Sherwin Bruce Seed is the Washington man accused of pulling a gun inside a grocery store and threatening another shopper with it during an argument over masks. The incident happened on July 16 at a Fred Meyer store in Tumwater, Washington.
The argument started after a second man asked Seed, who was not wearing a mask, to cover his face “like the rest of us,” according to the probable cause statement Heavy obtained from the Thurston County prosecutor’s office. Seed countered that he believed the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax and threatened to shoot the man if he didn’t “get the f*** away” from him.
The Tumwater Police Department said Seed resisted arrest when officers arrived at the grocery store and they eventually wrestled him to the ground. A witness filmed Seed lying on the ground as officers put him in handcuffs.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sherwin Seed Refused to Wear a Mask & Threatened to Shoot the Other Man If He Didn’t Back Off: Prosecutor
Seed was not wearing a mask when he went shopping at a Fred Meyer superstore in Tumwater on July 16. According to the probable cause statement prepared by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Jackson, the victim told police that he approached Seed in the produce section of the store and told Seed that he should “put on a mask like the rest of us.”
Seed told the other man that he believed COVID-19 was a hoax, that he would not wear a mask and told the man to get away from him. But the victim continued to argue with Seed about why it was important and eventually laughed at Seed. The complaint states Seed then pulled a .22 caliber revolver and pointed it at the man’s chest. Seed told the man, “Get the f*** away” and threatened to shoot the man if he did not back off.
There is a statewide mandate in Washington requiring people to wear masks in public. The order from the Department of Health went into effect on June 26. The governor has also instructed business owners to enforce the mandate. The proclamation states: “No business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct business with a customer inside any building that is open to the public or outdoors in a public place unless the customer is wearing a face covering.”
2. Seed Refused to Surrender His Weapon & Physically Fought Against Five Officers, Police Said
Seed continued to shop after the confrontation with the other man. The probable cause statement notes that Tumwater Police were dispatched to the grocery store about a “gun complaint.” The officers first spoke with the victim before approaching Seed.
Seed tried to ignore the officers when they asked to speak with him, the prosecutor said. According to Tumwater Police, the officers told Seed they needed to disarm him in order to “make the scene safe for responding officers, employees, and patrons.” But Seed refused to hand over his weapon and “tried to pull away from officers as they approached.”
The situation escalated and officers wrestled Seed to the ground. The prosecutor explained that while on the ground, “it appeared to the officers that Seed was attempting to grab his firearm, and Seed himself stated aloud, ‘You’re not getting my gun.'” During the melee, Seed tried to bite one of the officers, the complaint states. Police attempted to use a taser to subdue Seed but according to the complaint, it was “not effective.” The statement adds, “In all, it took five police officers to gain control of Mr. Seed and place him in handcuffs.”
Bernie Friedman witnessed the arrest and recorded a portion of it on his cellphone. He told KING-TV that while he takes the coronavirus seriously, he didn’t agree with the other man’s decision to approach Seed. “When I see people not wearing a mask, I just socially distant myself from them I don’t want to get in a debate with anyone about it.”
3. Seed’s Mother Responded ‘Well, He Did’ When Told That Her Son Was Accused of Pointing a Gun at Another Shopper
Seed’s mother was in the store during her son’s arrest, although it was not clear how much of the exchange she personally witnessed. According to the probable cause statement, police located Seed’s mother in the store and she “stated she needed to know everything about what happened with her son being arrested.” An officer informed her that Seed was accused of pointing a gun at another shopper. She responded, “Well he did.”
Seed was booked into the Thurston County Corrections Facility just after noon on July 16. He appeared remotely before Judge Carol Murphy in Thurston County Superior Court the following day. The judge formally charged Seed with resisting arrest as well as second and third-degree assault. Bail was set at $50,000. Seed’s next court hearing was scheduled for July 28.
4. Prosecutor: Seed Was Diagnosed With a Mental Health Issue
Seed’s defense lawyer pushed for his client to be released from custody without needing to post bail. According to the Olympian, attorney Kevin Griffin argued that Seed had no prior criminal cases on his record and did not pose a danger to the community.
Prosecutor Scott Jackson disagreed with that sentiment and argued that Seed’s decision to fight the officers made bail necessary. Jackson also cited court documents that indicated Seed was diagnosed with a mental health issue, the Olympian reported, and argued that Seed should not be permitted to own a firearm. Heavy reached out to Jackson for clarification but he responded that he could not answer any questions about a defendant’s mental health.
Judge Murphy decided to post bail at $50,000 but left open the possibility that it could be lowered at a later date. She ordered that Seed be evaluated by a crisis responder and forfeit any weapons.
5. Seed Owned a Company Called ‘Angry Old Man Game Studio’
Seed previously operated a video game company called “Angry Old Man Game Studio,” according to Washington Secretary of State records. He registered the company as a non-profit organization with the state in 2015.
He wrote on the original paperwork that the purpose of the non-profit was “creating PC/computer games at low or no cost to customers.” The nature of the business was listed as “scientific.” Records show Seed did not file an annual report in 2020 and “Angry Old Man Game Studio” was listed as “delinquent” as of April 1.
Seed does not appear to be employed elsewhere. The Olympian, citing his defense attorney, reported that Seed lives off small payments from Social Security Disability Insurance.