SEATTLE -- Seattle police on Monday released audio recordings in the fatal shooting of a Queen Anne homeowner by officers over the weekend. Multiple sources say it all began with a domestic violence incident on Friday and ended with bullets flying in the neighborhood Saturday night.
Neighbors and police sources say the homeowner who was shot and killed by Seattle police was 56-year-old Stephen Johnston. Johnston and his wife were known as a friendly couple who traveled the world and socialized with the neighbors. Neighbors are having a hard time coming to grips with what happened this weekend and what police found inside the Johnstons' home.
There's not much crime on their upscale Queen Anne street overlooking Seattle. Neighbors say they saw no signs of trouble between Stephen Johnston and his wife since the couple bought the house about a year ago.
"I am not aware of any issues that they've had with police in the past," said neighbor Cheryl Bachman. "It is a complete shock."
Police say they got a 911 call Friday and arrived at the Johnstons' home to find the door wide open and the house trashed, but no one inside.
They returned to the house later that night. Sources say officers intended to arrest Stephen Johnston on domestic violence for alleged threats to kill his wife. But once again the house was empty.
Then on Saturday, a 911 caller reported hearing shots fired on the same street.
This time police brought rifle officers as backup. Sources say officers heard multiple gunshots as they arrived and they took cover across the street. And when they shined a light on the front door, they saw a man, later identified as Stephen Johnston, holding a high powered AK 47 rifle. Sources say Johnston refused orders to drop his gun, instead shooting at the officers, who returned fire and killed him.
The family across the street had to take cover, as bullets, believed to be from Johnston's gun, hit their house and gate.
The prevailing sentiment here is that police did what they had to do.
"I believed they would have no other recourse other than to do what they did, so I would have no objection to the way they handled this. None at all," said Bachman. "I just think it's very sad. The person probably needed help."
According to police sources, Johnson's wife was so frightened, she fled to Eastern Washington Friday and wasn't home when the shootout happened between her husband and police the next night.
Police found what they described as an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, body armor and hardened fighting positions inside the house and on the front porch. They suspect Johnson intended to die what's called "suicide by cop."
Multiple sources say the fatal shooting of a Queen Anne homeowner Saturday started as a domestic violence incident on Friday. KING 5's Linda Byron reports.