Video: SWAT situation at Triangle motel over, man in custody

March 30, 2011 at 7:41 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 29 Comments

(WSB video of SWAT team going into the room to take the man into custody)
7:41 AM: We’ve received calls asking about SWAT team action at the 36th/Alaska motel. Police describe it as a “barricaded person.” They are working to communicate with that person. The situation is affecting traffic in the area, so if you usually go through that area, we’d advise finding an alternate route. More to come.

(Photo of van at SWAT-situation scene, shared by Stephen)
7:52 AM: WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand just spoke with SPD Det. Mark Jamieson at the scene. This started in the 5 am hour, when police encountered a man outside the motel who appeared to have a knife. They told him to drop it; he ran into a room at the motel, and has been there ever since. Just before 7 am, they decided to tape off the area. Right now they are trying to establish contact with the man in a variety of ways but have not been able to reach him. No injuries to anyone have been reported so far.

8:13 AM: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen says the man is believed to be “elderly … with mental issues.” Police are asking media, as is standard in active SWAT team situations, to be careful not to show live images that would clue the suspect to what is happening outside his location. Our crew says traffic now appears to be moving OK in both directions along SW Alaska.

8:39 AM: No change in the situation but police continue trying to coax the man to come out peacefully. Their messages via bullhorn can be clearly heard around the area: “We want to help.”

9:18 AM: Still ongoing; man still in room, police still on scene actively working to resolve the situation. We had sent a message to Josh Sutton at the nearby West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) to ask how this was affecting their facility, if at all, and he has replied in the comment section: “… Just to be clear, Y employees have been kept informed of the situation since the beginning and the safety of our kids and members has not been a concern. We appreciate the police’s direct communication in this effort.”

10:23 AM: The man is in custody. Police forcibly entered the room and got him, no injuries reported. He’s believed to be in his early 40s. Det. Jamieson says he’s going to be taken to Harborview Medical Center for an evaluation.

11:07 AM: Video of the incident’s end, added atop this story; here’s video of Det. Jamieson with a quick briefing for the media once the man was in custody:

We are also adding photos from earlier, which we could not use during the incident because, as mentioned earlier, police request that their positions at a standoff scene not be shown, lest it jeopardize the operation:

ADDED 1:13 PM: The SPD Blotter account of the incident:

On March 30th, shortly after 5:00 AM, officers from the Southwest Precinct were dispatched to a motel in the 3500 Block of SW Alaska Street. The 911 call was for a man outside the building, screaming. Officers arrived and contacted the male standing outside one of the rooms. He was clearly agitated and not wearing a shirt. It appeared to the officers that he may have had a homemade knife of some sort in his hand. The officers attempted to contact the man, but he ran inside the room and barricaded himself inside. Officers made numerous attempts to contact the man through the door and by calling the room, but to no avail. Negotiators and SWAT were called to the scene about an hour later and attempted to establish a dialogue with the individual. Negotiators tried for hours to establish some sort of communication with the man.

SWAT officers eventually were able to put chemical irritants inside the room that eventually forced the man to come to the window. Officers were then able to safely secure the man’s hands while they entered the room and took him into custody. He was taken into custody at approximately 10:15 AM without any further incident. Seattle Fire Department arrived to assist with the decontamination of the individual, and then the 40 year old male was transported to Harborview Medical Center where he will undergo a mental health evaluation.

29 Comments

  1. Just drove by, lots of police running back and forth and tv cameras

    Comment by Oliver — 7:44 am March 30, 2011 #

  2. watching from across the street. this is an unusual situation for our neighborhood. i hope the man inside the room is OK. traffic is a little slow through here.

