Police investigation in The Junction after “deceased male” found

April 12, 2010 at 7:40 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 56 Comments

ORIGINAL 7:40 AM REPORT: A police investigation is under way in The Junction right now, and the north sidewalk on SW Alaska is cordoned off in the block between California SW and 44th. Det. Mark Jamieson in the SPD media unit confirms that they’re investigating a “deceased male” but says “it’s way too soon to tell if (he died) from natural or other causes.” He says the call came in from the Fire Department at 5:50 am; the 911 log shows an aid call to that area at 5:42 am. At the scene, what appears to be a covered body is visible just west of the bus waiting area between Easy Street and Twilight (behind the police car in our photo – we don’t show bodies, covered or not). Officers at the scene would say only that they were awaiting the Medical Examiner‘s arrival. The investigation has put a bus waiting area off limits, so riders are being directed to the next northbound stop along 44th. We’ll be checking with authorities later to find out whether this turns out to have been natural causes, or not. Thanks to those who e-mailed/called/texted about this; the first note was from Jonathon, who wrote, “When I arrived at my bus stop in the Junction around 5:45 this morning, a fire truck was just pulling up. A gentleman on a bicycle had called 911 out of concern for someone laying face-down in the alcove of the art collective. The cyclist had shaken the man but was unable to elicit a response. The firefighters also shook him and checked for a pulse; I couldn’t tell from where I was standing what they concluded, but the man certainly wasn’t moving.”

8:11 AM UPDATE: The body’s been removed and so has the police tape, so the bus area is open again. 8:42 AM NOTE: We checked back with Det. Jamieson, who notes that homicide detectives were not called out, so while an official cause of death isn’t in yet, that indicates no obvious sign of foul play. We will continue checking.

56 Comments

  1. May he rest in peace.

    Comment by Kate K — 9:24 am April 12, 2010 #

  2. I pray the man is not a friend of mine who is homeless and alcoholic.

    Comment by westsidenettie — 9:51 am April 12, 2010 #

  3. oh that is so sad

    Comment by LMA — 10:03 am April 12, 2010 #

  4. How terrible! Poor man.

    Comment by Noelle — 10:16 am April 12, 2010 #

  5. Please let us know the identity of this person when/if you find out. Thanks

    Comment by rs261 — 11:13 am April 12, 2010 #

  6. It was hard seeing this on the way to work this morning. Very sad. :(

    Comment by Kayleigh — 11:27 am April 12, 2010 #

  7. We may not get the name any sooner than tomorrow – but will be checking with the Medical Examiner regarding that and the cause of death – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:50 am April 12, 2010 #

  8. I am so sad for him and his family and friends. WSB: Thank you for having a policy of not showing the deceased’s covered body in the photo.

    Comment by me on 28th Ave SW — 12:09 pm April 12, 2010 #

  9. Condolences to his friends and family. This man was there since at least 10:30 pm last night. I was waiting for a bus and noticed him after a dog..with owner… barked at him passing by. I mistook him for a sleeping vagrant. This is very unfortunate, but I will be much more cognizant and not rely on assumptions in the future. Sad.

    Comment by LovingWS — 12:37 pm April 12, 2010 #

  10. LovingWS, was he alive when you saw him? It is unthinkable to believe that a dead body was laying in one of the busiest sections of West Seattle for over 6 hours.

    Comment by ljd — 12:55 pm April 12, 2010 #

  11. If I knew he wasn’t I wouldn’t have left him there. Unfortunately, having lived several years in belltown, seeing a person laying in an alcove isn’t unusual. I would pass 8-10 on the way to work daily.
    He didn’t look to be moving, but I dont usually see sleeping people moving much either. I was also across the street.
    Like I said, I wont rely on assumptions in the future.

    Comment by LovingWS — 3:01 pm April 12, 2010 #

  12. It’s very sad, but not unthinkable. Unfortunately, we become used to seeing people sleeping or passed out in doorways. Unless there’s blood or other signs of trauma, most would assume that this poor person was sleeping/passed out.

    Comment by gyngersnap — 3:19 pm April 12, 2010 #

  13. I was just curious to know how long the body was there. I am in the process of moving out of West Seattle because the crime has just become too great to tolerate any more (I don’t get used to seeing people lay around… this is a crime called loitering). A dead body laying in the Times Square of West Seattle for this long is just proof that the police presence in West Seattle is really lacking.

