SEATTLE — The city attorney has charged two off-duty firefighters and their female companion with assault after they allegedly beat two homeless men sleeping on a firefighter memorial statue in Pioneer Square.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Homes has charged firefighters Roger Howell and Scott Bullene, along with their female companion Mia Jarvinen, with one count each of fourth-degree assault and malicious harassment. If convicted they face up to 364 days in jail and $5,000 in fines.
The charges stem from a March 15 incident following a Seattle Sounders soccer match.
According to court documents, Bullene, Howell and a Jarvinen were walking from CenturyLink Stadium to McCoy’s Firehouse near the intersection of South Washington Street and 2nd Avenue when they spotted a homeless man sleeping under the Seattle Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial statue in Pioneer Square.
Witnesses told police that Jarvinen became enraged at the man sleeping under the statue and began yelling at him. With little response from the man, she punched the victim in the head and Howell allegedly stomped the victim.
Witness Alvin Taniferro told Q13 FOX Howell and Jarvinen didn’t like the man’s “disrespect” of the monument, and that they became enraged he was sleeping beneath it.
“(Howell) said to me that he had a brother that died on duty that was a firemen and he didn’t appreciate the homeless sitting on these monuments,” Taniferro said.
Witnesses said the first victim didn’t try to fight back, and only tried to roll away from the three suspects.
Once witnesses intervened, Howell, Bullene and Jarvinen went to McCoy’s Firehouse for a short time. But the three soon returned to Pioneer square and Bullene, who has previously been arrested for road rage and discharging a firearm in public, attacked another homeless man. Witnesses said he grabbed the homeless man’s large walking stick and — unprovoked — hit the man hard in the head.
The homeless man used his arm to defend himself against the stick and pulled out a small folding knife as Bullene prepared to strike again. He then stabbed Bullene in the stomach.
Police called to the scene first contacted Howell, who allegedly lied and said it was the homeless men who attacked his group. However, after multiple witness statements, Bullene, Howell and Jarvinen were arrested for suspected assault. Bullene was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery for minor stab wounds.
All three were intoxicated at the time of the attack, police said.
The firefighters have not yet been disciplined, because they were off-duty at the time of the attack. Any disciplinary action may await the outcome of criminal proceedings.
At least one of the men, Scott Bullene, has a history of aggression, as previously documented in a Q13FOX News report.