(Delridge/Holden stairway where robbery is reported to have happened)
We had asked Seattle Police to confirm a report of another student robbery today. Now, we have details. Parents from Denny International Middle School are getting robocalls, and this has just appeared on SPD Blotter:
An armed robber pulled a gun on a teen and stole her backpack as she walked to school in West Seattle this morning.
The 13-year-old victim was walking down a staircase near 20th Avenue SW and SW Holden Street when a man approached her on the staircase, pulled out a gun, and told her to “give me everything you’ve got.”
The suspect patted the teen down looking for a cellphone and money. When he found neither, he snatched her backpack and fled. The teen walked the rest of the way to school and reported the incident. She described the suspect as a black male in his late 20s, muscular, wearing a purple bandana over his face, a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants. Officers searched near the scene of the robbery, but were unable to find the suspect or the victim’s bag.
Police are working with Seattle Public Schools officials to ensure the safety of students on their way to and from school. If you have any information about this case, please call 911.
This comes two weeks after the first in a recent string of West Seattle robberies, though police have said they haven’t found a connection between any of the cases except for the two in Admiral. The first one was January 15th near Myrtle Reservoir, in which a 14-year-old was robbed of his backpack while heading to a bus stop near 35th/Myrtle.
1:48 PM: Denny IMS principal Jeff Clark has sent us the letter that has gone out to Denny and Sealth families. Note that the location is described a bit differently, and this one is the same that we heard in a bit of police-radio discussion:
Dear Denny and Sealth Scholars and Families,
We want to share with you information right away regarding a crime that occurred in our community this morning.
At approximately 7:15am this morning an eighth-grade Denny scholar was walking down the staircase at Delridge Way SW and SW Holden St. When she arrived at the stair landing, an African American male who appeared to be in his late 20’s came into view. He pointed a gun at her, patted her down, robbed her, and then let her go. When the scholar arrived at school, she did the right thing by reporting this to school staff right away. Denny staff immediately notified the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. After school today and before and after school on Monday, the Police, Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security, and school staff will be in that area.
You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
• walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times
• report anything suspicious to a trusted adult (school staff and family member)
More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.
The letter is signed by Denny principal Clark and Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer. We have more safety information in our report on this week’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting, at which police talked about the robberies as well as how to best try to protect yourself.
P.S. Reminder that Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is coming to West Seattle next Tuesday for her first “community conversation” here, 6:30 pm February 3rd at the SW Precinct (Webster/Delridge, just a block from where today’s robbery happened).
FRIDAY MORNING NOTE: We checked with precinct leadership and they don’t know yet if this one was connected to any of the others. Capt. Steve Wilske did say in a note to neighborhood-council leaders, “We will be focusing a significant number of on duty and off duty resources toward this issue starting Monday morning, and for the foreseeable future until we either make some arrests or see the incidents stop.”