West Seattle, Washington
Four reports in this West Seattle Crime Watch roundup:
CAR BREAK-IN: It can happen even in a busy parking lot, like the one at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) early this afternoon. Chad reports that while his daughter ran into the store, without locking the car, someone entered it and stole a wallet left inside, with cards and cash. It’s been reported to police.
TRUCK BREAK-IN: A texter reports their truck was broken into last night while parked in their driveway near SW Edmunds and 50th SW. Stolen were a checkbook, Samsung tablet, cell phone, and sunglasses.
CAR VANDALIZED: The photo and report are from Charlie:
My wife’s rear windshield got busted sometime late last night in our carport, while my car sitting right next to it was fine. It doesn’t look like they even tried to steal anything, as the hole is too small to reach through and the instant we touched it more pieces dropped off. Our neighborhood has seen a few similar vandalisms the past few weeks. We live just up the hill from Luna Park Café, across from the large construction lot.
And one report narrative from the past week is now available on the Seattle Police website – our summary:
STORE BURGLARY: The gas-station mini-mart north of Lincoln Park was broken into around 4 am last Monday. Someone had broken a window and stolen cigarettes and lottery scratch tickets. Surveillance video recorded the break-in but the burglar – described as white, male, in a dark gray hooded jacket, carrying a dark backpack – had covered his face. He did leave behind a lug wrench and left-handed black glove, which police took in as evidence.
P.S. Next crime-and-safety community meeting is Tuesday night, when the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network resumes monthly meetings – 6:30 pm (September 26th) at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). All welcome. Here’s a preview.
Keri found this backpack in her compost bin this afternoon, on 39th SW between Dakota and Genesee: “Couldn’t find a wallet, or much to identify it. But there are some things that the owner can tell us to identify it. I’m guessing it was stolen, the thief took what they saw as valuable and then stashed it in our bin.” She took it to the Southwest Precinct this evening, so if you think it’s yours, contact police, but if you’d want to check with her first, you can e-mail us and we’ll forward your contact info.
2:42 PM: Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: 21-year-old Anna V. Kasparova is charged with first-degree murder in Tuesday night’s West Seattle shooting death of her 25-year-old former boyfriend Edixon Velasquez, and prosecutors are asking that her bail be doubled to $1 million. We’re reading the charging documents now and will be adding details as we go. More…
2:57 PM: The details in the charging documents are largely the same as those in the probable-cause documents that we reported after Kasparova’s bail hearing Thursday afternoon, saying that she had messaged Mr. Velasquez saying she wanted to meet with him at his house but did not want to come inside, and that after he went out, ostensibly to help her park her car, a man walked up to it, pulled him out, and after that man ran away and Kasparova drove her car away, Mr. Velasquez was on the ground with two gunshot wounds. The account of what was shown on a neighbor’s surveillance video, however, has a few additional details:
This video shows a black sedan drive by Velasquez’s residence two times (driving off camera each time) and returning a third time. At this time, the black sedan, without trouble, pulls into a parking spot just across the street from the victim’s residence. It remains there for approximately 45 seconds, when it inexplicably moves out of that parking spot and back into the street. The black sedan then attempts to parallel park in front of Velasquez’s residence. This new parking spot is quite large (at least two car lengths long) yet the black sedan stops partially in the street. Approximately a minute later, Velasquez comes out of his residence and walks up to the driver’s side of the black sedan. A female gets out of the driver’s seat, and Velasquez gets into the driver’s seat and appears to help park the vehicle. The female curiously walks across the street and some yards away, appearing to take cover behind a parked vehicle. Simultaneously, a male in a hooded jacket or sweatshirt and blue jeans comes into camera view and walks right up to the driver’s door of the black sedan. The male appears to open the driver’s door and pull Velasquez out of the car. There appears to be barely a struggle, as Velasquez falls to the ground (and remains there until police arrive). The hooded male runs away on foot while the female appears to calmly walk back over towards Velasquez. The timing is such that the female and the hooded male actually cross paths, neither appearing to be startled or concerned by the other. The female walks right up to Velasquez’s body, making no attempt to help him or check on his well-being. Instead, she immediately gets back into the black sedan and drives away.
The charging document offers no further information about the possible identity of the other suspect, nor about a motive. But prosecutors summarize the information above in their document as, “the defendant appears to have set the victim up for this murder, luring him out of his home with a ruse.” They argue for the increased bail by saying, “The State believes that the violent and premeditated ambush in this case, coupled with the defendant’s utter lack of remorse, is strong evidence that the defendant poses a significant danger to the community.” She is scheduled to be arraigned – the hearing at which an initial plea is entered – on October 5th.
