Fatal Shooting at Seattle Jewish Federation

  • July 31, 2006


One woman was killed and 5 others wounded in a shooting at the Jewish Federation building in downtown Seattle on July 28, 2006.

Naveed Afzal Haq, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, surrendered to authorities in the building about 12 minutes after the shooting began.  The Federation's assistant director was killed and five other women injured.  One of the injured women was five months pregnant.

Haq, who allegedly forced his way through a security door by holding a gun to a 13-year-old girl's head, began shooting after telling Federation staff members that he was "a Muslim-American" who was "angry at Israel."

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said at a news conference the following day that Haq "pointedly blamed Jewish people for all of these problems."

One of the shooting victims convinced Haq to talk to a 911 dispatcher.  During the conversation, Haq said, "These are Jews and I'm tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East," according to court records.

Haq targeted the Jewish Federation after searching for Jewish organizations on the Internet, Seattle police said.  A friend reportedly said that Haq would look for news about the Middle East on the Internet and would make anti-Semitic comments.  Haq also created a profile on Friendster, a social networking site, but his profile does not include hatred against Israel or Jews.

Haq used two semi-automatic weapons, which he purchased from two different gun shops.  He picked up the weapons and ammunition one day before the shooting.  He is being held on $50 million bail at King County Jail pending formal charges of murder and attempted murder.

Haq's family, who moved to the U.S. from Pakistan in the 1970s, is well known in the local Muslim community, where his father helped found the Richland Islamic Center.  The family has released a statement saying, "This is utterly contrary to our beliefs and Islamic values."

After graduating high school in 1994, Haq studied dentistry in Pennsylvania.  He eventually dropped out, moved back to Tri-Cities and completed an engineering degree at Washington State University. He reportedly converted to Christianity last year.

Haq, who has struggled with mental illness for years, was charged with lewd conduct stemming from an incident earlier this year in which he exposed himself to women at a store's makeup counter.  He was scheduled to stand trial on the charge a day before the shooting, but the trial was postponed.

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