New details after man allegedly blows up car inside Everett Fred Meyer

New details after man allegedly blows up car inside Everett Fred Meyer

A 56-year-old Olympia man has been charged with first-degree arson and first-degree malicious mischief after he allegedly drove a car into the front of an Everett Fred Meyer.

Everett police report the incident began when an officer was called to a disturbance at the Fred Meyer at 8530 Evergreen Way around 6pm on Friday.

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Police say the officer called for backup when the man drove the car, filled with propane and gasoline, through the front entrance.

When the police arrived, they saw the man pouring gasoline on himself. Officers began negotiating with the man to get him out of the car when the car caught fire.

The employee told police the driver of the car was “acting strangely and unresponsive to requests that he move his vehicle,” according to the documents.

“[The officer] could see there were gas cans and a propane tank in the car,” said Officer Ora Hamel with the Everett Police Department (EPD). “It was strong enough that he could smell it outside the car and the man had a respirator around his neck .”

Hamel said the officer knew people were in danger.

“He told the officer he was going to blow up his car,” she said. “There were a lot of people around so he let the other officers know he needed help. They went inside and started evacuating the store.”

Police said the driver was wearing a filtered respirator around his neck, “presumably so he wouldn’t pass out from the fumes from the propane and gasoline filling his vehicle.”

That set off nearly an hour of negotiations, police said, with the man making demands that led police to believe he was having a mental health crisis.

“[He] continued to threaten to blow up his car, pointing out where the gas was,” Hamel said, referring to the torch lighters the man was carrying. “Eventually, he told the officer that he had done these things in order to could talk to the FBI about the demons that were hunting him.”

Negotiations eventually failed and police said they saw the man get into the car and then it exploded. Authorities said the store was fully evacuated at the time and police had spoken to him on the phone, so the man was the only person injured in the blast.

He was treated, taken to a local hospital and later arrested.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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