West Seattle Crime Watch update: Pickup truck hit by bullet(s); police suspect it’s ‘related to ongoing gang activity’

May 10, 2014 at 8:54 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 42 Comments

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
8:54 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us about police investigating a report of gunfire near 18th and Thistle after 7 pm tonight. We found them looking at the pickup truck you see in the photo above. One of its tires went flat, possibly because a bullet hit it. Police also found a bullet hole in the pickup’s bumper:

The pickup’s driver, a teenage boy, was not hurt. No suspects so far.

ADDED 8:50 AM: Lots more details just released by Seattle Police via SPD Blotter:

On 5/10/14, just shortly after 7:00 p.m. officers were initially dispatched to a report of a male saying that he was being chased by seven people who were armed with guns and knives near 16 Ave SW & SW Holden St.

The suspects were in a black, medium-sized truck with tinted windows. Officers arrived in the area and observed a person flashing gang signs to a truck that matched this description. Officers contacted the person flashing gang signs and while doing so, multiple 911 calls were received of shots fired in the immediate area.

Officers arrived in the area and located the truck in question at 18 Av SW & SW Thistle St. The pickup truck had a flat tire. The driver, a 17-year-old white male was detained. A closer inspection of the truck revealed a bullet hole in the left front tire and on the passenger side of the rear bumper.

Officers located a scene in the 7700 block of 18 Av SW, in the alley to the east. Three shell casings were recovered. The 17-year-old male claimed he didn’t know anything and had no idea why anyone would shoot at him. He did admit to driving down the alley. Officers obtained consent to search his vehicle and a small bag of methamphetamine was recovered.

The subject was investigated released from the scene. The original caller could not be located nor were any other victims found. This appears to be related to ongoing gang activity centered near the 8400 block of Delridge Way SW. The suspects were described as black and Hispanic male teens.

42 Comments

  1. To all of my very good neighbors:

    This might not seem related to this shooting, but let’s assume it might be helpful for the heck of it.

    Delridge has been covered with new gang tags over the past couple of days. This morning there were many new tags. Fences, walls, bricks, signs… If you are not sure whether you are seeing gang tags, it doesn’t matter. It all needs to be reported ASAP.

    So, I am asking all of you to, please, when you see graffiti on businesses or anywhere on fences of homes, please pull over and call the Graffiti hotline. You can also call the non-emergency police number to leave the same information. But the automated menu is more confusing there than the Graffiti Report line. So, be bold and be patient get the addresses you see recorded.

    Have the street address and a description of the location ready of exactly where the graffiti is. You will have to be patient to leave a recorded message after a long list of options on the automated menu from either the Graffiti Report Line or the SPD Non-EMergency Number.

    We, as a neighborhood, have to do this. We must be willing to carry that Graffiti Report line phone number on our cell phone and use it as soon as we see new tags. Because if we do not call taggings in, the punks are going to win. We can’t have that.

    We *must* be proactive and we *must* be willing to do this regularly when we see tags.

    Thanks for reading but more importantly, thank you for every time you call.

    It really matters.

    Regards,
    Your neighbor.

    Comment by Taking Notes, Checking them twice — 9:31 pm May 10, 2014 #

  2. Great advice. Thanks, “Taking Notes!”

    Comment by Darryll — 10:56 pm May 10, 2014 #

  3. Taking notes- thank you for this advice. My husband and I just bought a house near there and we will definitely be diligent about reporting the tagging. Do you know the phone number?

    Comment by Ws_mom — 11:29 pm May 10, 2014 #

  4. what is the graffiti hotline number?

    Comment by evergreen — 11:33 pm May 10, 2014 #

  5. I observed three Hispanic teens Friday afternoon making several of these tags using blue paint. They were tagging in the alley of Trenton and Delridge (East side). The same colored tags were all over the blocks two of so blocks from that location this morning.

    The three Hispanic teens entered the apartments at (edited: 8800 block) Delridge after they noted I was staring at them.

    TO be more specific, all of these tags were in a bright blue paint and tagged as VL 13 and other such rubbish. From living in the neighborhood I know this is the sign of the Varrio Locos, a Hispanic gang.