    Comment by ljd — 4:03 pm April 12, 2010 #

  14. The Junction has two virtually dedicated police officers (not official beat cops but they are on a special permanent assignment). We’ve written about them before. And our precinct actually is slightly more staffed than other precincts around town. If you don’t think the staffing level in general is adequate, PLEASE contact the City Council and Mayor because a very ugly budget cycle is about to begin.
    .
    Meantime, we do not know how long the person was there and we don’t know whether they were still alive or not when the earlier commenter walked by. Like it or not, there are areas all over our city where people do sleep in doorways at night. I haven’t seen the phenomenon much in West Seattle – if you are down in Pioneer Square, for example, after dark, it seems as if every doorway or recessed area from the street is somebody’s bunk – but I can see why somebody would have walked by and not thought to call the police – it’s common in many places. Before we left San Diego 19 years ago, even our out-of-the-way beach-neighborhood apartment building had a couple that rolled up by the parking lot dumpster every night with cardboard and settled in, steps from our front door. Back to the West Seattle issue – I honestly don’t know if police respond to a call about someone sleeping in public but will ask (I am waiting for a reply on several other inquiries, related to this and not related to this, right now) … TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:34 pm April 12, 2010 #

  15. To the person who thinks they saw the man last night:
    Perhaps you should call the non-emergent police line and share your information so they have abetter timeline?

    Comment by ad — 4:45 pm April 12, 2010 #

  16. That poor person who died was on a block that is a Bus stop hub. That block is where people often are seen waiting around for their busses or to meet up with someone getting off a bus. Lots of people sit on the ground or just wander around to spend the time until their bus gets there. There are usually lots of teens there as well, skate boarding or just handing out by the bank steps in nice weather. It is a busy place, but seeing people hanging out is quite common.

    Comment by Noelle — 5:00 pm April 12, 2010 #

  17. hey ldj – what Utopia are you moving to where there is no crime ?

    Comment by Mr JT — 5:52 pm April 12, 2010 #

  18. ljd..I’m very curious as to where you are going to move that isn’t West Seattle, that doesn’t have crime. This person could possibly have died from natural causes, you know. Not all people are as lucky as you to be able to afford to relocate to another place just like that. And this poor man was probably homeless.

    I wish you luck feeling safe in your new neighborhood. I’ve been in West Seattle for 35 years, walk to Safeway at midnight. I feel safe for the most part, and probably a lot safer than in some other neighborhoods in this city.

    Comment by JanS — 5:55 pm April 12, 2010 #

  19. LJD, last time I checked it was not a crime to die on a public sidewalk. You’re making some assumptions about what happened here. Also, you take a risk if you try to wake someone up. They could become belligerent. I know I do sometimes. It is sad that some people have nowhere else to sleep, but homelessness is not a crime, either. And unless you’re planning to move to a small town off the beaten path, I doubt you’ll find anyplace safer than West Seattle. I don’t really think West Seattle’s becoming more dangerous. Our perception is changing because we have more information.

    Comment by KBear — 6:09 pm April 12, 2010 #

  20. This is certainly very sad, but let’s not pretend that seeing someone lying in a doorway – whether in West Seattle, Pioneer Square, or Belltown – is an unusual occurrence. And let’s face it, shaking or tapping the person is generally not a good idea. Many homeless people are addicts and/or mentally ill and can be violent (or just really cranky)! People will continue to (regularly) die on the streets all over America as long as we accept it as acceptable. Once there are actually adequate resources for homeless people, we’ll be able to tell the difference between the mentally ill or addicts who need help and people/families who are unemployed or have lost their homes… and be able to act accordingly. Now it’s an overwhelming combination of both.

    Comment by Meghan — 6:13 pm April 12, 2010 #

  21. The “utopia” I am moving to is Bellevue. One of the reasons I am moving is because last summer I came across a man trying to break in to my house. I confronted him and he left. When I called SPD to report this in the hope they would aprehend him they suggested I get a gun (if I had one) because they were responding to a car accident and wouldn’t be able to send a car to my house right away. Guess what? They never even showed up. I’d like to live in a community where it is a big deal if a human is laying on the ground. Communities are defined by what they do and do not tolerate. A body laying on the sidewalk going unnoticed for 8 hours is not something I am willing to tolerate… or police not responding to a break in, or people walking down the street and being shot to death in front of Talaricos.

