Early in the police response officers did not know if the shooter was still active so they took defensive positions and were prepared.
UPDATE 5: Four people dead, one badly wounded in White Center shooting
Mother shoots members of family then herself; Family releases statement
The matriarch of a southwest Seattle family shot four family members, three fatally, before shooting herself at their home near White Center on Thursday.
PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE ARE IN A SLIDESHOW-CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE
According to Jim Pugel, assistant chief of the SPD Criminal Investigation Bureau, the shooter was the mother of the family, and she died of a self inflicted gun shot wound after shooting her daughter, son-in-law and their two daughters. The daughter is expected to survive after being shot three times.
"My mom went crazy," the injured daughter told police as she was transported to Harborview Medical Center.
Although authorities have not released the names of the family, Seattle Times reports that the shooter was Chhouy Harm, 61. Her injured daughter was identified by family members as Thyda Harm, 40, and Thyda’s fatally shot daughters were Jennifer Harm, 17, and Melina Harm, 14. No name has been released for Thyda’s fatally shot husband, 41.
“Grandma just shot them for no reason,” 17-year-old Tony Sun told the Seattle Times. Sun is a family member who lives in the house and arrived home shortly after the shooting occurred.
Ken King, a bystander at the scene who knows the family, said he heard the shooter was on medication for mental problems.
According to the SPD blotter, police responded to 911 calls of shots being fired at 1:31 p.m. Thursday. Police said an officer was in the area, heard shots and responded immediately.
According to police, officers and SWAT team members arrived to find Thyda Harm, the shooter’s injured daughter, outside and called for medics. Shots were still being fired inside the house as more officers arrived and set up a barricade.
A man in his fifties, now believed to be the husband of the shooter, broke through the police barricade and ran into the house. Two more shots were fired and the man reemerged and told police his wife had shot herself and other family members were shot.
Two handguns, a 9mm and a .25 caliber automatic, were recovered at the scene and police believe all shots fired were from the handguns, although the number of shots fired and from which guns is still under investigation.
“They are a very nice family,” said King, who works at a local laundromat and knew the family of Cambodian descent. “The guy who just got killed gave me a big salmon a week ago; he was a fishing guy."
King said the father also worked as a landscaper.
A teenager named Korwin Flowers who lives next door to the house where the shooting occurred said he did not know the residents but that they only moved in about two weeks ago. King said they had recently moved there from a house about four blocks away.
No motive has been established for the shootings and police are holding a press conference at 2 p.m. today to release further information.
STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY
The following statement was released to media from a person only identified as a spokesman for the family:
Yesterday afternoon's horrible event cost us four family members. They will surely be missed by all of us.
We ask that the media please correct the currently published report. Saroeun Phan has been struggling with schizophrenia and depression for several years and has sought medical attention numerous times. She has been taking medication prescribed to her by physicians. It is not certain whether she has been properly taking her medication these past couple of months.
It is tough enough to grieve with the loss of family members, it's even harder dealing with false reports. No arguments or fights took place the night before and no ill-will existed in the household. This has truly been an unforeseen, tragic event.
Our family would like to request solitude as we mourn the loved ones we lost. Thank you to all who have sent and continue to send their love, care & prayers. We will certainly need our friends in the coming weeks & months.
If you wish to contribute monetarily to costs of funeral & medical expenses, we have set up a benevolent account at BECU. That information is below. Deposits can be made at any BECU accepting deposits, by mail or electronically (for BECU Members only).
'Phan/Harm Memorial Fund' Acct # 3586082948
BECU PO BOX 34044 SEATTLE, WA 98124-1044
BECU Members can call: (800) 233-2328
Thankfully, Phan, Harm & Sok Family
Photo gallery for this story