VIDEO: Police shoot suspect accused of randomly attacking 71-year-old man with a hatchet

Opinion: Whatever judge or department that let this guy walk free knowing his violence was escalating should be criminally charged. This might be the only way to secure our streets from these radicals that want chaos to bring in their weird way of order.

Still frame from the Kent Police body camera video shows suspect Paleti Veniale with a knife in his hand before being shot by officers. (Kent Police video obtained by KOMO News)

Records show cases involving Paleti Veniale in King County Superior Court
Federal Way police are searching for this man pictured who is accused of seriously injuring a man around 8 a.m. at Town Square Park in Federal Way — located on Pete von Reichbauer Way South — on Dec. 21, 2023. (KOMO News)
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Still frame from the Kent Police body camera video shows suspect Paleti Veniale with a knife in his hand before being shot by officers. (Kent Police video obtained by KOMO News)
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Newly released video shows police officers shooting a suspect who was wanted for the unprovoked attack of a 71-year-old man at a park in Federal Way, Washington.

Prosecutors have now cleared the two Kent officers who shot Paleti Anikesi Veniale, 30, on December 23 near 24800 Pacific Highway South.

The video shows officers chase Veniale on foot across a road before he pivots with a large knife in his hand, and one officer falls to the ground. At that moment, the officers fire at Veniale, who then drops the large knife he was holding over the officer, the video shows.

RELATED: Suspect wanted for attacking man with hatchet at a Federal Way park shot by police in Kent


Veniale was wanted for attempted murder in connection to the violent attack on a stranger at a Federal Way park two days prior. According to court records, Veniale followed a 71-year-old man around Town Square Park before running up behind him and striking him with a hatchet on Dec. 21, 2023.

Video of the attack was captured by park surveillance cameras. Prosecutors said Veniale struck the victim numerous times, even after he had fallen to the ground.


According to prosecutors, the 25-second attack was completely unprovoked.

Police say Veniale ran off after the attack, and the victim was rushed to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries to the head, face, and chest. Initially, doctors said it was possible the victim wouldn’t survive his injuries, but he is now listed in satisfactory condition at Harborview almost three months later.

RELATED: ‘Armed and dangerous’ suspect who attacked man in Federal Way park shot by Kent police

Veniale was charged with attempted murder in the first degree. Prosecutors cited Veniale’s ‘extreme level of violence and extensive violent criminal history’ in charging documents that requested a bail of $1 million.

While Veniale was being treated for his gunshot wounds, court records show he tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl.


Even before the hatchet attack in Federal Way, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) was concerned about the danger Veniale presented to the public.

In April 2023, police arrested Veniale for allegedly attacking an EMT at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. An arrest report says Veniale punched the EMT in the face with no provocation in a hospital hallway.

Court filings show Veniale had 19 bench warrants since 2012. Prosecutors said in an affidavit they felt he presented a community safety concern and would likely commit another violent crime if released.

According to court records, Veniale has been repeatedly arrested for assaulting firefighters, police, and healthcare workers, as well as random attacks on strangers.


In 2017, Veniale punched a passenger in an unprovoked attack on a Metro bus. The assault knocked out the victim’s teeth and required stints to be placed in his throat, according to court records. In charging documents, prosecutors cited Veniale’s history of assaults, including stabbing someone in the neck with a pencil before the bus attack.

“The defendant’s escalating and unprovoked behavior is extremely disconcerting to the State,” a King County prosecutor wrote in charging documents.

Records show Veniale spent years going between the county jail, treatment centers, prison, and ultimately back into the community.


After the hospital attack in April 2023, a judge ordered Veniale to be taken to the Western State Hospital for psychiatric care to restore him to competency to stand trial. The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) failed to get Veniale into the hospital until August, according to court records.

In a December court filing, a judge ordered the state to pay Veniale $6,900 for the two months he spent incarcerated waiting for treatment at the state hospital.

RELATED: Former doctor, prosecutor accuse state of recklessly releasing patients from Western State Hospital

After two months in the state hospital, he was released and booked back into jail in October for his pending cases. The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) took custody of Veniale on Dec. 5, and he spent approximately two weeks in custody before being released on Dec. 18, 2023 – two days before the Federal Way park attack.

DOC records indicate that when Veniale was released to the community, he was ordered to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment and had no firearms, burglary tools, or drug paraphernalia.


After the hatchet attack at Town Square Park, Federal Way Police obtained pictures of the suspect from Metro bus surveillance cameras. According to police reports, officers in Kent recognized Veniale as the man in the Federal Way bulletin about the park attack.

The same officer who shot Veniale in December was previously involved in an incident with him in May 2020.

Charging documents in the 2020 case allege police encountered Veniale with a machete and a knife at a homeless encampment on Kent Des Moines Road.


The officer said Veniale jumped toward him, holding the knife and machete ‘in a cross-like position’ while yelling at him.

“[The officer] believed the male was going to try to hit him with the knife and machete,” charging documents stated. The Kent officers tased Veniale, and he was eventually arrested. Prosecutors charged him with assault in the third degree.

“The defendant’s immediate and violent reaction to [Kent officer] is quite alarming. He has a violent criminal history which includes one conviction for assault in the second degree, one conviction for assault in the third degree, and two for assault in the fourth degree,” prosecutors wrote in a charging document. “Because of his conduct in this case and his criminal history, the defendant poses a significant danger to the community and is likely to commit further violent offenses if released.”

Veniale pleaded guilty to the charge in 2021 and could have faced up to five years in prison. A judge determined the time he had already served in jail was sufficient, and he was released from custody after sentencing.


In charging documents for the park hatchet attack, prosecutors recapped Veniale’s extensive criminal history and his repeated violations of release conditions.

“The defendant is unlikely to comply with future court orders. Furthermore, the defendant faces a standard range including the deadly weapon enhancement of approximately 19.5 to 25 years for this charge,” deputy prosecuting attorney Raymond Lee wrote in charging documents.

The bail amount was granted, and Veniale remains in the King County Jail while his case moves through court. His next court hearing is scheduled for June.

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Written by Colin

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