7:38 PM: The King County Jail roster listing for Kasparova indicates that the judge did indeed grant the request to double her bail, which is now listed there as $1,000,000. In addition, there’s an indication that police do know the identity of someone else being sought in the case – a name is listed as “accomplice” on the “superform” sent with the charging documents, but there are no details about that person, no information on what role they are believed to have played, nor are they listed on the jail roster, which we’re continuing to watch. Also, a commenter on an earlier story mentioned that this GoFundMe page is raising money for memorial expenses.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports:
STOLEN CAR: Taken near 56th/Alki around mid-morning Thursday, a black 2011 2-door BWM 128i cloth top convertible.” Photo of its plate:
Call 911 if you see it.
STOLEN TRAILER: The photo and report are from Cary:
My 1978 Aros utility trailer was stolen sometime between 9/18- 9/21 in the back alley between the 5400 block of SW 46th and 47th. Any information would be greatly appreciated as I just purchased the trailer a month ago.
STOLEN PACKAGE: Matthew‘s video tells the story of the theft of a package containing his child’s birthday present:
He says it happened near 51st SW and SW Edmunds; if you have any tips about the thief’s identity, you can refer to police report # 17-350167.
We have just found out more about what police believe preceded the shooting that killed a West Seattle man outside his home near 31st SW and SW Elmgrove on Tuesday night. The information is in probable-cause documents from this afternoon’s court appearance of the 21-year-old Burien woman arrested the next morning, whose bail has been set at half a million dollars.
The documents say the suspect is an ex-girlfriend of the victim, who is identified in those documents as 25-year-old Edixon Velasquez. Police say she messaged him Monday saying she urgently wanted to meet with him at his home. Then on Tuesday, she messaged him to say she was outside his home but did not want to come in, asking him instead to come outside. He was having dinner inside with his two roommates; they saw her car go by and wondered why she didn’t want to come in. The victim eventually went out, saying he would help his ex-girlfriend park her car, and moments later the roommates heard at least one gunshot, and saw the ex-girlfriend getting into her car.
The documents say that surveillance video obtained from a neighbor shows that Velasquez got into the driver’s seat of the car (after “a female” exited that seat), and then a man walked up to the car from the north, appearing to open the driver’s door and pull Velasquez out, with the victim then falling to the ground. That man was said to then run away, while the ex-girlfriend walked up, looked down at the victim, making “no attempt to help him” according to police, before getting into the car and driving away. When police found her at her mother’s house in Burien the next day, the documents say, she “denied knowing the identity of the shooter and the motive for the shooting, but admitted that she did nothing to help the victim after the shooting and that she left the scene and never called 911.” As reported Tuesday night, Velasquez died at the scene. Documents from today’s hearing do not describe the man except to say that he was wearing “a hooded sweatshirt and long pants.” He is still not in custody so far as we know; the female suspect, meantime, is due back in court tomorrow, at which time we should find out whether she will be charged.
1:53 PM: Just in from SPD – a 21-year-old woman has been arrested and jailed in connection with last night’s murder in the 8100 block of 31st SW, and a second suspect is being sought – no name or description yet. They’re still seeking tips at 206-233-5000 – the case is by no means closed. The victim was shot to death in the street outside his home just before 7 pm last night; he has not yet been publicly identified. Police say today’s arrest was made in Burien, and that they do not believe the deadly shooting was random.
2:31 PM: The suspect is likely to appear in court tomorrow, at which time probable-cause documents will likely reveal more about the case. Meantime, we’ve checked her record, and, at least in this state, it has no felonies. She was arrested two and a half years ago on suspicion of 4th-degree domestic-violence assault but, documents say, the city of Burien – where she was reported to be living – declined to file charges.
7:01 PM: Emergency responders are arriving in the 8100 block of 31st SW [map], where someone is reported to have been shot, according to scanner traffic. Police are reported to be looking for a suspect. More to come.
7:14 PM: According to radio transmissions, a black Jetta might have taken someone away from the scene, headed south from 31st. The victim, a man around 25-30 years old, with at least two gunshot wounds, was said to be undergoing CPR.
7:27 PM: SFD confirms that the victim has been declared dead at the scene. That would make this the fourth homicide investigation of the year in West Seattle, less than two weeks after the third.
7:55 PM: Homicide Unit detectives have arrived, our crew reports, as has citywide media. Police say they are looking for one suspect, but no description has been made public.
