Followup: New details on Roxhill Park police activity – 1 jailed

(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Police now say the Roxhill Park incident reported here earlier involved the arrests of eight teenagers, and they’re investigating whether any are linked to the holdups earlier this week. From Jonah Spangenthal-Lee‘s update tonight on SPD Blotter:

Southwest Precinct officers seized a gun, impounded two cars, and arrested eight teenagers in Roxhill Park Friday evening, and are now investigating possible connections between the teens and several burglaries and robberies, including two recent armed muggings in Roxhill Park.

Following the muggings earlier this week, Southwest Precinct officers stepped up patrols around the park.

Today, around 4 pm, patrol officers noticed a dozen teens milling around the area of the park where gunmen had robbed two groups of middle schoolers.

When police tried to contact the group of a dozen teens Friday evening, several of them took off running. Officer were able to catch up to eight of the teens, who are all between 14 and 18 years old.

Officers arrested and booked an 18-year-old man into the King County Jail on a weapons charge after police found a handgun and a box of ammo in the car he’d been driving. Officers released the seven other teens at the scene, but police are now examining links between several of the teens and several robberies and burglaries in the West Precinct.

Police also seized two cars from the park and are obtaining warrants to search the vehicles. At least one of the cars may be associated with a recent robbery case.

This all actually started unfolding before 4 pm; the release of seven suspects corresponds to what Det. Jeff Kappel told us this afternoon. Our first report on Wednesday afternoon focused on the Tuesday robbery of middle-schoolers in the park; later on Wednesday, police revealed a similar holdup had happened Sunday. The victims included students of Denny International Middle School, whose principal Jeff Clark sent a letter to school families later Wednesday; a more widely distributed letter came yesterday from regional Executive Director of Schools Carmela Dellino, including safety tips.

ADDED 11:16 PM: The 18-year-old suspect is facing charges of carrying a concealed pistol without a license and being a minor in possession of a pistol, both misdemeanors, with bail set at $1,000 for each charge, $2,000 total. His prior Seattle appears to include mostly driving violations, but a Pierce County record accessed online says he was arrested a week ago in Pierce County on suspicion of burglary and possession of a stolen gun.

ADDED 4:31 PM SATURDAY: According to the King County Jail Register, the suspect is out of jail as of about three hours ago.

37 Replies to "Followup: New details on Roxhill Park police activity - 1 jailed"

  • Rilesworth January 25, 2013 (11:02 pm)

    Good, those Mother F—ers robbed my friend last night.

  • burglarbustindad January 25, 2013 (11:43 pm)

    Book’em Danno

  • Robin January 26, 2013 (12:12 am)

    Guess we all need a refresher course on “arrested 8…” and “Officers released the seven other teens at the scene…”. REALLY? What was bail? “Just say Sorry”? Or, not released to the parents? Feeling safer already…

  • westseattledood January 26, 2013 (12:41 am)


    Please make sure your friend or you contact SPD with any info you might have. I think leaving a msg on the non-emergency number would work.

    WSB, might you be able to post an SPD contact number so concerned peeps like
    Rilesworth can call with any info about any of these crimes which get posted. An anonymous number (Crime Stoppers or similar?) which used to be posted on WSB might be helpful here?


    • WSB January 26, 2013 (1:03 am)

      If you have info – call 911. They will route you to the right place. Anonymous reporting is enabled via text; that’s on the Crime Watch page right under the Tweets by Beats box, or here’s the direct link to info:

  • Joe Weihe January 26, 2013 (1:10 am)

    His bail seems absurdly low considering an arrest just last week in PC for possession of a stolen gun. I’m also surprised to hear that carrying a concealed pistol without a license is a misdemeanor in this city.

  • Holly January 26, 2013 (5:53 am)

    And this report is supposed to make me feel safer?! I’m moving into the area next month. I think I may have made a mistake.

