Update: Photos of West Seattle graffiti-vandalism suspect

(scroll down, more photos added at 3:36 pm)
As we reported earlier today, we were awaiting word on whether police would be able to release a photo of the West Seattle vandalism suspect who’s wanted for multiple instances of marking/painting a specific three-word anti-gay slur – and now a photo’s out, along with a few more details on SPDBlotter, which says he’s charged with five counts of property destruction, and is indeed the same man arrested earlier this year: 31-year-old Ryan Joshua Cox. SPD Media Unit Officer Renee Witt also tells us a second photo will be made public shortly, “showing him walking away from one of the crime scenes.” From the SPDBlotter report:

He is believed to be homeless and may be wearing multiple layers of clothing to keep warm. He may be wearing a dark colored jacket with a red collar and carrying a red satchel.

Cox is known to suffer from mental illness. Due to the volatility of his behavior, citizens should not approach him.

Anyone with information regarding Cox’s location is urged to call either 911 or the Southwest Precinct Detectives at 206 233-2623. Those wishing to remain anonymous are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800 222-TIPS (8477) or send a text to CRIMES (274637). Your text message should include “TIP486” to ensure proper routing. If a tip leads to an arrest and the filing of charges, callers may qualify for a cash reward of up to $1000. Calls are taken 24 hours a day.

Cox spent almost a month in jail after his arrest last May; he was also charged then with property destruction, but the charges were eventually dropped when he was found not competent to stand trial. He was referred for a state-hospital evaluation at that time. The graffiti vandalism started reappearing about three months ago, and most recently had expanded to an even-wider area than where it had repeatedly been done before, including multiple incidents in the Admiral District. ADDED 3:36 PM: The aforementioned additional photo is actually THREE photos, and they have been released by police via SPDBlotter:

6:13 PM UPDATE: Got an e-mail report that similar tagging happened apparently within the past hour in the 5400 block of California SW. The person who spotted it has called police.

46 Replies to "Update: Photos of West Seattle graffiti-vandalism suspect"

  • RobertSeattle December 16, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    Let me guess – he doesn’t have a PhD in Astrophysics…

  • Scar December 16, 2009 (2:42 pm)

    What a loser.

  • Kara December 16, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    Crazy and homeless?! I have no words for how upset that makes me.

  • Mary T December 16, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    This is sad all around.

  • mark December 16, 2009 (2:50 pm)

    So if he is living in a city park, does that mean he might also be illegally armed? That might be 2 strikes right there!!!!

  • frog baseball December 16, 2009 (2:52 pm)

    he’s homeless? does that mean that the city will cater to his every whim now?

  • Since 1984 December 16, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Tie a cinder block to his ankle and toss him in the Duwamish, right Mark, Frog & Scar? Nothing like that good ol’ Westside compassion.

  • mark December 16, 2009 (3:31 pm)

    Actually, if he is guilty of graffiti and has mental health issues I prefer his index (spray panting finger) be broken and then sent off to get treatment for the mental issues. The bad news for him and you and all of us is the Republicans have pretty much eliminated all mental health assistance starting with Reagan. He will go to jail, for a few months, be ordered to pay restitution and never pay it. Back in the same park by the fall.

  • Kara December 16, 2009 (3:40 pm)

    The city does not cater to homelessness; if anything they ignore the issue.

  • JenV December 16, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    this guy is a POS and it’s not too long before he escalates from simple horrible graffiti to attacking a same-sex couple when he snaps. send him off to Western.

  • bsmomma December 16, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    In no way am I defending him or what he has done. It’s wrong and disgusting. But seriously, I know for a fact that some of his family members read the Blog. They are already feeling horrible that there relative has done something like this and so sad that he has chosen this path. I hope they don’t read what some people have written.

  • frog baseball December 16, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    so if someone does something wrong their family should be shielded from the consequences? i hope noone offended gay ridgeways family when he was sentenced!

  • Denise December 16, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    JenV – I totally agree….

  • Fauntleroyian December 16, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    glad he is finally caught. i’m tired of cleaning up after him and it is worse since he does it near a school.

  • velo_nut December 16, 2009 (4:34 pm)

    No sympathy for this guy.

  • B and F\'s mama December 16, 2009 (5:04 pm)

    I’m with bsmomma – your comments, frog, do nothing to change or improve the situation. It’s unlikely that Ryan reads the blog. And just knowing that his family does should shame us all into exhibiting a little human compassion, especially at this time of year. I am personally mortified by the writings, but it’s unfortunate when we use this blog – a great community forum – in this way. I just hope we don’t let this blog devolve into the idiocy that we same on some of the other major news sites’ comments sections.

    That said, I’ve clearly fed the troll for the day.

  • Kayleigh December 16, 2009 (5:10 pm)

    what part of him being mentally ill don’t some of you understand? I guess ALL of it.
    Bsmomma, people have said horrible things here about others whose families and friends read here, too. It’s fun to hate and call people names on an anonymous blog! Woo hoo! The harsher some people are, the cooler they think they are.
    I hope he is apprehended and given the help he needs, for his own sake and for the community’s sake.

