more info on attacker and victim
Man killed at Westlake had set fire at mom's home in '01
By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter
Archive | Assault victim fatally shoots assailant outside Westlake Center
A 25-year-old man who was fatally shot while attacking a stranger Saturday at Westlake Plaza had previously served time in prison for setting fire to a day-care center his mother operated out of her Phinney Ridge home.
Daniel Culotti was shot shortly after 11 a.m. by a 52-year-old man he was assaulting in an unprovoked attack, according to Seattle police. The victim of the assault was carrying a handgun and had a concealed-weapons permit, police said.
In July 2001, Culotti had attacked his mother, Melinda Culotti, inside the family's former residence on Palatine Avenue North near Woodland Park Zoo. He later returned and doused the floors inside the house with gasoline, setting the house on fire.
Culotti's mother, several child-care providers and seven children escaped unharmed.
Culotti later pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and was sentenced to just under two years in prison.
Though it is unclear when Culotti was released from custody, he was arrested three times this year for violating the conditions of his release into the community, jail records show.
Melinda Culotti said she only learned of her son's death Monday and declined to comment when reached at her home in upstate New York.
Seattle police continue to investigate Saturday's shooting, and their findings will be turned over the prosecutor's office to decide whether charges are warranted. While police would not speculate on whether the shooting of Culotti was self-defense — saying the term is a legal finding that will be determined by prosecutors — the account offered by a police spokeswoman supports that possibility.
According to Seattle police, a woman called 911 at 11:08 a.m. Saturday to report that a man was acting erratically, yelling at passers-by and randomly assaulting strangers near Boren Avenue and Pine Street. Officers sent to the scene couldn't find the caller, the man or any victims, police spokeswoman Debra Brown said.
Twenty-three minutes later, police dispatchers radioed that shots had been fired at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, she said. Moments earlier, witnesses told police, a man in his 20s apparently attacked the 52-year-old man, punching and kicking him until he fell to the sidewalk. The older man pulled out a .357-caliber Ruger revolver and fired one round, striking the man in the abdomen.
The older man "was not winning the fight" — the other man "just starts attacking him, he's on the ground and a shot is fired," Brown said, describing witnesses' accounts.
"It happened pretty fast. Probably by the time anybody thought to intervene, it was already over."
The 52-year-old had a concealed-weapons license and was in legal possession of the handgun, Brown said. Police have not released the man's name because he was not booked into jail.
"He was very cooperative," she said, noting the man waited for officers to arrive and turned over his weapon; he was interviewed by police and later released.
According to a police report on the incident, officers took into evidence the handgun, one spent shell casing and five live rounds of ammunition.
The names of the 52-year-old man and three witnesses were redacted from the report.
Culotti, who was not carrying identification, later died at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center. He was identified through fingerprint records.
His death has been ruled a homicide, according to James Apa, a spokesman for Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Though it will be up to King County prosecutors to decide, one local author who has written about Washington state's gun laws said the shooting appears to be a "textbook case of self-defense."
"This 52-year-old fellow was minding his own business, going through Westlake [Plaza] and this other guy jumps him, whacks him pretty good, gets him down on the ground and starts kicking him," said Dave Workman, author and senior editor for Gun Week, a national publication that reports on gun laws, regulatory changes and news from the firearms industry.
"Under those circumstances, the man on the ground was in fear of being severely beaten or beaten to death and so was justified in defending himself, including using lethal force."
According to state law, anyone who can legally possess a firearm also can apply for a concealed-weapons license. The law, however, typically restricts citizens from carrying guns onto school property and into jails and courthouses, bars or other places where alcohol is served, restricted areas in airports, and mental-health facilities.
State law not only allows people to defend themselves and their property from intruders in their homes but also from anyone who poses a threat of imminent bodily harm to themselves or others in any place they're legally allowed to be — whether it is a shopping mall, a grocery store or a city street.
Workman said that in determining whether a case fits the legal definition of self-defense, one must consider "the reasonable man doctrine" — that is, what any reasonable person would do under similar circumstances with the same amount of information.
In the past year or so, King County prosecutors have declined to file homicide charges in three cases in which self-defense was claimed, spokesman Dan Donohoe said.
He explained that from a legal standpoint, prosecutors must disprove a claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury to convict someone in such a case.
Here is another view on Mayor Nickel's position on guns:
Originally Posted by riverkeeper
It would appear that Locks don't prevent the crime or accidents they are purported to.
Less than 1% of weapons used in crime are obtained at Gun Shows (Unless you call the back of someones car in an alley a Gun Show)
So called Assault Weapons are also not the chosen tool for most criminals (Too large to conceal and not full auto. Those are already illegal to own for most and the few that are are too darned expensive).
Greg Nickels, like most other liberal Pols. believe in the "Nose of the Camel" theory. All you have to do is get the nose inside the tent and sooner than later you will have the whole stinking animal inside.
Thankfully, Washington State IS fairly gun friendly. Local jurisdictions like Seattle have been preempted by law from passing more stringent laws than the State regarding Concealed Carry. In the case of this event, there is one Good Guy that didn't go to the Hospital and one "piece of sludge" that is not consuming public air anymore.
For those not in Washington State, that are reading this forum, I ask "Does your State have a specific reference to the 2nd Amendment in the State's Constitution". Luck for us in Washington it does, almost word for word.
I have lived in Washington for over 25 years and I don't remember a gun show ever being in Seattle. The two main Gun shows in the Seattle area are in Puallup and Monroe, they are run by Washington Arms Collectors. It is in the rules of the club that All sellers be members of the club and no guns can be sold to a non member. When a person joins the club a background check is run on the person. Any member caught selling a gun to a non member either inside the show or in the parking lot at the show will be ejected from the show and membership canceled. There are no loopholes in these shows for criminals to buy guns.