Firearms Owners Against Crime

Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action

Washington Self-Defense: Armed robber shot and killed by Ballard smoke shop employee :: 02/20/2023

A 29-year-old man is dead after Seattle police say he tried to rob a Ballard smoke shop and was shot and killed by the store owner Monday afternoon.

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), officers responded to King Smoke Shop, located near the intersection of 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 80th Street in the city’s Ballard neighborhood, around 4 p.m. Monday for a report of a man who was shot in a parking lot.

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Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said a 29-year-old man attempted to rob the business at gunpoint and shot an employee. The 38-year-old employee returned fire, fatally striking the 29-year-old. The suspect was found dead outside the business.

"We saw this individual turn the corner, and as he turned the corner, he fell to the ground," one eyewitness who didn't want to give his name said, "He fell face down and the gun in his left hand fell to the pavement. I turned the corner and called 911 right away."

Officials said community members gave the injured employee medical aid after the shooting before police arrived, using belts as tourniquets.

The 38-year-old employee was taken to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition. Seattle police said the man had “non-life-threatening gunshot wound injuries.” On Tuesday a spokesperson with Harborview Medical Center said his condition improved to satisfactory. 

On Tuesday, customers like Rudy Pantoja came by the store to check on everyone after seeing what had happened.

"[He] cares about the neighborhood, just a great guy," Pantoja said, "The whole store is like family to our community."

KOMO News spoke to an employee at a nearby dentist office who said a bullet traveled across the street and struck a chair inside the waiting room. No one inside the dentist office was injured, according to the employee.

"That’s scary stuff, it could’ve happened to any of us around here," Pantoja said, "We could’ve been an innocent bystander that didn’t make it home."

The SPD said homicide detectives were leading the investigation.

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