    Comment by Ray — 12:03 am May 11, 2014 #

  6. Graffiti Reports Phone Line:

    684-7587

    Ray, next time call 911 right as you see them committing the crime. They are defacing other people’s property and that is against the law. Straight up, call 911, if in action.
    Call Non- Emergency and tell them you can and will ID the offending punks.

    Let’s spread the word to our other neighbors to get on board with reporting. Thanks.

    Comment by Taking Notes — 12:28 am May 11, 2014 #

  7. Let’s start getting pictures of these losers. That’s what I’ve been doing. I also have simple cameras set up outside my house and I make sure they know it.

    Comment by Darryll — 12:43 am May 11, 2014 #

  8. I, too, have been dismayed by the increased tagging in recent months in the south Highland Park / south Delridge neighborhood. I’ve filled out several reports on the City’s Graffiti Reporting website, but unlike other times in the past when I’ve done so, this time there’s been no resulting action taken by property owners or the City to paint it out.

    I know I just need to be persistent in continuing to report and patient while awaiting a response, but in the meantime, I’m concerned that the lingering graffiti gives a message to the young people who do it that we don’t care or we’ve become complacent and given up.

    I know this isn’t true of the people in my neighborhood. I just don’t want those who do it to believe it either. Thank you to “Taking Notes” for keeping the dialogue going on this.

    Comment by M — 7:17 am May 11, 2014 #

  9. Yes, thank you, Taking Notes.

    .

    Upon reading your comment last night, I programmed both the Graffiti Hotline, and SPD Non-Emergency numbers into my phone (I thought I already had the latter in my phone, but didn’t).

    .

    SPD Non-Emergency: 206-625-5011.

    .

    A (reminder of) a couple more that may be beneficial to have in one’s phone, for those trips out and about:

    Seattle Animal Shelter/Animal Control: 206-386-7387

    Seal Sitters: 206-905-7325

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:40 am May 11, 2014 #

  10. Thanks, Mike, for providing all of these numbers for us!

    Comment by M — 8:27 am May 11, 2014 #

  11. In case you are watching the comments but not scrolling back up, much new info just released by SPD.

    Comment by WSB — 8:55 am May 11, 2014 #

  12. The driver had meth in his truck and was released at the scene?

    Comment by ACG — 11:07 am May 11, 2014 #

  13. Isn’t possession of meth illegal anymore? Is it now just a ticket infraction if under a certain amount?

    The police really need to get on the offensive on this, otherwise this problem is only going to grow until the only thing the police will be able to do is simply be reactive instead of proactive. Of course their hands are getting tied tighter and tighter too

    Comment by Eric — 11:10 am May 11, 2014 #

  14. I recently Staged a property in this area and in the last couple days did notice all the tagging, as well as a very troubling residence but it has no house humbers on it!! I later learned that this is common practive to remove house numbers so they can’t easily be located!! Also has anyone noticed that the street signs seem wrong, there is no 19th and Thistle, it goes 20th then next block is 18th, where is 19th?

    Comment by Silly Goose — 11:25 am May 11, 2014 #

  15. I used to live on that block of 18th, suddenly glad I do not anymore.

    The street signs are odd, but I think farther south(?) there is a 19th – towards white center.

    Sad to see my old neighborhood like this.

    Comment by westseattledeb — 12:27 pm May 11, 2014 #

  16. Eric, SPD is hamstrung due to the DOJ neutering of them. Now you will see how bad it is going to get with the ridiculous constraints put on the working officer by these “reforms!” So sad, but it is what the Mayor, City Council, and the Seattleites wanted…

