Man Claiming to be Vampire Prompts Bomb Scare Near Courthouse

Written by Jennifer Sullivan and Jack Broom

Seattle Times staff reporters

A two-block section of Third Avenue near the King County Courthouse was closed for two hours Friday morning after a man carrying an object that resembled a pipe bomb told people he was a vampire looking for food. Bomb-squad officers took the 33-year-old man into custody near the main entrance to the King County Courthouse about an hour after police received the first call at 8:11 a.m.

Police said the man had a section of pipe taped to his arm.

“It was fashioned to look like a pipe bomb, but it was not a real explosive device,” police said in a news release Friday afternoon, after the device had been examined and taken apart.

According to police, employees of a Second Avenue mission said the suspect, clad in black and covered in duct tape, had come into the mission “and threatened to blow the place up.” He then told staffers “that he was a vampire and wanted to eat people.”

The man, who also called himself “a space cowboy,” showed the pipe-like device taped to his wrist. Staffers ushered the man out of the building and called police.

The man was gone when officers arrived, but was seen shortly afterward in a doorway in the 500 block of Third Avenue.

Police told him to lie down, which he did. Officers then gave the man a pair of surgical scissors and instructed him to remove the device, and he complied.

The section of pipe “looked real enough to enough people,” said police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

After taking the man into custody, police used bomb-squad robots to inspect the device and removed it from the area for further examination.

After officers searched the suspect for any other potentially dangerous devices, the man was taken to the department’s West Precinct for questioning and police said he would likely be booked into the King County Jail for threats to bomb.

Third Avenue was closed from James Street to Yesler Way, and was reopened shortly before 10 a.m.
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Seattle Times staff reporter Emily Heffter contributed to this report