by Ezra HaLevi Arutz Sheva July 29, 2006
Pam Waechter, 58, was shot dead and five are in serious condition after a Muslim man opened fire inside a Jewish Federation building in Seattle, Washington Friday.
The Arab man entered the building Friday afternoon at 4 PM, following behind a woman who had just punched in her security code, shooting a receptionist and demanding that she call 911 and tell them he was holding everyone hostage. â€œHe told the police that it was a hostage situation and he wanted us to get our weapons out of Israel,” an employee told the Seattle Times.
According to Jewish Federation official Amy Wasser-Simpson, the man had told staff members, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” and then began shooting.
Most of the employees were able to escape through a back door and once police teams arrived, the man, 31-year-old Naveed Afzal Haq, soon surrendered. He was charged with one count of murder and five of attempted murder. He is reportedly a US citizen, from outside the Seattle region.
All five of the wounded are women as well. None of the names of the victims have been released, but three of them with abdominal injuries underwent emergency surgery Friday. One victim is pregnant and was wounded only in her arm.
Police SWAT teams and bomb squads combed the area for hours looking for additional threats.
Robert Jacobs, the local director of the Anti-Defamation League in Seattle, issued a recommendation to all Jewish institutions, including synagogues, to cancel services and evacuate the buildings until it is determined if the shooting is a lone incident. “We’re trying to keep the community as calm as possible,” he told the Times.
Most of the city’s synagogues ignored the directive, saying it would be a surrender to terrorism.
The Jewish Federation organized a large rally last week in support for Israel’s Re-Engagement War.
Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske told an evening news conference that in addition to providing an extra layer of protection to the city’s synagogues, police would be guarding mosques as well, fearing retaliation for the shooting.