    Comment by buckwheat — 1:04 pm May 11, 2014 #

  17. Nothing about the police reforms prohibits them from working on the gang problem. Graffiti, even when gang-related, is a very low-priority call and officers tend to duck those calls because they require paperwork but there’s no “action” (I’ve been on a number of ride-alongs and watched cops scroll right past those calls on their computer consuls). Yes, by all means call and report it, but what’s really going to get attention is when you report people up to no good. If there’s a person *at the scene* this gets much more attention. Unfortunately, our area has an active gang that is willing to steal, vandalize, and use guns. One thing that you *can* do is help to curb their recruitment efforts. Bored kids, failing schools, and no after school activities are all great for gang recruitment. Volunteer at schools and community centers, hire young people to work at your business, and pay attention to the kids in your neighborhood. If we give kids positive alternatives, the gangs won’t become their “family.” Mentoring programs always need men. If you want to something other than complain, jump in and help the kids who aren’t yet gang-involved to stay out of the gangs. There are a lot of good kids who are not getting enough adult attention, live in troubled homes, and don’t see a good future for themselves. I’ve worked in social services long enough to know that showing a kid some kind of alternative, even if they don’t really yet understand it, can be life-changing. As a neighborhood, we need to be a better home than the gangs are.

    Comment by Rebecca — 1:45 pm May 11, 2014 #

  18. Buckwheat, do you honestly believe the kid wasn’t arrested for drug possession because the DOJ is preventing SPD officers from making arrests?

    Comment by Nope — 1:49 pm May 11, 2014 #

  19. Nope,

    The problem is going to be that there will not be enough proactive policing or enough officers to tackle the increasing gang activity as of result of the neutering. So the gang activity will increase as well as the tagging. But again, the progressives will have the solution for these issues…

    Comment by buckwheat — 2:55 pm May 11, 2014 #

  20. If there was more than one person in the car, the presence of drugs in the car is not enough to indicate that they belonged to the driver or that he knew they were there. Personally I’d prefer that SPD focus on the shooting in this instance.

    Comment by datamuse — 4:21 pm May 11, 2014 #

  21. @buckwheat: you are absolutely right that this is what the Mayor, the City Council, and Seattleites wanted. When we collectively trash our local police, we embolden and empower the young, violent criminals who are now terrorizing central West Seattle. They don’t understand what the DOJ investigation is about, what the political ramifications are, etc. All they know is that they are able to get away from the police much more easily these days and are able to dodge charges when they do get caught. People need to call 911 when they see ANY criminal activity in their area. The SPD keeps track and maps where the most calls are and plans their limited resources to target those areas. The squeaky wheel gets the grease in this situation. Fewer 911 calls means more violence on your street.

    Comment by Bradley — 4:44 pm May 11, 2014 #

  22. @bradley — The DOJ oversight is due to Seattle PD’s unconstitutional use of force. From the DOJ’s website: On March 31, 2011, we opened an investigation of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.We found that SPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law.
    There are plenty of effective police departments that are not under DOJ’s oversight — because they did not have a pattern of engaging in excessive force. By implication you are arguing that the police need to use excessive force to be effective enforcers of the law. To the contrary, their very actions contravened the rule of law, namely violating the due process and equal protection rights of citizens. Other than in far right wing circles, I don’t know any rational person who would put the police above the accountability of law. I don’t think any rational person would say the police need to employ excessive and unconstitutional force to protect and serve our community.

    Comment by Receiptsa — 6:57 pm May 11, 2014 #

  23. @Receiptsa: our families, children, neighbors, and friends are at FAR greater risk from violent street gang activity than the SPD. Right or wrong, everything has unintended consequences. The DOJ action has made our community more dangerous and allowed violent criminals to have a tool to use against the SPD. The DOJ should focus their efforts on the excessive force violent criminals are using against us than the brave men and women who risk their lives protecting you.

    Comment by Bradley — 9:26 pm May 11, 2014 #

  24. Which violent criminals have the SPD not caught due to DOJ oversight? Can you provide even one instance of anecdotal evidence where an officer has claimed to have been impeded in an investigation? Didn’t think so. Your claim that the SPD has been neutered is nothing but a reactionary fantasy.

    Comment by Receiptsa — 10:40 pm May 11, 2014 #

  25. Receiptsa, your steadfast defense of the DOJ oversight and implication that it has has no impediment to SPDs action is a bit of a fantasy as well.

    You quote DOJ “We found that SPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law.” Just because it is a DOJ finding doesn’t make it 100% truth. I believe the DOJ has been involved in violating the constitution on a number of occasions as well. Who’s overseeing the DOJ?