9:15 PM: We are back at the scene, where Det. Mark Jamieson has just briefed media. No arrest, no description – the killer is believed to have fled on foot and then gotten into the aforementioned car. The victim was found in the street, and evidence – shell casing(s), we learned earlier – indicates he was shot there, but there’s no info about whether he lived in the area. Police are expected to be on scene at least a few more hours. 31st is blocked at Thistle on the south.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: One suspect is in jail, another is being sought, police tell us. We’ve started a new story here.
Three reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
BUSINESS-BURGLARY ARRESTS: Just reported this afternoon via SPD Blotter – three 13-year-old boys were arrested after a South Delridge business break-in. The vape-and-smoke shop in the 9000 block of Delridge Way SW was broken into late Friday night, and police say that was the second burglary in less than a week. This time, the shop’s owner saw the burglars via a live video feed, called 911 immediately, and police found the suspects “several blocks away (with) numerous items from the store in their possession.” The store’s owner also gave police video from the burglary on Sunday, September 10th, and SPD says one suspect “matched the description of a suspect depicted in that burglary as well,” adding that: “All three suspects were arrested and subsequently released to their parents/guardians. The stolen merchandise was recovered, photographed, and returned to the owner.”
Two other West Seattle burglary reports are now in the online files of incidents for which narratives have been publicly posted – we’ve summarized them below:
BURGLARY FOLLOWING SHOE DEAL: This began with a transaction for a pair of Yeezy shoes, advertised online for $400, bought by someone who met the seller in the 9000 block of 10th SW early Sunday morning, September 10th, near his residence. About six hours later, the house’s residents left; one resident got a call six hours after that from someone saying he had “located a bag with her property in it in Des Moines.” The recipient of that call subsequently went home and discovered someone had broken in and stolen items including the shoes purchased earlier in the day. Police were called. Some hours later, the officer got a call from the victim, who, according to the narrative, said “she had actually recovered the jewelry and ID cards [stolen from her home] … and the stolen shoes were back [for sale online] now for sale for $350.” The narrative says police were going to set up a sting – but doesn’t say how that turned out.
CAR STOLEN IN ADMIRAL BURGLARY: A resident in the 2700 block of 45th SW called police late last Monday night (September 11th) to say that someone had burglarized her home and stolen her purse, keys, and car. She explained that she had a brand-new puppy and had gone out to show it off to her neighbors, and the burglary and theft happened while she was gone. (The report narrative does not include details about the stolen car nor whether it’s been recovered yet.)
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW: Another reminder – Tuesday night, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster), the WSCPC meeting brings you a chance to hear about crime trends and bring questions/concerns directly to local police.
PACKAGE THIEF ON VIDEO: Blake‘s security video captured the theft of two books from a porch near California/Charlestown just before 6 am Tuesday:
WOULD-BE BURGLAR THWARTED? A reader shares this neighborhood alert from 38th/102nd in Arbor Heights overnight:
Potential intruder rang our front doorbell. We awoke to the doorbell and thought for a minute that maybe the paper delivery person had rung the bell (which was odd). We got up to check (first looking through the window to make sure no one was on the porch) but there was no paper or person on the porch. We then heard scuffling around at our back door and someone trying to open/push/force our door in. We pounded loudly on the door from the inside and yelled to the intruder that we were calling 911 and to go away. The intruder then pounded back very loudly and forcefully. We yelled again that we were calling 911 and to go away. Officers arrived and searched our property. There was no one on our property at that point. They said this is a typical MO (mode of operation) for a burglary, first ringing the front doorbell or knocking to see if someone’s home, and, if no one answers they then move to the back door to break in. If you hear night-time activity at your door, listen to your gut and don’t hesitate . . . call 911.
REMINDER: Your next chance to hear about local crime trends and bring neighborhood concerns to police is on Tuesday night (September 19th), 7 pm, as the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster).
6:37 PM: Outside the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School right now, 15-year-old Derek Juarez-Lopez – murdered the day before he was to start his sophomore year – is being remembered at a public vigil.
Some of his poems have been read (video added):
And his sister is speaking.
It’s also been announced that there will be a moment of silence during the upcoming Sealth-West Seattle HS football game that starts across the street at Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) at 7 pm. Police are continuing to investigate the murder, which happened at Westcrest Park a week and a half ago; no one’s been arrested yet. The SPD tip line is 206-233-5000.
7:24 PM: More photos added. We are at the game now, and have learned that the moment of silence was actually held before the game. As announced by Sealth’s principal on Thursday, Derek’s memorial service is at 4 pm Sunday
Three notes in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STOLEN BICYCLE: From Darcy:
My bike was stolen from 42nd and Andover behind my house, attached to the railing. This is it, but the seat is a larger white/black cushion.
