Seattle shooting: Man pleads not guilty

Arraignment continued to give lawyers time to determine client's competence.

August 16, 2006 08:15
1 minute read.


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A man accused of storming Seattle's Jewish Federation offices, killing one woman and wounding five others in a fit of rage over US foreign policy, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, had indicated in court last week that he wanted to plead guilty, but a judge continued his arraignment to give his lawyers time to determine whether their client was competent. On Tuesday, defense attorneys said they had met with Haq for nine hours during the past week and found no indication that he would be incapable of assisting in his own defense. Haq faces either life in prison or execution if convicted in the death of Pamela Waechter, 58, director of the Jewish charity's annual fundraising campaign. King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has not yet announced whether he will seek the death penalty. Haq pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted first-degree murder in the July 28 shooting at the federation's downtown offices. Five women were wounded by gunfire, including one who was 17 weeks pregnant and three who required lifesaving surgery. Haq fired at the pregnant woman's abdomen, but the bullet hit her raised arm, Seattle Police Detective Dana Duffy said in a probable cause statement filed with charging documents. The woman crawled back to her desk and called the police, defying the gunman's warning that no one call authorities. Haq eventually got on the phone with the emergency call operator and said he was upset about the war in Iraq and US support of Israel, and asked the operator to patch him through to CNN, Duffy said. He later agreed to surrender, put his two guns down and walked out, hands on his head. Most of the injured, including the pregnant woman, have been released from Harborview Medical Center. Haq also pleaded not guilty to a first-degree kidnapping charge that accuses him of briefly holding a teenage girl hostage, first-degree burglary for entering a locked facility to commit a crime, and malicious harassment under the state's hate-crime law. He was being held without bail at King County Jail.

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