Photo by Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times
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"There were lots of people up there, lots of kids - this could have been a lot worse."
ISSAQUAH, Wash. - A gunman was shot dead by police Saturday after he opened fire near Issaquah High School, sending passers-by fleeing in terror and throwing a junior football game into chaos, officials and witnesses said.
Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's Office said officers had no choice but to shoot the gunman after he refused to put down his weapons and fired them at police.
Later, officers searched the gunman's abandoned vehicle on Front Street. There was no immediate word on what they had found, but traffic was being routed away from the vehicle during the search.
No one else was injured in the incident, which terrified residents of the normally quiet neighborhood and sent many of them running for cover.
Urquhart said it's a miracle that no one else was hit by the gunfire.
"There were lots of people up there, lots of kids - this could have been a lot worse," he said.
The man pointed his weapons "menacingly" at pedestrians, but did not fire, as he walked about ½ mile to Clark Elementary School, Urquhart said.
Witnesses reportedly saw him trying to break into an unoccupied parked car in the school parking lot, where he fired his first shot, according to Urquhart. The gunman also fired more shots during or after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the cab of a parked backhoe.
Urquhart did not indicate whether the gunman was shooting at anyone.
When Issaquah police confronted him on a service road at the school, he reportedly dropped to the ground and began shooting.
Some shots were aimed at officers, but others appeared to be random, Urquhart said.
Four Issaquah officers returned fire, striking the man more than once. He died at the scene.
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