Man who killed 1, injured 5 in shooting at Seattle Jewish center gets life sentence
SEATTLE - A man who went on a shooting rampage at a Seattle Jewish center, killing one woman and wounding five others, appealed for forgiveness and blamed his medication as a judge sentenced him yesterday to life in prison without parole.
“I am not a man filled with hate,’’ Naveed Haq told the court. “I would like to say I apologize from the depth of my being.’’
Haq, 34, drove from his Eastern Washington home in Pasco to Seattle on July 28, 2006, and held a teenage girl at gunpoint as he forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. He stalked through the second-floor office, firing as workers dove for cover beneath their desks or leapt from windows.
Pamela Waechter, director of the charity’s annual fund-raising campaign, was killed as she fled down a stairwell. The shooting ended after Haq spoke with a 911 operator, criticized Israel and US foreign policy, demanded to get on CNN, then gave himself up, saying he had made his point.
Haq was convicted last month at his second trial, after prosecutors detailed his extensive preparations for the attack - including writing anti-Israeli manifestos, mapping the center’s address on the Internet, and test-firing his guns as he drove toward Seattle. They also played jailhouse recordings of conversations in which Haq told his mother he had done “a good thing.’’
His first trial ended with jurors unable to decide whether he was legally insane at the time of the killing.
Haq’s lawyers pleaded with King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas yesterday to ignore the mandatory life sentence for aggravated first-degree murder, the only alternative punishment after prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty. They argued she could consider his bipolar disorder in imposing a sentence of 25 years.
After hearing from victims, people involved with the Jewish Federation, and Waechter’s daughter, Nicole, the judge declined.
“Mr. Haq understood his plan, knew it was wrong, and carried it out anyway,’’ she said.
One victim, Cheryl Stumbo, told Haq she would work to change the world through love and charity, not hate.
“You failed at everything you tried to do that day,’’ she said. “You failed, while I triumphed.’’
Another victim, Carol Goldman, spoke of the gallows humor that helped distract her from horrific memories - joking about scar contests and making up T-shirts that read “Spleenless in Seattle’’ for one victim whose spleen had to be removed. Goldman said Haq’s apology made little difference.