    Comment by ljd — 6:32 pm April 12, 2010 #

  22. Well said, KBear. My sister lives in a very affluent neighborhood on the eastside and one of her neighbors had a psychotic break and shot at neighborhood children. (Didn’t hit anybody, thankfully. Then was talked into disarming by another neighbor, and arrested.) I think even small towns off the beaten path have problems. It’s a part of life.

    Comment by cherylc — 6:55 pm April 12, 2010 #

  23. Well stated Meghan.

    Comment by kg — 7:33 pm April 12, 2010 #

  24. ljd-Im glad to hear youre leaving our area.I hope the desert island works for you.Ive been in West Seattle all my life and raised my kids here.Not to mention my cousins from Minnesota loved it so much here they too are moving here this summer.Id never live anywhere else.This community has its own paper and lots events all year round for all ages.The crime here is minimal compared to many other areas.I take it you dont shop downtown where theres beggars and sleepers aplenty in doorways.Or are you above eveyone else that you avoid it all together.Most of us are a paycheck away from being that sleeping person in the doorway.Have a heart, get a clue.I laughed when you said youre moving to Bellevue,maybe you belong there with the other snobs but I can tell you theres enough crime there to fill the pages of the police blog also.

    Comment by alki resident — 7:42 pm April 12, 2010 #

  25. Lid – I understand how you feel. I like West Seattle, but in the 8 years we have lived here our car has been stolen and our house broken into. In our forties, this never happened anywhere else. If it happens again, we will likely move as well. Did some research, in this area Bellevue would be a good choice to lower the crime risk.

    Comment by Junctionite — 7:48 pm April 12, 2010 #

  26. Bellevue? Utopia? VOMIT

    Comment by SpeakLoud — 8:38 pm April 12, 2010 #

  27. I think we have to acknowledge that regardless of where we live, and how safe or insafe we feel, ours is a culture of misplaced priorities.

    We have a stiadium downtown with a roof that closes. And on rainy nights, people sleep huddled up to its walls outside.

    Comment by BadwolfZanda — 9:12 pm April 12, 2010 #

  28. Ljd, ooh your moving on up to the Eastside. That’s so safe. Haha… I lived over there for 10 years I remember that whole family that was slaughtered there just a few years ago and if your not busy getting killed in your own house try driving around the streets. You’ll get assaulted by a bunch of Mercedes driving mad people on their way to work. Road Rage!!! Anyways Like someone said in one of the other post dying on the sidewalk is not considered a crime yet. I know that most criminals don’t rob houses in their neighborhood. They go to the upper eastside because those people have larger plasma televisions.

    Comment by Pete — 9:20 pm April 12, 2010 #

  29. We don’t know the particulars of this case yet but my heart goes out to this individual who died alone in the cold and dark. May he rest in peace.

    I did witness something once in Moscow, Russia that made a strong impression to me. One morning as I was going out, I saw a man lying on the ground next to the tracks of the local subway station. I assumed he was drunk since it is not uncommon to see people passed out drunk all over Moscow. Scores of people just walked by and stepped over him. When I returned home about 8-10 hours later, I noticed the body still in the same spot with a coarse blanket over the entire body. The crowds were not stopping, still stepping over/around the body to enter the subway car.

    It is a tough world. I am reminded that my small problems are petty when I think about the people who are alone and without the ability or means to care for themselves.

    Comment by Mags — 9:40 pm April 12, 2010 #

  30. That’s right ljd, move away from the problem. I’m sure nothing bad will ever happen to you in utopian Bellevue. Maybe there you’ll get an opportunity to make the world a better place. You missed your chance here. I actually feel sorry for you.

    Comment by gyngersnap — 10:15 pm April 12, 2010 #

  31. love the bellevue bashing! so classy west seattle. at least bellevue has a whole foods. west seattle just has a hole.

    Comment by ljd — 10:39 pm April 12, 2010 #

  32. ljd — so sorry that happened to you. How frightening. It’s completely understandable that you would want to move.

