After more than eight hours of heavy police presence in the Renton Highlands Wednesday, only two facts are clear:
“We know there were shots fired, and that there was a disturbance at the house,” said King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West. "It's been a long day."
Deputies were called around 7 a.m. after neighbors heard gunfire. Some women in the home looking for something, then said a car outside the house had been rigged with explosives. The FBI, King County bomb squad, SWAT team and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in.
No one was injured in the gunfire, and an extensive search of the home and nearby cars did not produce any explosive devices or additional people of interest. The SWAT team did find weapons in the house, located in 10200 block of 128th Ave. S.E.
All five people who were believed to be in the house at the time of Wednesday morning’s 9-1-1 call are accounted for, and there’s no reason to believe that there are any “outstanding” suspects who fled the scene, authorities said. Still, no arrests have been made.
West said the Sheriff’s Office has been unable to determine who fired the shots.
“At this point we’re not able to confirm if there was a home invasion,” she said.
Detectives are continuing to investigate, she said.
Many of the people who live on the street and nearby were either stuck inside or outside their homes all day.
“I’ve been held hostage all day,” said Julia Fuller, who lives several doors down from the house in question.
Her neighbor, Rainy Smith, had the opposite experience. At about 8:30 a.m. police came to her door to tell her to stay inside. Smith was allowed to leave to take her children to school, as was her other neighbor, Diana Supple. All three women reported hearing the gunshots.
The two women spent the day at the home of Supple’s sister, took a trip to Dairy Queen, collected their children from school and watched the later part of the afternoon’s drama unfold before they were finally allowed back into their homes at 4:15 p.m.
Griffin Lindbeck, a junior at Hazen High School, said he learned of the incident shortly after an announcement came over the school’s loudspeaker system instructing all students to stay on campus during lunch. Normally junior and senior students are allowed off campus for lunch, he said.
Scott Smith lives directly across from the white, two-story house at the center of Wednesday’s police scrutiny. He’s also a junior at Hazen High School and heard the same announcement to stay on campus during the lunch hour.
Smith isn’t surprised by today’s incident.
“I don’t really find this shocking,” he said. “There’s lots of traffic in and out of the house, and there are new renters all the time.”
Susan Dougherty, a 15-year resident of the neighborhood, described the same situation. Dougherty lives behind the suspicious home and said she’s noticed people coming and going at all times of the day and night.
As of 5 p.m. King County Sheriff’s cars and SWAT team members were still on scene. Earlier in the day the Renton Police Department, Renton Fire and Emergency Services, along with the ATF and FBI, were also on scene.