  • anonyme January 26, 2013 (6:21 am)

    I work near the park, and it’s a constant and growing problem. Earlier yesterday, a drunk 15 year old was hauled out on a gurney, screaming. Both Denny and Sealth students hang out in the park day and night, drinking and doing drugs. Numerous mentally ill individuals inhabit the park; judging by their screaming diatribes, they have the potential to be violent. It is not unusual to hear gunshots. Residents of adjacent Daystar Retirement Village have been menaced.

    The overgrown vegetation is a lure for all kinds of illicit activity. There has already been at least one murder in Roxhill. Parks needs to get in there and clean it up, and police need to step up patrols. I hate to think what it will be like when the skate park opens.

  • MAS January 26, 2013 (6:23 am)

    The 18 year old is a minor? Or did the “minor in possession of a pistol” happen prior to this incident? If he was 17 a week ago, nice way to celebrate your birthday.

  • MAS January 26, 2013 (6:48 am)

    Not in time to edit my first comment – looks like Washington state law may be a bit odd in this respect:

    “…a person under 21, but at least 18, may possess a pistol only in his place of abode, fixed place of business, or on real property under his control.”

  • Amie January 26, 2013 (8:05 am)

    You don’t run from cops unless you have something to hide. Any word on why the seven were released at the scene?

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (8:49 am)

      Regarding the seven who were released – if there was nothing immediate on which they could be held, they would have had to be released. That doesn’t mean they are permanently off the hook. It means police know who they are, for starters, which has some value. But I am not likely to have access to anyone to even ask that question till Monday. – TR

  • Sunny.206 January 26, 2013 (8:07 am)

    Let put a line of buses on the street so that area isn’t visible to even the police and you’ve got a real good gathering place.

  • westseattlecodger January 26, 2013 (8:25 am)

    I can see why the SPD released the juveniles, it’s too much hassle for the prosecutor’s office to actually putsue a case when the results are so minimal. This is a case where increased penalties, or even enforcing existing laws on possession of firearms would be a good thing. Stolen gun in possession? Why is this person out on bail? Why is the bail amount so low? Where are the parents of these budding little thugs?

  • Alki Resident January 26, 2013 (8:51 am)

    First of all great catch but this had to be a citizen who reported suspicious activity at the park for all this police response, so good job. Also, if my child was in with this crowd, I”d want to be called so I could come down and hear what the officer has to say. I wouldn’t want him/her just released to go where ever, This is just telling these kids its ok ,don’t do it again,have a nice day. I’d want the fear of God put into them,how else will they ever learn? If it was these kids who robbed the teens, obviously the 18 yr old and one or two of those released teens did it. They got some loot, found it was an easy target and are now back for more.
    What I would like to see is their names (you see this in other states) in the paper and local media, so we know who they are. Also, for the community to come together and decide for the teen criminals, the best community service idea for them to do, and make them do it for a lengthy period of time. Like scrub graffiti or talk to kids in schools about staying out of trouble etc. to name a couple.
    How else will other kids learn from this if we don’t teach them a better way to live?
    Quite frankly, Im fearful of our future adults in our society who will lack compassion of others. It’s a sad time.

  • Anne January 26, 2013 (9:08 am)

    Agree about the visibility-especially all the vegetation- is any of that part of the Longfellow Creek – is it off limits to any kind of clearing/ pruning/ thinning? If not Parks Dept could be contacted about that- if their budget won’t permit maybe there could be a couple community clean up days- possibly somebody knows someone in the yard work/ tree pruning business that has access to one of those big chippers. The visibility will only get worse when trees etc. leaf out- would be nice to get the area cleaned up before that happens.

  • Alki Resident January 26, 2013 (9:43 am)

    Holly -yes you’ve made a mistake. It’s over populated the way it is. And West Seattle is the only crime infested area in WA.