    Comment by anna — 11:11 pm April 12, 2010 #

  33. Did the smart and thoughtful commentators take the night off, or what?

    Comment by wseadawg — 11:18 pm April 12, 2010 #

  34. Good for you, ljd…although to be honest, I’d cut off a crucial part of my anatomy before moving to the eastside (California North).
    .
    As for you guys on ljd’s case, you should dedicate your considerable wit to finding ways to make our community safer and deter crime. The Police aren’t equipped to do it, their mission changed from prevention to response years ago. It’s up to us if we want anything to change.

    Comment by José — 11:21 pm April 12, 2010 #

  35. I live in the Alaska Junction area and am very fond of all the great things West Seattle has to offer. I’m very sad for this man passing away and I hope it never happens again, but we must be happy and comfortable with where we live. Period. LJD, I hope you find peace in Bellevue. I, on the other hand, will be looking forward to more sun and the West Seattle Fair come this summer!

    Comment by GGG — 11:21 pm April 12, 2010 #

  36. For all the LJD lovers and haters, think for a second about three things: statistics, fear-mongering, and your role in our region’s crime.
    .
    Statistics: This body was found at a major bus hub. Hundreds if not thousands of people occupy this intersection daily, hundreds of thousands annually, and this is the first such incident. One body in probably a million visitors. In most towns, those kinds of stats would be a blessing.
    .
    Fear-mongering: With the statistics, the leap to crime is an unfortunate diversion from an otherwise-pointless discussion. If you’re going to help a homeless guy, great. If you’re going to walk on by, great. But to take what was obviously a sick person dying on the street and conflate the topic with a discussion of crime and ethics? Some junkies dropped a dead girl off at the Roxbury Safeway, and drove off, and it didn’t draw as much chatter. That was scary White Center too!
    .
    Regional crime: If you do choose to conflate the sad side of our shared human condition and crime, why don’t you f’ing do something about it? I’m not talking about blockwatch or calling 911 whenever you see a black guy, I’m talking about yelling at drug addicts and losers loitering in our neighborhood. Two kinds of people steal stuff: drug addicts and kids. Chase out the drug addicts by treating them like crap and they won’t hang out all day and night waiting for you to leave your cell phone on your dashboard.
    .
    Nice going, commenters. Somehow, every time there’s an article on WSB with more than 10 comments, it’s a blow-up that turns the story into a race war. Grow up or please do move somewhere whiter. When you hear a big guy with glasses yelling at the loser harrassing people behind the Husky Deli, that’s me.

    Comment by roche — 11:58 pm April 12, 2010 #

  37. Sorry that we still don’t have any more information on this than we did by midmorning. My next opportunity to check with police is around 7:30 am. To José’s point, I sat in the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council meeting tonight (story to come tomorrow) and that is exactly what the main topic of their meeting was – taking action for a safer community, With police help but not relying on them.
    .
    To Roche’s last point, you may well not read all the comment threads and I wouldn’t expect anyone to, unless it was part of their job, as it is for us. While the discussions do range widely, to say the least, I do want to stand up for commenters’ honor … we have been quite heartened lately to see a wide variety of topics drawing significant discussion – including some of the important issues that come up at neighborhood meetings we cover because they matter:
    http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/turn-lowman-beach-into-a-utility-site-overflow-options-draw-ire
    36 comments despite the central topic being Combined Sewer Overflows…
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/a-letter-about-the-hole-and-more-from-southwest-district-council
    47 comments
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2010/02/west-seattle-couple-gets-ready-to-open-specialty-running-store
    107 comments
    .
    Just a few. Meantime, I didn’t see race mentioned in any of the comments on this thread till yours – did I miss something? Or if it’s a suggestion that moving to Bellevue is code for moving somewhere “whiter” … I just looked up the 2000 census stats and people might be surprised to hear that Bellevue in the 2000 census was 74% white, while the Southwest District of Seattle – comprising roughly the west half of the peninsula, including The Junction – was 85% white in the same count. Only two other Seattle “districts” were lower on the diversity index (and not by much) – Ballard and Magnolia. Will be interesting to see how things have changed when the 2010 data is available – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:32 am April 13, 2010 #

  38. Wow Pete. Such the optimist.

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 12:45 am April 13, 2010 #

  39. Sorry Pete… I meant LJD…I was raised on the eastside. Don’t feel so special LDJ. Watch you’re speed…anything over 25mph will get you a ticket.