    Comment by Dan — 8:32 am March 30, 2011 #

  3. Rumors heard insde the Y rangd from a gunman with rifle to a bomber… hope everything turns out OK.

    Comment by Stephenhj — 8:45 am March 30, 2011 #

  4. We are listening to scanner frequencies with more detail than we can publish while the operation is still under way but NONE OF THOSE RUMORS APPLY. Please see our ongoing narrative above – everything matches with what police have said publicly. Our crew remains on scene till this is resolved, and I’m monitoring the scanner, e-mail, other communication channels back here at HQ – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:50 am March 30, 2011 #

  5. I hear the most interesting conversations when working out!

    Just to be clear, Y employees have been kept informed of the situation since the beginning and the safety of our kids & members has not been a concern.

    We appreciate the police’s direct communication in this effort.

    Comment by Josh Sutton, Y Director — 9:17 am March 30, 2011 #

  6. “Gas has been deployed.”

    Comment by Silver in Ballard — 9:35 am March 30, 2011 #

  7. I don’t know about any gas. The man is at the window now, shirtless, and yelling at the police. about 4 officers just moved slowly into the room. i think this is over. maybe gas was deployed from an ajoining room? the officer on the PA said “we know you’re not feeling well”

    Comment by Dan — 10:17 am March 30, 2011 #

  8. Yes, it’s over. Yes, they did deploy gas according to the scanner, but that was sometime back and it did not bring immediate resolution. Everybody OK so far as we can tell. Our crew will be back with video of the end of the operation. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:28 am March 30, 2011 #

  9. So what motel is this?

    Comment by jiggers — 10:31 am March 30, 2011 #

  10. Only one in West Seattle. 36th/Alaska, currently “Seattle West Inn and Suites,” I believe, though it’s undergoing a renovation process. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:33 am March 30, 2011 #

  11. I thought they were undergoing renovations for the last three years or more. I did stay there once, but will never go back. I won’t get into details since there are rules here about bashing a business. If you don’t mind cheap and grungy, don’t expect a whole lot. You get what you pay for.

    Comment by jiggers — 11:02 am March 30, 2011 #

  12. New owners. We did a story on it a while back and actually have another one in the works. They are earnestly working to overhaul it. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:05 am March 30, 2011 #

  13. It was like that when the old owners were there, except the check in counter(currently). That’s alright though. It is what it isn’t and it surely isn’t the Shereton and even when it is finally done, it still will be what it is.

    Comment by jiggers — 11:12 am March 30, 2011 #

  14. “elderly … with mental issues.” Then it turns out after he is apprehended that he is early 40′s? Man, do I feel old. Glad the senior citizen and police emerged unscathed from this unfortunate incident.

    Comment by Brian — 11:15 am March 30, 2011 #

  15. No doubt SPD’s goal in these screwed up guy with a knife situations is to get him to surrender quickly and peacefully, which it sounds like they did. I do however question not showing “live images that might clue the suspect to what is happening” agreement between the media and the police. Given the intense heat that law enforcement has taken recently over the use of violence, it’s not only the public’s right to see what goes on in these situations, but the medias responsibility to report it. Of course reporters need to use their best judgement as to any potential danger their coverage might create, but the idea that the police should have the unchallenged final say on every situation like this is not only unconstitutional, but absurd. The reality is that every beat reporter knows that if they don’t suck up to the police in these situations it will make it much harder to get the inside scoop the next time around. And that’s why they agree to it. I personally think that live coverage of this kind of thing is prurient, voyeuristic and boring, but I don’t recall that we ever gave up the right to be those things either in this country.

    Comment by MG — 12:43 pm March 30, 2011 #

  16. well by golly sure glad the swat team was there!!

    Comment by marie — 1:09 pm March 30, 2011 #

  17. MG, they do not have the unchallenged final say. We (and I speak of my former old-media occupations as well) evaluate every situation. And the difference here is that while it is not being shown live – that doesn’t mean it isn’t being recorded. We were on scene continuously and shot photos and video (some of which is included now in the story). If anything had gone awry, we were there to bear witness. It isn’t “sucking up”; there’s a guy, potentially armed (the scanner traffic discussed a shotgun shell seen on the motel-room bed), in a room with a TV. If there’s live coverage showing where police are and what they are doing, he could be in position to take them out, and who knows who else. This is NOT a “locked in a closet at Joe Biden fundraiser” type of situation. It generally goes unremarked on, but I at least wanted to explain why we weren’t showing wide shots while it was happening. We challenge people almost every day. We’ve been told, wrongly, by people far less authoritative than police, “you can’t videotape this,” etc., and our retort is “it’s happening in public, we sure as hell can.” There are no orders not to show it, just a request not to show it live, directed more at TV than anything else – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:00 pm March 30, 2011 #