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (9:57 am)

      No, that is not true on either count. West Seattle has large swaths of single-family-home zoning that stretch for miles, punctuated by a couple spots of density, particularly The Junction/Triangle. (Added, here’s a map about population density citywide)
      And overall crime is NOT worse than anywhere else. We report some of it here because time and time again, people have told us they want to know. But if you look at the citywide maps, the stats online, or even compare it to other cities, we are not “infested.” Ideally, there should be NO crime, anywhere. But you can’t fight it if you don’t know about it.
      (added, some of the links to which I refer – for starters, here’s the Seattle police reports map, defaults to the past week, click and zoom around to see what’s been happening where:
      Here’s the November stats precinct by precinct. I don’t have the “population/acreage by precinct” info handy so this is not a direct comparison of rates, but looking for example at burglaries and auto thefts, that month, SW Precinct had 89 burglaries and 34 auto thefts – S. Precinct had 122 and 62 – E. had 112 and 42 – W. had 113 and 54 – N. had 278 and 113. Here’s the full citywide breakout for the month:
      other months of last year can be accessed:
      We’ve been here 22 years. Serious violent crime was MUCH worse in our early years here. 1993 in particular was horrifying. I’m glad that incidents like the Roxhill Park robberies are so rare that they are hugely disturbing. The crime that we wind up reporting here day in and day out is largely property crime. That’s disturbing too, but continuing to shine a light on it leads to things like the Repeat Burglar Initiative that might finally make a dent.

  • comment January 26, 2013 (10:18 am)

    I didn’t even know blogs existed in 93.

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (10:43 am)

      Ha, ha, ‘comment.’ Datapoint, though, the commercial interwebz have been going since roughly 1994 – that’s when we signed up. However, I worked as a producer in local TV news in 1993, and that would be the source of my recollections – unfortunately there was a lot over here to cover back then. 6 West Seattle murders are listed on this Seattle Times recap of 1993 homicides:
      Last year, we had 2 in West Seattle. Notice the citywide number for 1993 is also roughly triple what it was for 2012.

  • WsEd January 26, 2013 (10:30 am)

    SPD has stepped up patrols in Westwood recently. I have seen as many as six cops getting coffee at once. Presence is a big deterrent.

    On another note I seem to remember several individuals on this blog lambasting the police for their treatment of the known criminal with several priors outside Marshalls a few weeks ago. How many of those are the same people worried about the fictitious increase in crime in WS and calling for more policing?

    Just sayin’

  • Andrea January 26, 2013 (10:52 am)

    Pretty sure Alki resident was being sarcastic lol at holly’s mistake comment :)

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (11:00 am)

      Andrea – maybe so but comments get indexed same as everything else and next thing you know, somebody’s quoting it as gospel. And I do apologize for not providing context more often. Crime reporting really and truly is not meant to provide the impression that life sucks and we’re all under siege at all times … so we will see if there’s some way to do a better job providing the big picture as well as the small picture, which often can be depressing.

  • wetone January 26, 2013 (10:53 am)

    Born and raised in West Seattle, Alki area. Been here much much longer than WSB. Crime issues have definitely got worse in this area than it used to be. Really don’t care where you get your numbers or info from on this issue. Most people I know and grew up with in this area never locked their doors (houses, cars) until we started having problems in the late 70’s. I will say the Delridge and High Point areas have improved. Crime follows the path of least resistance ( Wa. state) and will continue to get worse until the court systems start doing a better job.

  • mcbride January 26, 2013 (11:11 am)

    The challenges at Roxhill Park will diminish somewhat when the playground and skatespot reopen. Daytime use will displace some of the elements which have moved into the void. I have to disagree with the sentiment that skaters will make the situation worse – this social experiment has played out all over town, locally down at N Delridge. As a group, they care about their space and assume a fair amount of responsibility over their space. The natural area is something else. The headwaters of Longfellow Creek, it is a peat bog, which was intentionally restored so that folks could have a natural experience in-city. It too is a park, which requires use and caretakers.
    This is not to say that action doesn’t need to be taken, by the City and by the community. It has been my experience that all of our municipal agencies really, really want to have the conversation about what a neighborhood needs, and what they can provide. And without that conversation, they are placed in a purely reactionary position, which doesn’t make anyone happy.
    I totally get throwing open the window, sticking out your head and yelling “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”…I began in that place too. I was mad about a lot of things going on, particularly that Nobody seemed to be doing Anything about it. It turns out there Were folks doing something about it. Just not enough of them. And there was a disconnect between folks that wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.
    There’s a community council organizing right now in the Westwood/Roxhill neighborhood. If you want to get involved, make change, Be Heard, now is your chance. This link is to a sign up page for setting the council meeting date: Take a minute, take a look, take action.
    Mat McBride, Chair, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council

