After an argument on a No. 27 bus in downtown Seattle, a woman pulled a gun and seriously wounded a man at Third Avenue and Seneca Street about 12:20 p.m. Saturday.
King County sheriff Transit Police Sgt. Bill Hurley said the man got on the bus and apparently was behaving strangely, "acting a little crazy, mumbling" to himself.
The woman said something critical of his behavior and an argument ensued, passengers told police.
When the woman got off at Third and Seneca, the man at the last moment followed other passengers out and rushed toward her, Hurley said. She pulled out a gun and shot him.
The man was treated by Seattle Fire Department paramedics, then taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in surgery Saturday afternoon. Hurley said the man's injuries are "life-threatening." His condition wasn't available.
Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt said the woman, who is in her 30s, claimed the man spat at her.
"She pulled her gun out and shot him once in the chest," Witt said, adding did not know if the gun used is a legally held weapon.
Other passengers leaving the bus were on the sidewalk when the shooting happened. Many also witnessed the dispute on the bus, Witt said. She said the woman and man did not know each other.
"It seems he instigated" the argument, Witt said.
Police interviewed the woman and may book her for investigation of assault, Witt said.
The bus driver declined to talk to a reporter, telling another Metro official: "I'm shaken up."
Hurley, who was supervising the scene an hour after the shooting, gave his account based on what he'd heard from his officers and from Metro Transit staff at the scene.
He said Transit Police are routinely called out by Metro drivers with unruly passengers. "It happens quite a lot," said Hurley. "We get called to deal with these people and get them off the bus."
In this case, he said, the driver had noticed the man acting strangely, but "there was nothing unusual enough for the driver to call us."
The No. 27 bus route runs from Lake Washington near the Interstate 90 bridge to downtown Seattle.