  18. I was there for a short time waiting for a ride after dropping off my car at Rico’s AutoBuff. I just would question why it takes 25 – 30 members of the SWAT team to handle this situation. This must have been close to a $10,000 bill to the city including any damage to the premises.

    Comment by Bill Hibler — 6:21 pm March 30, 2011 #

  19. This may or may not be a suitable answer but to pull from some of the details on the scanner while it was happening .. there was a shotgun shell in view in the room (which team members had a line of sight into for much of the situation), for one – as Patrick ran out the door this morning, I heard the scanner call about media people possibly in line of fire, move them back, if the guy had a gun .. then they had to cover all possible escape routes in case the guy fled – they were strategizing about a stairwell here, a stairwell there, a rear window … I haven’t confirmed this yet (don’t have a suspect name) but there also was a scanner report of a possible history of violence. I don’t know what’s “standard SWAT response” (a la standard fire response, which we do know for certain types of callouts) but between all that and staking out on the roof, there appeared to be a lot going on – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:38 pm March 30, 2011 #

  20. TR, in the no doubt brutal world of local television news the mantra is often ‘If it bleeds it leads’, and the oracle is the police scanner and police ‘sources’. The reason stations focus on car crashes, stand-offs, shootings, fires, the unseemly list goes on, is because those types of stories are far cheaper to cover than ones that requires any in-depth journalism. It’s probably the reason you left. And the only way to get the jump on the competition, get more viewers and make more money, is to cultivate (suck up) to these ‘inside sources’. And coming from a Fox News background you must know as well as anybody that if the cops don’t think you’re on their side, or will make them look bad, they’ll simply find someone else to feed their spin to, and there are plenty of sycophantic marginally talented reporters willing to play that game in hopes of hanging onto their no doubt soul killing jobs. But that’s the nature of the business these days. Maybe if the Biden reporter had been a little more deferential he wouldn’t have gotten locked in a closet, although it sounds like a lot more fun than hanging out in front a rundown motel in the pouring rain. And as you also no doubt know, these types of cozy relationships have been the subject of criticism for many years. So the same old argument that live coverage might have put these officers in danger, particularly in this case, is to me at least, a hollow one. Bejeebus, if a cop can stay out of the way of a crazy guy with a knife, regardless of what’s on TV, he’s in the wrong job. And I guess it’s up to you to decide which side of that thin blue line you’re going to stand on.

    That said, for the most part I think you guys do a great job.

    Comment by MG — 10:35 pm March 30, 2011 #

  21. Thanks MG. One clarification. I worked at Q13 FOX. Local affiliate of the FOX *programming* network, not owned nor affiliated with FOX News cable, financially or philosophically. The station didn’t even mention FOX in the name when I first joined in 2001; then a few years later it was decided, over some objections/concerns, that the branding was so strong – because of FOX programming (entertainment)’s dominance at the time – that it would be foolish not to include. I had an office job as a manager, so I didn’t have to deal with what many of the reporters/photographers mentioned as the inevitable result, particularly in a “blue” area like Seattle – “You’re FOX News! Get the hell out of here.” No, we weren’t. (The station was, and I believe still is, owned by Tribune Corporation, out of Chicago – as in Chicago Tribune, LA Times, etc., though that corporation before long acquired its own baggage.)

