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Seattle officer hailed as hero recovering after shootout

The Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) -- A Seattle motel manager says the two police officers who shot a man to death in a crime-plagued area of the city's north end may have saved the lives of his son and stepson.

Tom Simcox, manager of the Georgian Motel, said the dead man, Robert P. Sullivan, 28, had been previously banned from his business near the scene of the shooting in which one of the two officers was wounded in the abdomen.

Officer Troy C. Swanson, 34, a six-year city police veteran and a former Marine with two young children, was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday at Harborview Medical Center. Doctors said he might remain in the hospital a week or longer.

"The dude's just the salt of the earth," Simcox said. "I owe him so much right now."

Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske cut short a trip in Washington, D.C., and returned home because of the shooting.

Sullivan had been sought on a warrant involving an escape charge and had previously been convicted of drug violations in Washington and California and of second-degree murder in Louisiana, authorities said.

Simcox told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer he had been trying to clean up the motel, which is in a high-crime area on Aurora Avenue North, State Route 99, since he arrived last summer.

The episode began, he said, when he confronted some people in a pickup at the rear of the motel parking lot after the deadline of 9 p.m. he has set for visitors. A woman staying at the motel got out of the truck, along with Sullivan, who had previously been evicted, Simcox said.

Sullivan began fighting after he was told to leave and the manager's son, Tommy Simcox, 23, and stepson, Jeremy Anderson, also 23, joined the fray. Breaking free, Sullivan pulled a gun and threatened to shoot them, the manager said.

Just then his son noticed Swanson and his special anti-crime patrol partner, Jon Huber, an 11-year veteran, in an unmarked sport utility vehicle.

"Thank God it was the task force doing their regular patrols," Simcox said.

The two younger men chased Sullivan as he fled north on Aurora and the officers, wearing bullet-resistant vests with clearly visible badges, drove around to intercept him on a side street.

Police said Sullivan fired three shots from across the street, then ran again, only to be intercepted by the police SUV once more. He fired at least twice through the driver's door and one of the shots hit Swanson beneath his protective vest before both officers got out and returned the gunfire, officers said.

Investigators believe Huber fired the shot that killed Sullivan, who died at the scene.

Police said he was wearing a fanny pack containing heroin and drug paraphernalia, and his weapon turned out to be a silver semiautomatic .22-caliber Taurus handgun that was stolen in a burglary at a house in Renton in October.


© 2007 The Associated

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