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 1:10 am April 13, 2010 #

  40. Conflate? I think I ordered one of those at Starbucks yesterday.

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 1:33 am April 13, 2010 #

  41. I am saddened that someone had to meet their end, alone, on a city street.

    “I am in the process of moving out of West Seattle because the crime has just become too great to tolerate any more”

    I may be wrong, but statistics I have read, posted on here, would indicate that our crime rate is down from what it has been in the past. The only discernible difference is we now have WSB updating us regularly on what is happening.

    Comment by WMF — 4:57 am April 13, 2010 #

  42. You murder me.

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 5:01 am April 13, 2010 #

  43. LDJ:

    Ha, Bellevue has crime too! there are so many weathy people living there as some of my friends’ home broke into. there is no place where there is NO crime. maybe you could find the best link: here it is:

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2009/03/25/99012.htm

    Comment by samson — 6:53 am April 13, 2010 #

  44. Bellevue? Highways, concrete, asphalt. identical crackerjack homes on a quarter turn and urban sprawl. West Seattle, ocean, beaches, quiet small town island onto itself. Be my guest to leave.

    Comment by Voice Of Reason — 7:04 am April 13, 2010 #

  45. Why can’t some of you accept the fact that people have different perceptions and experiences of how safe an area is? Get over it—it’s not a personal attack on the prestige of your neighborhood.
    .
    What feels unsafe for me (female, 120 pounds, walker, runner, bus taker) might feel completely safe for someone else (male, 200 pounds of mostly muscle, drives his car everywhere). Age, experience, physical ability to defend yourself, being a victim of a crime, having your sense of safety shattered, etc. all contribute to how safe we feel. And we’re entitled to our experience and to act accordingly, which sometimes means to move.
    .
    Once you’ve had a traumatic experience (or gone through it with someone close to you), you may never feel safe in an area again no matter how much posturing or statistics are thrown at you.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:45 am April 13, 2010 #

  46. Driving a car everywhere isn’t requisite for feeling safe. I’ve never felt threatened walking the streets of Seattle day or night (except maybe with regards to inattentive drivers), or as a constant Metro rider. I agree that some people are afraid too easily.

    Comment by austin — 8:54 am April 13, 2010 #

  47. Sad so sad

    Comment by LMA — 11:18 am April 13, 2010 #

  48. There is a memorial there now of 2 teddy bears and some random items. Only saw it from across the street.

    Comment by observer — 11:38 am April 13, 2010 #

  49. We have a photo but I’m trying to get a little more new information before just slapping the photo up as a standalone – a name is mentioned so I am trying to verify with the Medical Examiner, in advance of their daily media hotline update.

    Comment by WSB — 11:55 am April 13, 2010 #

  50. I hope that this man’s passing was quick, and that he found peace somewhere in it. I also send condolences to those he knew, and loved, and loved him. This is a tragic end, for anyone, rich or poor.

    I love West Seattle. I love my neighbors, I love the quirkiness, I love the views that await around just about every corner. I love walking up to the Junction with my daughter, husband, and dog; I love the coffee shops, the resturants, and summer ice cream at Husky Deli. I head up our block’s Block Watch, and I try to be smart about crime (lock my doors, etc.) No place is perfect, but this place is perfect for me. Bellevue is perfect for some people, too, and that’s a good thing because there’s not enough room in West Seattle for everyone. To each their own.

    I hope that this man was facing the mountains and Sound when he died, and that the beautiful view was his last vision of earth.

    Comment by Kristina — 12:05 pm April 13, 2010 #

  51. Hello Everyone
    I notice there is a place between esay strett and twilight were you can drop off a ballon or card for the family of the man,His name is Jeff.

    Comment by tamm y — 2:45 pm April 13, 2010 #

  52. Right on, Kayleigh.

    Comment by José — 3:02 pm April 13, 2010 #

  53. Kristina, beautiful post.

    Comment by jellyfish — 6:41 pm April 13, 2010 #

  54. kristina, very well said.

    Comment by bridgetosomewhere — 8:36 am April 14, 2010 #

  55. i love u jeff, i miss u so much. i pray that u found comfort in arms of the angels and that u can finally rest in peace. im sorry that ur life was shortly lived,but i will carry with me the memories. ill never let them fade.

    Comment by shauna — 4:48 am April 28, 2010 #

  56. i am proud that u were my big brother

    Comment by shauna — 5:14 am April 28, 2010 #

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