking lot of a nearby business and the woman refused to show her hands, prompting the officer to draw his firearm, police said. While drawing his gun, the officer unintentionally fired one shot, police said.

“The officer immediately radioed for medics and offered his apologies to the woman for the very regrettable incident,” police said in an account of the incident posted online.

Because the woman was a suspect in an assault, officers ran her name and learned she was wanted in Snohomish County on several felony warrants, police said. Seattle police contacted Snohomish County authorities, who requested that Seattle police book the woman into jail for the warrants.

Homicide/Assault detectives are investigating the shooting and have placed the officer’s duty firearm into evidence. As per department policy, the 29-year-old officer — who has been with the Seattle Police Department for a year and a half — has been placed on administrative leave.

Police have determined the original report of an incendiary explosion was a false report made by an individual believed to be suffering from mental health issues.

ORIGINAL POST: A woman is recovering after she was shot in the leg by a Seattle police officer Wednesday night, according to police.

Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said officers were called to a disturbance at the Seal’s Motel at 12035 Aurora Ave. N. around 11 p.m.

As officers were driving to the motel, they saw people fighting at the Orion Hotel next door, Witt said. She said one of the participants, a woman, ran off when she saw police.

An officer chased the woman as she ran across a street, into a parking lot and behind a building, police said. According to a police account of the incident, “at some point the officer encountered the female in the back parking lot of the business. During that encounter a shot was fired and the female was struck once in the lower leg.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the officer to fire and whether the woman was armed.

Witt said today that detectives are still interviewing witnesses and, possibly the victim, to determine what happened.

More information on the shooting is expected to be released later today, she said.

Witt said the fight outside of the Orion was not related to the original call for help, in which a man with apparent mental health issues was reportedly threatening to blow things up.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Officer-involved shooting, Seattle Police Department

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