MAILBOX PROWLER ON VIDEO: From Chris:
Just wanted to report a mailbox prowler that we caught on video on the corner of 36th and Henderson early (Wednesday) morning. Looks like a slight built gentleman, mid-length brown hair in a bowl-type cut, wearing a blue Seahawks jersey.
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Just another reminder that, after a summer break, WSCPC’s next meeting is next Tuesday (September 21st), 7 pm, at Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). Bring your questions and concerns for local police.
(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with details on services, vigil)
7:14 PM: Eight days have passed since 15-year-old Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park, the day before he was to start his sophomore year at Chief Sealth International High School. Police have said they believe the motive was robbery, but there’s no word of an arrest, nor even a suspect description, so far. When we asked this week for an update, their official statement remained that it is an “active and ongoing investigation.” We also asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to elaborate on how the park is being handled; he replied, “We have stepped up our patrol presence in that area, not only because of the recent tragedy, but also to curtail the property crime issues and other nefarious activity that we’ve experienced there.”
The memorial service for the victim, meantime, is planned for Sunday
night, 6 pm, in Columbia City, according to the Sealth school bulletin, which does not specify the location but does say a campus vigil to celebrate his life is also being planned, date TBA. And the crowdfunding drive to help his family has passed its initial goal; its organizers, Sealth staffers who have worked with Derek and his family, have updated the page to say that Derek’s family wants “to personally thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love that they have felt over the past week.” They added, “As community youth workers, we thank you also for the beautiful love that you have shown them.”
ADDED 7:11 AM THURSDAY: Just received from Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
There will be a vigil this Friday, 9/15/17 in commemoration of the short life of Chief Sealth sophomore Derek Juarez-Lopez who was murdered by an unknown assailant on September 5th. The vigil will be held at 6:00 PM in front of the auditorium. Everyone is invited to come out in support of the family and students who now mourn the sudden and tragic loss of this thoughtful and considerate young man.
In addition, the family has announced that they will host a memorial service in Derek’s honor on Sunday, 9/17/17 from 4:00 to 5:00 at Columbia Funeral Home at 4567 Rainier Ave South. There will also be a public viewing on Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00 at the same funeral home.
A team of package thieves to watch for, according to this reader:
A package theft on 28th Ave SW near Holden around 2 pm (Tuesday). Amazon box containing a couple clothing items stolen from a front porch. Neighbor witnessed and reported a 1990s teal Subaru with a white female driver and an black male accomplice– white t-shirt & track pants, maybe about 6′ tall, who ran up the driveway, grabbed the package, and both fled in the vehicle.
3:11 PM: If you saw the police response on Delridge – with Guardian One overhead for a while – a short time ago, here’s what we know so far: They were following a vehicle, described as a gold or beige pickup truck type of vehicle, that did some sort of damage outside Home Depot. Per the scanner, the driver headed onto the eastbound bridge, then Northbound 99, and into downtown. A different precinct picked up the search there, so we don’t know if the driver eventually was stopped; meantime, we’re off to look at the reported local damage.
3:33 PM: Photos added, above. The damage was primarily to plants and shrubs that were on display outside the store.
10:15 AM: Look familiar? Maybe something stolen in a car prowl, or … ? Suzanne found the basket and items strewn in the street in Gatewood, so it’s likely they weren’t simply “lost” (otherwise, we do have a “lost/found/non-pets” section you are welcome to use in other circumstances). If they’re yours, please text her at *number removed*. (She’s reported this to police, too.)
4:13 PM: Suzanne tells us the items have been claimed, so we have removed her phone number.
As promised, we are continuing to follow the case of Ryan Cox, the repeat offender charged with stabbing a man in Gatewood a month ago. His first post-arraignment hearing was originally scheduled for last Friday; as he had done multiple times previously in early stages of the case, he refused to go to court, so a judge entered an order authorizing deputies to force him to appear today, if he tried refusing again, and court documents indicate a hearing was held this afternoon. Documents from the hearing indicate that Cox is seeking a trial rather than leaving the door open for a plea agreement, which is how a majority of cases are resolved. His trial date is tentatively set for October 23rd, depending on what happens at a case-status hearing on October 6th. Today’s court documents also say the prosecution is seeking a CrR 3.5 hearing in the meantime; according to state law, that’s a hearing generally held to rule on whether a defendant’s statements to law enforcement are admissible. Cox is charged with second-degree assault and remains in the King County Jail, held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
One reader report in West Seattle Crime Watch so far today, from Josh in Highland Park:
Our white ’99 Subaru Outback Legacy was stolen last night (9/10-9/11) from the street in front of our house on the 8400 block of 13th Ave SW. License plate number (WA) 015-ZWS. It also has a ‘2017 Solar Eclipse’ sticker on the back window. We made a police report, but if anyone sees it, give us a call, 253-222-7060.