    Comment by WSB — 10:45 pm March 30, 2011 #

  22. Anyone involved in local corporate broadcast news is aware that ratings i.e. profits drive the coverage.
    -
    “The reason stations focus on car crashes, stand-offs, shootings, fires, the unseemly list goes on, is because those types of stories are far cheaper to cover than ones that requires any in-depth journalism.” MG
    -
    This is not necessarily true. Fast breaking TV news coverage is not cheap. It requires helicopters @ $500+ per hour, multiple news crews, expensive “live tucks” and staff to back them up.
    -
    What really drives the coverage is us, the viewers, who rush to Eye Witness others’ tragedies. If people just tuned out to spectacle and on to in-depth journalism, the market would react.

    Comment by nulu — 11:18 pm March 30, 2011 #

  23. @Bill Hibler. So what if it did cost $10,000? What is a man’s life worth?

    Comment by Fritz — 4:30 am March 31, 2011 #

  24. So how about the motel? WS is screaming for decent lodging. The location is it’s best and worse attribute with convenience to town a bonus and noise and security issues negatives. How about closing off access on Alaska for starters in renovation?

    SD

    Comment by Sarah Davidson — 8:39 am March 31, 2011 #

  25. Sarah – I actually had interviewed the owners’ rep again earlier this week and ironically was planning to run the story yesterday morning – till this intervened. Story still in the works but didn’t quite fit in the news picture with this unfolding. We reported on the renovation plans multiple times a few months back – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:57 am March 31, 2011 #

  26. Not complaining about the cost if the level of response was appropriate to the situation. I appreciate WSB’s followup information about why so many officers and equipment involved. I think it is important for all of us to know and be able to evaluate how our government agencies allocate any resources. I worked in government for 12 years and know how often these things are perceived incorrectly.

    Comment by Bill Hibler — 3:47 pm March 31, 2011 #

  27. nulu: As TR probably knows better than anyone, newsroom staffs across all media have been decimated by not only the web, but also by the incredible advances in technology and equipment over the last 5 or 10 years, much of it driven by TV news. So yeah, the footage is a lot slicker these days, the night shots look great and the spinning logos are eye popping, but the stations nowadays find it far less expensive to invest in technology rather than people. TR might know, but I would guess that each one of those remote satellite trucks eliminate five or more staff jobs – producers, reporters, cameramen, editors – the real components of good journalism that stations like KING used to produce during the Bullit days. But I’m sure nobody laments that more than the people who work in the business themselves.

    As for the helicopter footage that zooms all around in the big opening sequences, it’s videotape, nulu. As for the live helicopters, I can only imagine the number of bean counters needed to get one of those things off the ground and I suspect they use them very sparingly.

    I’ve never worked in the local TV news business, and unfortunately I never watch it now either. It’s dreadful. The WSB is far more entertaining and informative, despite the occasional lapse into old habits, particularly some of the feature articles. And as I’m sure everyone who reads it mostly agrees, commercial TV’s loss is West Seattle’s gain. TR and Patrick created some truly new and unique, and local TV news has gone to hell. Although I’d bet the job at Q13 paid better, for far less work, the WSB is much closer to what most young journalists, and old journalists, once envisioned for themselves, at lease after they saw ‘All the Presidents Men’ anyway, and judging from the passion they put into it every day, it must be a lot more gratifying.

    Comment by MG — 4:18 pm March 31, 2011 #

  28. You didn’t answer the question Bill Hibler. Is the cost of a SWAT team and negotiators cheaper than an inquest, lawsuit and the other costly things that follow a police shooting? How many resources is appropriate? I am thinking you are not well informed about the use of police resources to come to a peaceful solution to a standoff. Go back and actually red the article. The police were trying to help the guy.
    To answer the question.. It take that many because every person has a job. They have officers to do specific jobs and each has a responsibility to keep the situation under control. There is containment. observation posts. Two perimeters, inner and outer, less-lethal, lethal cover, and people to run the whole thing. This is a well orchestrated response and it was executed perfectly.

    Comment by Fritz — 9:38 pm March 31, 2011 #

  29. this just goes to show. chemical irritants are sucky.

    Comment by aw — 6:08 am April 1, 2011 #

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