    Comment by A — 11:46 pm May 11, 2014 #

  26. I agree with Receiptsa, but I would also add that SPD has had a policy of non-enforcement for a very long time. Seattle government in general seems to have a hands-off attitude to just about everything, which is frustrating. But then look what happens when even a speed camera is installed – people are outraged that the gubmint is interfering with their right to speed. You can’t win for losing.

    But as to the topic at hand – my fence in Arbor Heights was gang tagged this past winter. The Roxhill area, especially the park, is swarming with Bloods. Anyone who thinks that WS doesn’t have a gang problem is being naïve. And yes, it is essential that tagging is reported. The gang unit analyzes and tracks these occurrences.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:57 am May 12, 2014 #

  27. I live in the graffiti area discussed. As a newer homeowner in the area the tagging has been frustrating. I’ve cleaned my property many times. I’ve called the graffiti line multiple times on other property with few results. It doesn’t help that the trash bins along the alley have been tagged since before Christmas. And some of the apartment complexes don’t clean up very quickly. Does anyone know of options to have work parties clean it up? I expect there are rules to cleaning up others property but if they won’t and the tags remain what else can be done? Ideas?

    Comment by DH — 7:44 am May 12, 2014 #

  28. DH,

    that might be something the neighborhood groups would handle? Highland Park Action Committee or Westwood’s Roxbury’s big neighborhood group? Or the SW Precinct Crime Council? Go to a meeting and suggest it. Better yet, just organize it yourself, that way you know it will get done.

    Comment by taking notes — 9:02 am May 12, 2014 #

  29. The city has an alternative to reporting graffiti if you don’t want to sit on the hotline. If you have a smartphone, download the “Find it, Fix it” app. You can capture a photo of the tag and the app will use GPS to get your location. It also allows you to add a description and provide more detail as to what is tagged and where.

    Comment by BB — 10:30 am May 12, 2014 #

  30. As owner of a property that gets tagged from time to time, I implore residents and owners of other properties to make the tags disappear as soon as possible. Keep brushes and a consistent color of paint on hand to be able to paint over it as soon as you see it, and blend the new paint into the old so it is not obvious where the graffiti was. I find that starting out with a random texture makes it easier to blend the new paint in. Take a picture before painting in case SPD wants to see what you’ve painted over. It really does help if you stay on top of it. After several times of rapidly painting over it, they realize that tags won’t “stick” to that surface.

    Comment by BlairJ — 11:40 am May 12, 2014 #

  31. @Receiptsa: if you loathe the SPD so much, maybe it would be a good idea for you to call the DOJ or ACLU when meth addicts are breaking into your house in the middle of the night instead of the SPD? Or, better yet, perhaps just do nothing and “give peace a chance”?

    Comment by Bradley — 12:02 pm May 12, 2014 #

  32. I know I am a bit late to the commenting, but another great resource is the find-it fix-it app. You can submit a description, a photo and the gps coordinates. I routinely use this to report graffiti on the fences parallel to the community college on 16th.

    Comment by Paul — 12:22 pm May 12, 2014 #

  33. @bradley – my glock 19 g4 would serve me just fine in case of a home invasion. Just because I’m against an over-militarized police force, against excessive force, and for the constitutional protections that judicial oversight ostensibly enforces, doesn’t mean I’m against self-defense.

    I suggest you brush up on the 14th amendment due process and equal protection clauses. No government of ours has the right to infringe upon those protections. Why would you advocate that the SPD need not follow the Constitution? I’m guessing from your comments that it stems from a misunderstanding of the rule of law and applicable jurisprudence and a general tendency to favor bias and emotion over logic and fact.

    Comment by Receiptsa — 2:32 pm May 12, 2014 #

  34. @Receiptsa: I’m glad you’re well-armed (nice choice of handgun, by the way) and not willing to let those who will do you/us harm prevail in your presence. My point was/is that the DOJ action is having the unintended consequences of causing many in the SPD to “de-police” our community to a degree. Police officers are human, have emotions, and have a union that has taken a stand against the DOJ. Frankly, I’m surprised at how well the department is doing under the circumstances, but it absolutely has taken a toll on morale and has endangered officers lives due to hampered decision-making during crisis situations. It has also emboldened many of our violent youth to commit higher levels of crimes in many cases as their fear of being prosecuted is muted somewhat by their not fully comprehending the DOJ/SPD situation. I, too, am concerned about the militarization of not just our police, but our alphabet government agencies. I don’t think our National Park Service, the IRS, and the Bureau of Land Management need SWAT teams and heavily-armored vehicles, for example. I live near Roxhill Park and I would like to see more frequent police patrols there instead of several units, a crime scene investigation truck, and a helicopter show up when all that is left are a few empty shell casings. I do appreciate your concern, however.

