West Seattle Crime Watch: It started with a bullet in the bathroom, ended with SWAT

We have details now about an incident that involves both the mistaken phone call mentioned in this earlier report and an overnight situation we had briefly checked out (before detouring to a fire).

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand, taken at standoff scene, around 1:30 am)
It started about 8 pm last night with a call from the 5400 block of 21st SW. A bullet had gone through the wall of a house, through multiple rooms, and wound up shattering a bathroom light. Police found the bullet on the bathroom floor. Police determined the shot came from somewhere to the east, and below the house. While investigating, they heard shots being fired from the back yard of a home in the 5400 block of 18th SW. In that yard, they found “multiple pistol-shell casings and four spent shotgun shells around a fire pit,” according to Seattle Police media-response Det. Renee Witt. She says a resident of the house gave police verbal authority to search the backyard, where they also found a “large-caliber rifle-shell casing.” But when they tried to search inside the home, “the occupants inside locked the door” and wouldn’t even let the resident who’d allowed the yard search come back inside. So, they got a search warrant for the house and nearby vehicles. (Somewhere in that interval is when we got a tip about this, went to the scene and took the photo above, though on-scene police wouldn’t comment.)

Given the weapon involvement, the SWAT team was called in. “The occupants were safely removed,” Det. Witt says, adding that police found seven handguns, a pistol-grip shotgun, an “AK-47-type rifle hidden underneath the stairs leading to the downstairs portion of the house” and “brought the evidence to the precinct.” One person was arrested – for unrelated warrants; any further arrests will depend on results of the investigation, including the original shot-fired-into-house case.

ADDED 3:05 PM: No indication whether it might be related, but we got a call from someone about half a mile away, on Puget Ridge, who says gunshots fired from outside pierced her home too. Police found two different-caliber bullets (.45 and .40), she says; this happened early the morning of July 4th, and the resident and her husband just thought they were hearing fireworks. Nobody was hit but it was a close call – they were 12 feet away from where a bullet landed, she says.

21 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: It started with a bullet in the bathroom, ended with SWAT"

  • anon July 5, 2011 (12:27 pm)

    what time did the stand off end ?

    is the house in question the house with the lights shining on it ? seriously ? the brown house….wth ?! .. I thought there was in-home childcare at that house, and there were that many hand guns there ?

    • WSB July 5, 2011 (12:39 pm)

      Anon, I don’t know because as I wrote, we had to detour. I also had an inquiry out to the precinct last night trying to find out more, but overnight contacts are not always available if the area’s overnight commander is not based in SWP that night. This is what we saw in the neighborhood while we were there; at one point, police said they would send a supervisor over to talk to us, and we kept waiting for that – but they hadn’t done so by the time the Roxbury fire broke out. We do the best we can on breaking news, but I know from TV days that sometimes “standoffs” can last hours and hours, and you have to have the luxury of camping somebody out just to wait and see what happens, and last night we were not in a position to do that. The only thing that seemed fairly clear is that no one had been or was being injured at the time, and there was no huge urgency at the scene – they were just trying to get someone to open the door. (We had heard SWAT might get involved but they weren’t even in view while we were there.) If you are in the neighborhood and have concerns, I would suggest calling your CPT officer (who I think is Officer Jon Kiehn) … TR

  • Frank July 5, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    Great find! Get those weapons out of West Seattle!! If I had to count every gun shot sound we hear from that area and high point area I’d need 10 hands. We often hear semi automatic weapons fire and regular gun fire. If I called police every time we heard these they would think I were insane and annoying. Peeps down the street regularly discharge their weapons in their back yards. Rats? Squirrels? Idiots?….

  • Joe July 5, 2011 (12:48 pm)

    This just comes down a case of people being stupid. I own 10 times as many firearms as that but I certainly don’t show them to people or fire them in my backyard. These idiots are just lucky that no one was hurt.

  • WendyHJ July 5, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    Frank – Hey I’ve lived in High Point for four years and we do not have random gun fire. I’ve reported possible gun fire twice, maybe 3 years ago, and neither time was it an actual gun, but fireworks at totally wieird times of the year. So I take exception to blanket statements about my community, that actually has the lowest crime rate per capita in all of West Seattle. And you can check that with the precinct. If you were so certain you heard gun fire that often and DIDN’T call the police, you are actually negligent in protecting your own community. I dare you to call them every time you heard gun fire – either way you would solve your problem. Either the gunfire stops, or you find that it’s not actually gunfire but something else. Until you let the police determine that, it’s your own fault it continues. Unless you prefer to have something to complain about. But if you used that same convinction to solve the problem as you have that there is a problem you will be a lot happier for it.