    • WSB December 16, 2009 (5:43 pm)

      To the point about comments, something we’ve said many times before but I’ll say it again …
      You don’t see what we do delete (more often than deleting, it is caught by the filter because of particular words that our system flags, so it is never approved).
      We have gone a lot further than most in prohibiting name-calling and outright trolling *between those participating in the discussion*.
      Deciding to go further and ban all negative opining, including criticism of a story subject, is a step I’m not ready to take. Community moderation is difficult. And we get bashed ourselves for various reasons. But sometimes difficult discussions bring a little light into a situation, strange but true. I can think of several examples here lately.
      Also I don’t know if this is exactly what Kayleigh meant, but WSB is not “an anonymous blog.” It is a blog-format news site (though the site is only part of the content we produce – we also run Facebook and Twitter streams which do more than regurgitate WSB links) run by Patrick and me, and we stopped being anonymous two years ago. (See the “About” page.) We do not require registration for commenting because I have seen that do nothing but stifle discussion at various sites, and unless you require proof of ID (faxed driver license or something), people still sign up under pseudonyms. (Not to mention, the true ulterior motive for registration at many sites is to get your personal data for marketing use. For better or for worse, we are not interested in that.)
      The many times instant discussion has done good – from snowstorm info-sharing to “what’s that helicopter doing overhead?” — vastly outnumber the difficult discussions. And we do monitor for outright trolling. We have only had to do this a handful of times in four years, but if you routinely do nothing but troll (and as our comment policy says, the definition of that is ‘we know it when we see it’), you will be filtered.
      Anyone is welcome to e-mail us with a comment concern at any time; we don’t currently unfortunately have an instant “report this/abuse” button on the comment form as we do in the forum, but if you say “comment x in story x concerns me because (whatever),” we’ll get to it and evaluate as soon as we can – TR

  • Ed December 16, 2009 (5:33 pm)

    I swear I have seen this guy selling Real Change outsite the Admiral Safeway…

  • mark December 16, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    I would tend to agree kayleigh. I am sure his family is at wits end if not long before. Its sad that he has never got the help he needed and to be honest, he probably never will. I can only speak for myself, if I caught someone vandalizing my property I would take care of the situation, then call SPD. Eventually he will run into someone worse than I am and the story will get sadder. Its all a matter of when, not if. Very sad.

  • miws December 16, 2009 (5:56 pm)

    KOMO 4 News just ran a teaser for this story, for the upcoming 6:00 p.m. Broadcast



    • WSB December 16, 2009 (6:13 pm)

      MIWS, SPD put the photos out to everybody so other media finally picked up on it; I’m told a few called after seeing our morning report, pre-photos, regarding the arrest warrant. I’m sure something’s on all channels tonight (I know from Twitter it’s on other news sites). Adding another tidbit to this story by the way – the guy may have struck again in the past hour in the 5400 block of California SW.

  • seven December 16, 2009 (6:06 pm)

    Homophobic or was he rallying against cigarettes? I want to see what the graffiti said.

  • PapaC December 16, 2009 (6:20 pm)

    And he’s left handed. I knew those people couldn’t be trusted.

  • Leroniusmonkfish December 16, 2009 (6:20 pm)

    He was identified on the WSB back on May, 18th 2009….

    Note the mention of “carrying a partially empty gallon jug of milk”.


  • Catherine December 16, 2009 (6:34 pm)

    I hope he gets the help he needs, too. I hope they don’t just throw him in jail and then let him out months later without rehabilitating him, or he’ll be at it again as soon as he can find a Sharpie.

    I finally found out what the graffiti actually says and it’s really sick. I’ve seen that guy around before.

  • Dunno December 16, 2009 (6:44 pm)

    I’ve written on the blog and contacted police several times only to be blown off by the 911 operator. I do feel bad for his family and hope he gets help at a in-patient facility. I’ve watched him work out for hours at a time in and around the north end of Lincoln Park. I’ve tried to talk to him without a reply ever. I’m happy to see that Law enforcement is finally getting to this matter before someone gets hurt. I think the first time I posted about this guy was last spring, about 8 months or so ago.

  • old timer December 16, 2009 (7:03 pm)

    @ PapaC –

    He’s got feet too!
    You know you can’t trust people with feet either.
    And people with tongues – well, they’re the worst.

  • Lisa E. December 16, 2009 (8:00 pm)

    Big thanks to the guy who is taking over Westside Pharmacy. My daughter and I were waiting for the school bus on California and Brandon this morning, and we saw the graffiti on the side of the building. Thank you for cleaning it up so quickly. I didn’t feel like explaining what the words meant to my 7-year-old before she got on the bus! We’ll definitely be switching our prescriptions to you when you open.

