A man was arrested in Seattle on Thursday afternoon for throwing a flaming piece of wood into a patrol car while a police officer sat inside.

Residents of the South Lake Union neighborhood had reported to the Seattle Police Department the presence of a man wandering the area “with a large stick or a torch that was on fire,” according to Assistant SPD Chief Deanna Nollette.

Several officers responded to the reports.

One officer was sitting in an alleyway between Dexter Avenue and John Street around 1:30 PM when the suspect approached the vehicle and threw the flaming 2×2 in through the window.

Witnesses say they heard the officer identify himself to the suspect before the attack.

One witness told Kiro-7 News that the suspect “comes walking down the alley with a torch, screaming I’m gonna kill all you – (and then uses the) n word.”

“He lunged in, he ran and the driver’s seat was already in flames,” said another witness. “I thought the officer was still in the car, the driver’s seat was on fire and then within minutes the car was engulfed in flames.”

According to police reports, the officer may have fired one shot, but it missed the suspect, who then fled. The suspect was arrested by other officers moments later in a nearby parking garage.

The officer in the patrol car suffered minor burns. The fire department treated his wounds on the scene before he was transported to Harbourview Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.

Police do not yet know the motivation of the attack, and an investigation is underway.

Nollette called the attack “an incredibly dangerous situation for our officer…(I)t’s a dramatic event to be assaulted and attacked with an incendiary device or with something that’s on fire.”

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Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor's in Politics and Policy. She grew up in the great Pacific Northwest, but now calls Northern California home as she pursues ministry school.

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