  • Been There July 5, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    TR is correct, the CPT Officer is Jon Kiehn. jonathan.kiehn@seattle.gov

  • bob dewey July 5, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    No, the highpoint cpt officer is Ofc. Kevin Mcdaniels. Ofc. Keihn is everything east of 35 ave sw except for highpoint.

    • WSB July 5, 2011 (2:02 pm)

      This didn’t happen in High Point. 5400 block of 18th-21st, as noted in the story.

  • Frank July 5, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    Hi Wendy. Sorry to anger you so much with my honesty. Never would I want to offend a neighbor or a community- especially one I have lived in for many many years. Often in the wee hours of the night there are gun bursts. There are also fireworks. Years of military exprience helps one to know the difference. On the other hand, putting me personally at fault in your commments was innappropiate and unjustified.

  • chrisma July 5, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    @Frank: since you cite military experience, I’m curious what you meant by the distinction between regular gunfire and semi-automatic gunfire, since most “regular” guns these days are semi-automatic.

    Or did you mean hearing single shots vs. bursts of shots?

  • Cascadianone July 5, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    I reside near 35th and Morgan. I do not hear gunshots in my area. I have been hearing a lot of fireworks in the last few days, but that sort of thing doesn’t bother me and yes- I also can tell the difference between the two.

    As a gunowner, I am embarassed by all the idiots out there. There are safe ways to fire your gun in your backyard, but all those ways are still illegal and I seriously doubt these yahoos are bothering with them- probably just shooting up into the air and not worrying about who gets hit on the way down. *sigh*

  • Wendy Hughes-Jelen July 5, 2011 (5:05 pm)

    Frank, the only way to make the problem go away is to report it and keep a log, and then also give SPD your log. The same thing is done when there is annoying dog barking all day and night across the street. You keep a log, you send it to the city, they follow up and have the documentation from a witness. I spent weeks and weeks going thru this frustrating process (dog not guns), I think dealing with SPD officers is probably better then dealing with SAS (Seattle Animal Shelter) officers. The right thing to do is for you personally to make the extra effort needed to make everyone more safe. Since you have advanced expertise, your input and reporting will be invaluable to SPD. If it were me in your situation, it would be negligent of me to stand by and do nothing, I would be compelled to bring my knowledge and concern to bear on the situation. Without getting shot at of course.

  • S5 July 5, 2011 (6:07 pm)

    @Wendy: Please dismount your high horse. The tone of your comments to Frank is really uncalled for. I can’t imagine that you hear *every* noise made in High Point (be it gunshots or fireworks) to make the broad declaration that “we do not have random gun fire (in High Point).”

  • Jiggers July 5, 2011 (6:15 pm)

    Thanks for the warning Joe..

  • Highpoint owner July 5, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    Wendy is correct. I have lived here four years as well and never have I heard gun shots.

  • nick July 5, 2011 (8:51 pm)

    IDIOTS! Deserve prison!

  • John July 6, 2011 (12:57 am)

    I have also lived in High Point for 4 or so years. I sleep with my windows open, and while I hear lots of “bangs” and “pops” this time of year I have NEVER heard gunfire here. I’m not deaf or oblivious either. There is definitely racket at times, mostly kids having fun, but never gunfire. It is extremely frustrating to live in and be active in a community…working to better it…getting to know the people around you…feeling and being safer than in many other Seattle neighborhoods, only to have random folk throw blanket statements out there that damage the sense of community that’s been built as well as the rest of the city’s perception of where we have chosen to sleep at night. Simply being honest is better than pretending a problem doesn’t exist, but Frank – and please know that i really mean no offense by this – when you’re the only one who hears these things it makes me wonder how recent this gunfire is and whether you might be inadvertently blending your periods of High Point history to the detriment of the community.

  • Joe July 6, 2011 (10:17 am)

    You’re welcome Jiggers. However I am not sure how you consider what I said to be a warning. More like a statement. Kind of like “hey I am going to the store”.

  • phil dirt July 6, 2011 (11:58 am)

    I live in the Genesee area and I hear semi- auto pistol fire every July 4th and New Years Eve coming from somewhere north of me. I know it’s gunfire because I’ve heard thousands and thousands of rounds fired in my lifetime. A lot of firecrackers sound like gunfire if you are comparing the sound of just one shot; however, many times one can tell it’s a firearm by the rapidity, the number of, and the staccato of the shots.
    I really hate it when morons shoot guns in places other than approved places. Don’t get me wrong. I shoot and carry on a regular basis, but I’m for prosecuting to the full extent of the law those who violate the no shooting ordinance. The trick is catching them. People need to keep reporting this to the SPD.

  • Alison July 8, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    So happy they rounded them and the guns up! I hope we keep that kind of no tolerance. There absolutly has been random gun shots in this area including shootings.

  • ST July 8, 2011 (1:05 pm)

    Has there been any additional information on this incident?

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