Suspect in North Seattle shooting arrested in Burien


by KING 5 News

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

After an extensive police search, officers arrested Carolyn Piksa, 46, a Seattle Parks and Recreation employee wanted in connection with the shooting of a co-worker Friday afternoon.

Piksa was taken into custody just before 5 p.m. without incident at her Burien home.

Seattle police had launched a search for Piksa in the Bitter Lake area in North Seattle after receiving a 911 call at 1:52 p.m. at the Seattle Parks and Recreation headquarters near N 82th and Densmore Avenue N., just north of Green Lake.

Responding officers found a man with gunshot wound to the chest. Officials identified the victim as Bill Keller, 65, the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council, a non-profit that works closely with the parks department. Medics immediately transported Keller to Harborview Medical Center, where he was last listed in serious but stable condition.

Seattle police say they were investigating the possibility that the incident was a case of workplace violence. Witnesses at the parks headquarters reported seeing Piksa walk into the building.

"They're having a casual conversation, and then somehow a gun came out," said a witness. "And then she got scared and I guess the lady just walked out the community center."

Withing minutes of receiving the call, SWAT team members surrounded the building and pulled out about 30 employees and people inside one by one, but by then the suspect had fled the scene.

Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz said around the same time, police received a 911 call that a woman matching the description of the suspect in the Green Lake shooting had shown up at the Bitter Lake Community Center near N 130th Street and Linden Avenue N. That woman reportedly entered the building, had a conversation with a female employee, brandished a gun and left the building.  Metz said no shots were fired and no physical altercations happened.

Since Piksa had keys that would give her access to a number of Parks and Recreation facilities and city community centers, officials placed a lockdown on parks facilities and shut down community centers city wide as a precaution. Several schools in the area - Broadview Thomson Elementary K-8, Bagley Elementary and Wilson Alternative School - were put into modified lockdown as a precaution.

Metz said the police Intel Unit worked with the phone company to trace Piksa's cell phone and tracked her to a location in Burien.  The Intel Unit and SWAT team triangulated her phone to her house in Burien.  After setting up a containment around her house, SWAT members communicated with her using a P.A. system. She immediately came outside, unarmed, and surrendered to police without incident. She is currently in custody at Seattle police headquarters, where she is being questioned.

Metz said police do not have the weapon used in the shooting and investigators are currently  searching Piksa's home. Police said they don't know yet what work relationship Piksa and Keller had or the motive behind the shooting.

Neighbors said Piksa usually kept to herself and that her home had been broken into within the last couple of months. They since she had not been spending much time at her Burien home, instead staying with a relative in Tacoma. But when she did return, neighbors said something seemed off and strange about her.

Meanwhile, employees with the parks department are shocked and disturbed by the incident in the normally quiet Green Lake neighborhood. Co-workers say Piksa has worked with the parks department for at least five years and they did not see this coming.

Before he worked with the Associated Recreation Council, Keller was the former local executive director for Greenpeace, but left the organization because he didn't want to move to Washington, D.C. Keller is married with three children.

Seattle officials plan to re-open all parks and city community centers on Saturday.


KING 5's Zahid Arab, Linda Brill, Heather Graf and Liza Javier contributed to this report.