(UPDATED TUESDAY EVENING with word of arrests, WEDNESDAY AM with more details)
2:10 PM: A Denny International Middle School student told school administrators and police that he was robbed on his way to school this morning. This letter is going out to Denny and Chief Sealth International High School families right now, the district tells us:
This morning, one of our sixth-grade scholars reported to us that he had been robbed on his walk to school today near 20th Ave SW and SW Thistle St. He was approached by two males who were wearing hoods. At the time, he was walking alone. Our scholar did the right thing and cooperated with their demands to give them his valuables — they stole his iPhone. The two then ran east on Thistle and our scholar ran to school where he reported it right away. School staff called the police, who came to take a statement. Our scholar did a great job by reporting it right away. The Seattle Police and Seattle Public Schools staff will both be providing extra presence in that area.
As a precaution, we are reminding our scholars this afternoon about safety tips for walking to and from school. We would appreciate your help by having a similar conversation at home. The walking safety advice includes:
GENERAL WALKING SAFETY TIPS
Avoid walking alone.
Keep valuable items, such as expensive phones, out of sight.
Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot.”
Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
Stick to well-lit areas.
Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
In addition, as a part of our ongoing collaboration with the Seattle Police Department Southwest Precinct, we have been encouraged to let all scholars know that they should not be hanging out unsupervised at the Southwest Athletic Complex during non-school hours (or during high school lunch times). Being a part of a PE class or a sports team using the field or being at the Southwest Community Center is fine; hanging out in the parking lot area or bleachers without supervision should be avoided. This recommendation is being made by the police, who have noticed an increase in suspicious behavior by some adults in that area. After school, our scholars should be a part of an organized after-school program at school or head home.
As always, safety is our top priority. Thank you for your ongoing support.
The letter is signed by Denny principal Jeff Clark and Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer. This happened just six days after a meeting held at Sealth to address student safety; WSB was the only media organization there – here’s our coverage.
2:17 PM: SPD Blotter has just published more details, even before we could call SPD to follow up:
Seattle police are working with school officials and seeking a pair of young robbers suspected of holding up a middle-school student Tuesday morning at knifepoint.
The student was reportedly walking in the 2100 block of SW Thistle St around 7:30 AM when two teenage boys approached him. One suspect brandished a knife, demanded money from the victim, and forced him to empty out his backpack. Both suspects then fled with the student’s cell phone.
The student ran to school and contacted staff, who called 911.
Officers searched for the suspects but were unable to find them. The victim described the suspects as a white male, 15 years old, 5’7, wearing tan cargo shorts, a green hooded jacket and white shoes and a Hispanic male, also 15, 5’5, wearing a black hooded jacket and white shoes.
P.S. If you have questions for police about this or any other local incident, or neighborhood concerns, remember that the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets TONIGHT, 7 pm at the precinct (2300 SW Webster).
6:19 PM UPDATE: We’ve just learned from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis that two suspects are in custody in connection with this robbery and another holdup. We’ll add anything more we find out tonight.
7:39 PM UPDATE: Capt. Davis confirmed at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting that the arrests followed a second robbery this afternoon, and that what they recovered from the suspects included what was taken in the first holdup.
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: A few more details in this SPD Blotter update.