The Seattle Target hostage situation that resolved with one arrest and no injuries on Friday was documented by the suspect, who posted a series of live-tweets over the course of the seven-hour ordeal.
Just after midnight, Seattle police placed the suspect in custody, according to local reports.
While officials did not release his name, the Twitter account of a Timothy Clemans — still live on the platform as of Monday evening — claimed responsibility for the hostile takeover as the first reports emerged.
Throughout the night, Clemans posted a string of blurry photos and rambling videos from inside the store, giving updates on his negotiations with police and claiming to be in need of psychiatric help. His final upload, timestamped just before his arrest, shows SWAT team members pushing through a hasty barricade of shopping carts.
According to local station KTTH, Clemans was charged with assaulting a police officer and released without bond just a week before his arrest at Target.
Suspect Live-Tweets Target Hostage Situation
Emergency dispatchers told the station they were called at about 4:43 p.m. Friday from a man who said he planned to “take hostages to be on national news.” The suspect reportedly added that he was homeless and expressed a “need for mental health services.”
At 5:24 p.m., Clemans tweeted: “About to take hostages. Already alerted @seattlepd.”
Police documents obtained by KTTH allege that the suspect arrived at the westside Target and asked an employee where the knives were. Investigators said the suspect removed a knife from its packaging and began menacing customers, who he told were now his hostages.
A witness reportedly shouted to alert other customers, who began to evacuate. Seattle police were on the scene by 5:45 p.m., and a hostage negotiation team arrived soon after.
The standoff would drag on for another six hours, as the suspect kept in touch with negotiators on his cellphone and posted live-tweets from inside the Target. It’s not clear if any “hostages” remained inside with him after the initial evacuation, and the store appears empty in the photos posted to social media.
With no more hostages and no police confrontation, the suspect appeared to grow bored after the first hour or so of the siege.
“Peed twice on floor of Target I took over,” Clemans quipped just after 7:30 p.m. “Something tells me @Target is not going to hire me when they get out of jail,” he added minutes later.
“I was hoping to watch real TV, not a commercial,” Clemans captioned a blurry photo of the electronics department.
By 8 p.m., the suspect seemed to acknowledge that his hostage-taking plan had failed utterly.
“Thanks to gun control and being poor no gun to take hostages with and 29+ ppl I tried to take hostage ran like mad @seattlepd,” Clemans wrote.
He posted a video message minutes later.
“Well this court case is going to be fun,” Clemans said to the camera, apparently still wandering the store. “And no, I’m not representing myself. I cannot represent myself for sh—. I got super lucky that the prosecutor’s office did bulls— charges on me on that one […] See, my face is all messed up because I don’t have money for s—.”
By quarter to 9, Clemans said that the hostage negotiators had arranged for a public defender to call him.
At 10 p.m., the suspect uploaded another video, this time lamenting that he didn’t have access to firearms.
“So this is a very unique barricade situation that I’ve created,” Clemans said.
“So, what happened is, I didn’t have access to guns because of being a felon, not having money and connections to buy off the street, [and] I would not be able to assemble a ‘ghost gun’ if I had the money to purchase components or a 3D printer or whatever,” he said.
Still bored and possibly surprised that he had not yet been arrested, Clemans’ observations grew more mundane as the night dragged on.
“[The] standard, automated ‘we’re closed’ announcement just went off,” he wrote at 10:04 p.m., quickly adding, “We’re now 5 hourish into this.”
The standoff would last another two hours, during which Clemans posted a tweet berating the police negotiators. He also appeared to reference The Negotiator, a 1998 film about a hostage situation.
Just after midnight, police descended on the store. Clemans sent his final updates as tactical teams made their entry.
“SWAT just arrived big time!!!” he wrote at 12:05 a.m. His final post at 12:21 showed SWAT members closing in.
Suspect Known to Cops Before Target Hostage Situation
According to KTTH, Clemans has many prior arrests and a long history of confronting police. The outlet alleged that he attempted “suicide-by-cop” on eleven occasions between 2018 and 2019, though this claim could not be immediately verified by Breaking Daily News.
On one such instance, the station reported, Clemans “showed up to a police station with an airsoft gun that had been modified to look like an operable handgun and attempted to commit suicide by police through pointing the gun at five police officers while yelling and shaking.”
Clemans was also reportedly arrested earlier this month after police said he assaulted an officer. He was released on his own recognizance — that is, without paying bail — despite the objections of prosecutors.
He’s also been accused of taking hostages in the past. According to Fox News, Clemans was charged with attempting a hostile takeover at a grocery store last August, and was arrested for pulling a knife at a Target in January 2020.
Most bizarrely, Clemans appears to have a personal relationship with the Seattle Police Department, where he was once employed in a civilian capacity.
Reports indicate that in 2015, Clemans inundated state and local law enforcement across Washington with requests for digital data under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He retracted the thousands of requests after Seattle police offered him a job helping the department comply with FOIA and transparency guidelines.
Clemans accepted the offer, though it’s unclear how long he was affiliated with the department.