Eric Hans Hansen, a 43-year-old Granite Falls man described himself as a “family man” sent over the edge into a shooting spree targeting police officers in three Washington state districts when he spoke with detectives after a shooting spree that shook Snohomish County, Washington in mid-October.
The father and husband told police that the failure of his cabinet-making business caused him to jump into a white pickup truck and drive it to the Granite Falls Police Department, shooting an AK-47 at several parked patrol cars before driving to the Lake Stevens Department, where he did the same thing, wounding an officer and sending police scrambling for cover.
He then sped off toward Marysville, where police took him down by gunshot during a gun battle.
According to the Marysville Globe, he was was feeling distressed, and wanted to play out a “suicide-by-cop scenario.” :
One police sergeant was struck in the leg during the melee. Another officer was forced to take cover behind a parked tow truck after “a torrent of bullets” ripped through his patrol car. A third officer reported feeling rounds hit near her feet and legs as she ran for protection.
Hansen eventually surrendered after he was shot in the head. The bullet did not pierce his skull, and he wasn’t seriously injured.
Hansen, 43, reportedly told detectives he “just went on a joyride with an AK-47,” court papers say. He explained that his plan was to anger as many people as he could until someone shot him. He said he was facing financial and health problems.
This week, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler charged Hansen with two counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of drive-by shooting.
His attorney Jon Scott said that Hansen has no criminal history and his actions were out of character for him. “He was a desperate, depressed, suicidal guy,” Scott said. “His intent, as he expressed it, was to have (police) kill him. He was not targeting police officers.”
The policemen he attacked certainly didn’t feel that way. On October 15th, the night of the shooting spree, police dispatchers in Granite Falls received word that someone had shot up a police car outside the station. They could hear the rounds hitting the building. As police began to investigate, dispatchers began receiving calls about gunfire at the Lake Stevens Police Department. Patrol cars and other vehicles parked outside were hit. The building took several hits, too. The police department was under seige.
Marysville got word of what was happening, and worried that their station would be next. Officers began searching the east side of town for the suspect’s truck and found Hansen’s vehicle. The officer pulled behind the truck, with a second police car in tow.
Hansen then allegedly stopped and got out of his truck armed with an AK-47 , and the closest officer heard gunfire and began backing up as his windshield was riddled with bullets. As the officer slid out of the car, bullets struck the driver’s side window and broke out the side spotlight.
Things began to look like a warzone, and confusion ensued. Then, Hansen got back into his pickup and drove on.
Marysville police Sgt. Jim Maples came across him, and the sergeant “realized he was in a bad situation. He believed the defendant had killed (two officers) and was now driving at him,” Stemler wrote.
Maples grabbed his rifle as Hansen drove at him. He positioned himself behind his car. “He felt bullets striking all around him coming through his patrol car,” Stemler wrote.
He fired at Hansen, who didn’t stop. As the truck got closer, Maples repositioned himself behind some parked cars. He felt severe pain in his lower leg and dropped to the ground. As Maples was on the ground he felt a bullet whiz past his wrist, burning the skin, court papers say. He was hit again in the leg. Hansen drove past Maples. Officers arrived to help the sergeant, placing a tourniquet on his leg. Maples was rushed to a hospital.
The officers had to shoot Hansen to take him down. They shot him in the head, but amazingly, he suffered a non-life threatening injury. He was able to interview with the detectives not too long after being hospitalized. While in the hospital, he told police, “Your guys aren’t very good shots.”
Hansen told detectives at the hospital that he had purchased AK-47 rifles, an AR-15, a shotgun, a .40-caliber handgun and several other firearms and stockpiled them at home. Prior to the assault on the police stations, he first shot up a building belonging to a man whom he blamed for his business getting evicted. He told police he’d fired 25 rounds into the building. He made sure to use steel-tipped rounds that would go through bullet-proof vests and cars.
Hansen said he targeted police because they eventually would be the ones to evict him from his home. He just didn’t want to go to jail, Hansen told the officers.
“I’ll cause more (expletive) problems there than what I caused tonight,” he told them.
[Image Credit: Q13-Fox]