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Seattle Shooting Plea Delayed

The man charged in the shootings at Seattle's Jewish Federation offices has indicated he wants to plead guilty, his attorney said Thursday, but a judge continued his arraignment a week to help the attorney determine whether his is competent to make such a plea.

Naveed Afzal Haq is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Pamela Waechter, 58, director of the Jewish charity's annual fundraising campaign. He's also charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of five women at the federation's downtown offices on July 28; one count of first-degree kidnapping, involving a teenage girl who was briefly taken hostage; one count of first-degree burglary for allegedly entering a locked facility to commit a crime; and one count of malicious harassment under the state's hate-crime law.

Haq, 30, said little at his brief arraignment Thursday, but his court-appointed attorney, C. Wesley Richards, told the judge that Haq "is indicating that it his desire to enter guilty pleas."

Richards said he was not aware before the hearing that Haq intended to enter those pleas. At Richards' request, the hearing was continued the hearing until next Tuesday to allow Richards to determine whether Haq was competent to enter such a plea.

The judge also granted a prosecution request to bar Haq from having contact with victims of the shooting, or with volunteers and employees of the Jewish Federation.

Haq is being held in the King County Jail without bail.

He is accused of forcing his way into the downtown offices of the Seattle charity and opening fire with a handgun, saying that he was upset about the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel.

The shooting started when one woman reached for a phone, hoping to call 911.

It ended when another — 17 weeks pregnant, with a bullet in her arm and a gun to her head — asked the gunman if he'd like to speak with an operator.

The man identified as Haq took the phone, and within moments the horrific rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle was over, prosecutors said Wednesday as they filed nine state felony counts, including aggravated first-degree murder, against him.

"Make no mistake, this was a hate crime," King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng told a news conference last week. "The attack on these women was an attack on the Jewish community, not only in Seattle but throughout our nation and the world."

Jewish Federation officials said they were satisfied with the charges and had no opinion on whether the prosecutor should seek the death penalty.

"These nine charges do not just represent crimes," chairwoman Robin Boehler said Wednesday. "They represent women who were going about their daily lives, working unselfishly for the community on a Friday afternoon."

The federation has resumed its work at an undisclosed, donated space, Boehler said, and some staff members and volunteers have been working from home. The organization hopes to return to its downtown office after it is cleaned and possibly renovated.

In a probable cause statement filed with charging documents Wednesday, Seattle Police Detective Dana Duffy gave the following account:

The gunman waited in the vestibule of the downtown Seattle building until 14-year-old Kelsie Burkum arrived to visit her aunt, Cheryl Stumbo. He put a gun into the girl's back and told her, "Open the door."

"Careful," he said when she reached for the intercom.

As they were buzzed in, Haq told her, "I'm only doing this for a statement."

He followed her up the stairs to the second floor, keeping the gun in her back. As he asked receptionist Layla Bush to speak with a manager, the teenager kept walking, locking herself in a restroom stall.

The shooting began when Stumbo, the federation's marketing director, told Carol Goldman, who was sitting in a nearby cubicle, to call 911. Before Goldman could make the call, Haq shot her in the knee.

He then continued shooting: Bush, Stumbo, and Christina Rexroad, all in the abdomen, and Waechter, near the heart. As Waechter, clutching a hand to her chest, ran down the stairs, Haq reached his gun over the railing and fired down, killing her with a shot to the head.

Dayna Klein, 17 weeks pregnant, came to her office door when she heard the shooting. Haq fired at her abdomen, but the bullet hit her raised arm, Duffy wrote. She crawled back to her desk and called 911, even though she had heard Haq warning that "nobody better call 911."

When Haq returned to her office, he put the gun to her head. "Now you are my hostage because you didn't follow directions," he said.

Klein asked him if he wanted to speak with the operator.

Haq took the phone, Duffy wrote. He told the operator he was upset about the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel, and asked the operator to patch him through to CNN. The operator said that wasn't possible, and that speaking with reporters wouldn't change U.S. policy.

Then, Duffy said, Haq agreed to surrender. He put his two guns down and walked out, hands on his head.

Stumbo, Rexroad and Bush required lifesaving surgery, Duffy said.

Haq, 30, was raised in the Tri-Cities area of south-central Washington. His father, an engineer, founded an Islamic center there, but Haq did not often practice the religion, and he suffers from bipolar disorder, acquaintances said. A Christian evangelical organization in the Tri-Cities said Haq was baptized late last year.