  • Juanita December 16, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Yes, the family is reading this thread. They are a long time West Seattle family and darnright good people. Ryan does have mental illness and the family has done all they can to help him. They have contacted the police to help with this arrest. He was seen this morning. He has had 2 or more court ordered 2 week sessions of mental health care but you can’t MAKE someone take their meds after they are released. Also, comparing a mass murderer and rapist like Gary Ridgeway to an anti-gay tagger is just wrong.

  • Juanita December 16, 2009 (8:57 pm)

    Yes, this is the guy that sells Real Change outside Admiral Safeway. If you see him, please call 911 so they can pick him up.

  • Glenda December 16, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    1) The West Seattle Blog does an excellent job of moderating comments, and I also love that we seem to “self regulate” rather well, by calling commenters on things we don’t agree with.

    2) If this guy is your relative and you are reading this, thanks for doing the right thing and for trying to do the right thing with him all these years, I’m sure it must be hard.

  • West Seattle December 16, 2009 (10:00 pm)

    “He has had 2 or more court ordered 2 week sessions of mental health care but you can’t MAKE someone take their meds ”

    that’s impossible, according to Seattle orthodoxy no such services exist for the homeless.

  • Karl December 16, 2009 (10:15 pm)

    Gary Busey?

  • DownOnAlki December 16, 2009 (11:07 pm)

    I noticed that same tag on Admiral at the “bridge” over Schmitz park/ It is on the south side, but on my way out, so I haven’t called the graffiti line. TR – have you seen and reported this instance? Not that it is your responsibility, but I didn’t want to duplicate the efforts. Thanks.

  • bl@ster December 16, 2009 (11:54 pm)

    Sounds like he needs some “real change” in his life. Guess he’ll be meeting some of those homosexuals he tags about — in prison.

  • bridge to somewhere December 17, 2009 (8:29 am)

    my first reaction was rage . . . and if it were some kids or someone in a healthy mental state doing this tagging my rage would remain. but, as frustrating as it may be, it’s difficult to come down hard on someone who doesn’t truly know what they are doing. i am so incredibly angry about the tagging but i feel like jail is exactly the wrong thing for mentally ill people generally and perhaps this person in particular. i’m not what you’d call a bleeding heart liberal, but i do think there must be some different, more effective approach to the mentally ill that will make our country (including the mentally ill inside it) much more safe and happy. i don’t have the answer — but i feel i know a wrong answer when i see it.

  • wseye December 17, 2009 (9:06 am)

    This is a very sad situation. This man has a mental condition and needs to be living in a supervised environment like a group home. Having him out on the steets is bad for him, and it is bad for us.

  • cherylc December 17, 2009 (9:09 am)

    Ugh, what a horrible situation. I feel compassion for this guy. I imagine it’s pretty horrible to be in his head. But he also sounds like he could be dangerous, and shouldn’t be on the street.

  • AJP December 17, 2009 (9:35 am)

    I’m glad to see that people with a little more insight and understanding are posting comments now. It isn’t a black-and-white situation. What he’s doing is totally wrong, but he does not have all his mental capability. Maybe he does need to be “locked up”, but I doubt prison is the right place for him.

  • Meghan December 17, 2009 (10:06 am)

    I couldn’t agree more with AJP and the others who are (compassionately) pointing out that this man has a mental illness. While I’m as outraged as anyone at the filth he’s writing on walls and bridges, I am more outraged that our “system” has no resources to help him. As has been reported, he was in custody before. But he was deemed unfit to stand trial, the charged were dropped, and he was released. Huh?! So back on the street he goes – and the cycle – predictably – repeats itself. Until we develop a network to help all the mentally ill people wandering our streets all over this country, we’re just going to have more of the same – violence, graffiti, vandalism – and a very frustrated public who feels they can’t do anything to stop it. UGH!!!

  • villagegreen December 17, 2009 (11:17 am)

    Well said, Meghan.

  • Paul in Gatewood December 17, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    This is a sad story all around, for the perpetrator as well as everybody else. I hope he is taken off the streets and is given a chance to get some real help. Mental illness is a terrible thing.

  • West Seattle December 17, 2009 (4:43 pm)

    ” I am more outraged that our “system” has no resources to help him”

    Huh? He was ordered into FREE mental health services but stopped going and refused to take his meds. How do you come to the conclusion that the ‘system’ has no resources for him?

  • beachcomber December 17, 2009 (8:11 pm)

    that’s the same guy that builds a hut on the beach over by Salty’s and at lowman park. yells racist and homophobic stuff at people, carrys a machete also. thanks for posting a headshot.

  • Glenn December 18, 2009 (9:42 am)

    As one of the original victims of Ryan Cox’s handiwork, I would like to say that I hope, now that he’s been arrested, that he gets the help that he is screaming out for. Unfortunately, I don’t have very much hope that our broken system will be able to provide that for him.

    His anti-social behavior is escalating and I hope no one has to get hurt, or worse before he gets the help that he needs.

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