  • datamuse January 26, 2013 (11:16 am)

    So where are you getting your numbers, Wetone, “common sense”? The plural of anecdote is not data.

  • Kayleigh January 26, 2013 (12:03 pm)

    Honestly, if someone doesn’t feel safe in a neighborhood, they don’t feel safe. Period. Quoting crime statistics or telling them that crime is worse elsewhere or used to be worse in the past is not very convincing.
    Why do some of you care what others think of your neighborhood? If they think it sucks, cool–they won’t move there. More peace and quiet for you. If they think it’s awesome, does that somehow make you awesome?
    West Seattle has its own strange brand of PC-ism that runs amok on this blog (and elsewhere, I’m sure) sometimes.

  • onceachef January 26, 2013 (4:27 pm)

    Why is possessing a gun at 18 years old without a license a misdemeanor crime?…should be a felony – it’s one way to get the point across – misdemeanors mean nothing to criminals. And why, if he’s 18, is he not an adult? Let’s change some laws!

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (4:31 pm)

      I don’t know … but the guy’s out now. Can’t quite decipher exactly what happened along the trail in the municipal court online register – will have to find out more on Monday – but he got out of jail a couple hours ago. Adding that to the story. – TR

  • Buck January 26, 2013 (6:10 pm)

    These hooded punks will not ‘get it’ until they have some serious penalties dealt to them, and their parents. Yes their parents, who probably are a whooooole lot exactly like these jerks.

    Used to be a nice town, now not so much.

  • waterworld January 26, 2013 (10:11 pm)

    Tracy: Regarding your comment about deciphering the municipal court case record, it looks to me like the 18 year-old arrested on the firearms violations was released without charges having been filed. That could be because the police are continuing to investigate and intend to charge this person with more serious offenses, such as one or more of the recent robberies (if that’s what further investigation reveals).

    • WSB January 26, 2013 (10:35 pm)

      Sort of what I thought but if I don’t know for sure, I will say so :) rather than guess or assume. Makes sense, since for anyone who didn’t click through to the source report on SPD Blotter from Friday night, the last line, which I did not include, was “Officers and detectives still have a lot of work to do on this case, but we’ll update this post as soon as we get more information.” (No update since last night, but SPD has been busy with today’s gun “buyback” event … and new events such as the stolen-car incident currently atop our site …) THANKS, WW! – TR

  • Amie January 26, 2013 (11:34 pm)

    I bought a house in Highland Park (well two blocks east of it, so technically Delridge) 20 months ago. When my realtor told me it was in WC I looked at her like she had three heads. I grew up in Kenmore and in high school (circa 1991) WC was the Hilltop of Seattle.

    I guess by those comparisons it’s better, but having cars vandalized, armed muggings, murders, etc. on a regular basis still doesn’t make me feel safe. When will S Seattle be as nice and ‘safe’ as Ballard and Greenlake? What will it take??

  • Michael January 27, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    How can an illegal firearm result in merely a misdemeanor? We need to take all gun crimes seriously. Illegal use or possession of a firearm should be a felony.

  • aaguirre2450 January 27, 2013 (11:28 pm)

    I agree with Michael! Especially after what happened in Conneticut. What can we do as a community to try to make that park safer?

  • Nick January 28, 2013 (10:00 am)

    they really need to prosecute these people with guns much harder there is no reason someone who carries illegally should get a slap on the wrist

  • Kara January 29, 2013 (7:52 pm)

    Ballard is struggling with the same issues.

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