    Comment by Bradley — 3:42 pm May 12, 2014 #

  35. Bradley,

    I have a friend that works with the police, but is not a police officer and he was telling me just last week about this. I really hadn’t been paying attention about the DOJ, but my friend said that in private the police officers that he is around are talking about what you described as “de-policing” due to the feeling of being under a microscope and a feeling of any move being the wrong move, so now police officers are playing it safe rather than sorry, especially the more veteran ones.

    Comment by Eric — 4:32 pm May 12, 2014 #

  36. I also live near Roxhill park and would like to see more consistent policing in that area. I would also like to see less congregations of police officers at coffee shops. I saw 4 cop cars hanging out at Cafe Ladro the other day, something I used to see at Starbucks all the time.

    While I understand that cops need breaks. I don’t think that many should be taking breaks at the same time. That is 2 patrols if not 3 taken off the street at the same time. Considering that the claim that the police are already stretched thin, this just adds to it.

    Briefings if needed to be done could be done in the briefing room before the patrol starts. Paperwork can also be done at the station.

    Comment by Eric — 4:41 pm May 12, 2014 #

  37. Police are ASKED to do paperwork out in the community so that they are visible – in their car parked someplace INSTEAD of at the precinct. We have heard that from the past few precinct commanders. If you have a specific question to ask precinct leadership face to face about how they operate, why they do X or why they don’t do Y, a reminder, one week from tomorrow is your next excellent chance to do so, at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm, Tuesday, May 20th, at the precinct.

    Comment by WSB — 4:44 pm May 12, 2014 #

  38. Receiptsa: The SPD ACT (Anti-Crime Team) has been cut back due to the DOJ. The ACT gets out in front of crime before it happens. My brother served on it for 10 years.
    .
    You have little or no idea what you are talking about.

    Comment by jumper — 5:26 pm May 12, 2014 #

  39. @bradley – it’s nice to see that we agree on quite a few things. I definitely hear your concerns.

    @jumper – how does your brother serving on ACT excuse systematic abuses of power? Should we not hold agencies accountable? Any cop who abuses their power isn’t fit to hold their badge. When the abuse becomes systematic then there needs to be accountability and oversight. Or does the Constitution only apply to whomever you see fit? Because there was sufficient evidence to show that there was a department-wide infringement of the Constitutional rights of citizens. You seem to suggest that they were just scumbags or deserved what was coming to them – but doesn’t the Constitution apply to us all? Isn’t that what makes its power indelible and sacrosanct? Perhaps it is you who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    Comment by Receiptsa — 8:33 pm May 12, 2014 #

  40. Good website with info on various gangs including typical markings, etc. Send them questions or provide updates to help keep their info current.
    -
    http://www.nwgangs.com

    Comment by drahcir61 — 3:16 pm May 13, 2014 #

  41. I just wanted to comment regarding SPD and the recent incident between 16th and Delridge area and shots fired… They responded immediately, and in numbers. As A homeowner I really appreciated the way they handled the incident. Officers took down all of the info and gave phone contacts in case of any further disturbances in our area. I am so thankful to know they are so close by and respond so quickly. Thank you thank you SPD!!

    Comment by Friend of SPD — 11:11 pm May 13, 2014 #

  42. Thanks! I got the app. It seems a bit off in getting the address but definitely is speedier than the usual process. When coming back to this report I recognized that truck. I saw someone in the alley around 8400 Delridge doing some shady behavior. (The one with 10 instances of graffit I reported on the app) on 3 occasions. Looked like he was dealing drugs. Looks like I’ll be calling SPD a lot this summer.

    Comment by DH — 9:27 pm May 14, 2014 #

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