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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

July 22, 2009 at 11:19 AM

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Blow-dart victim: "I heard a little pop"

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan


A photo of the dart that struck Avram Dolen while he was riding his bike on the Ballard Bridge on Monday.

A 29-year-old man was riding his bike across the Ballard Bridge Monday night when felt a strange sensation in his left buttock. He looked down and was startled to see a four-inch steel dart sticking out of his rear end, according to a Seattle police report.

Avram Dolen said that he yanked out the dart and continued his ride home, focusing on the cars in front of him in case he spotted the person responsible. Once he reached home, the Ballard man dialed 911.

"I heard a little pop sound, which was followed by a stinging sensation afterward," Dolen said today. "My first thought was I got hit by a rock but then it kept stinging. I went down to feel what it was and there was a four-inch dart sticking out of my left buttock."

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Seattle police said that around the same time, a 39-year-old woman riding her bike near the bridge was also struck by a dart in the 5000 block of Eighth Avenue Northwest. That woman, who was shot in the right thigh, reported the incident to police on Tuesday.

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Neither bicyclist could offer police a description of the assailant. The shootings occurred between 6 and 6:30 p.m., police said. Both bicyclists were shot with darts fired from a blow gun, police said.

"The timeframe means it is probably the same suspect," police spokesman Mark Jamieson said today. "We don't have a suspect description, it's likely from a moving car."

Officers photographed the dart from the first incident and kept the dart that the woman pulled out of her leg. Dolen said that he acted on the advice of police and took the dart to Swedish Medical Center, Ballard Campus, with the hope that doctors could test it for poisons. Doctor's couldn't test it; Dolen said he was given a tetanus shot.

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