P.S. It’s time to start reminding you that the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council resumes its meeting schedule next week – Tuesday, September 19th, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster).
From Seattle Police‘s crime-prevention coordinator for the Southwest Precinct, Jennifer Burbridge: “We have recently seen an increase in bicycle thefts in the North Admiral and the Alaska Junction neighborhoods. Due to this increase, the SW Precinct would like to provide our communities with some helpful prevention techniques.” See them here, and/or embedded below:
Six West Seattle Crime Watch items ahead:
SEX OFFENDER RELEASED: Thanks to the reader who let us know that convicted sex offender Duane Atwood, 40, was released from prison this past week. We last covered his case in 2015, when he went to prison after pleading guilty in an indecent-exposure incident on Beach Drive and for failing to register as a sex offender after moving back to the area, as a 2000 “burglary with sexual motivation” case required him to do. According to the King County sex-offender registry website – which has published his photo (shown at right) and other information – Atwood reported to authorities that he is living in Tukwila.
FROM THE POLICE-REPORT FILES
SPD posts a small percentage of report narratives, with several days’ delay, so we check the files periodically for local cases; these three from last weekend are the newest ones available:
HIT-AND-RUN: The afternoon of Sunday, September 3rd, police were called to the 10600 block of Marine View Drive for what was reported to be a hit-and-run injuring a pedestrian. The “pedestrian” turned out to be a resident who said it started when he noticed someone had parked a white Lexus SUV blocking his driveway while visiting a yard sale next door. The man’s wife went over to try to find the driver. A “verbal altercation” with “harsh/abusive language” ensued, as well as actions including horn-honking and mutual video recording. The yard-sale visitor, according to the report narrative, eventually “entered her vehicle and backed up abruptly,” hitting the man, knocking him down, then reportedly getting out and “laugh(ing) at him” before getting back in her vehicle and driving away. Multiple people at the scene provided police with the license plate number, which led them to a woman in her mid-50s living elsewhere in West Seattle. The victim also had a photo of the driver. When found at her home, the police report says, she acknowledged backing up, but thought the man was “faking” having been hit/hurt. She was arrested and booked into jail. The victim was checked out by Seattle Fire.
2 WEEKS, 2 BREAK-INS: In the 7700 block of 18th SW on Labor Day, a resident reported that his detached garage had been broken into overnight – just a week after his house had been burglarized. The garage was ransacked, with several power tools missing. Police found fingerprint evidence from the top of a trash can that the resident said had been moved during the burglary.
ROBBERY AFTER COLLISION: Last Saturday night (September 2nd) near Delridge and Brandon, a driver and bicyclist collided. Police then got multiple reports of a fight. Their report says the driver pulled over after hitting the bicyclist, who rode across Delridge, eastbound, in front of the driver, who was headed southbound. The driver pulled over, and two men ran over, with one punching through his car window, before they pulled him out of the car and started beating him up. They also went through his pockets before a woman ran up and got the to stop. The victim told police that he was missing his cell phone and a pack of cigarettes. Police found their suspect nearby – smoking the same brand of cigarette, claiming he had found the pack on the ground, and in possession of a phone matching the description of the one that was stolen. He was arrested for investigation of robbery and booked into jail.
TWO READER REPORTS
From the inbox:
CAR EMBLEMS STOLEN: From Alex:
I parked my car at Seacrest Park on Friday to take the water taxi and had the Volkswagen emblems stolen off my wheels while I was away. It would have happened between 6:45 AM to 7:00 PM. Not an expensive fix but still very annoying. I am curious if this has happened to anyone else.
It’s been reported to police.
CAR PROWL ATTEMPT: Brian shared this video and the report:
Last (Monday) night at 11:56 pm, a person attempted a car prowl on 40th Ave SW between Hinds and Manning. Fortunately, the doors were locked and nothing was taken. It was interesting to note what he was wearing: shorts, white baseball cap, and jacket with two reflective white logos on the back near each shoulder. I was surprised the thief was working this early in the evening. He worked quickly and barely triggered the motion activation on the cameras. The attached video was captured with an ARLO wireless security camera. In the future, I plan to connect the ARLO system to an App called IFTTT which can then be programmed to trigger a phone call and alert a sleeping user. A reminder to keep your doors locked!
11:12 AM: Thanks for the tips about the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter over North Delridge and vicinity. We just talked to Seattle Police, who say they are looking for a suspect in a reported break-in in the 4500 block of 23rd SW [map]. They do have a partial description; black, male, 6’2″, dreadlocks, dark top and red shorts, last seen leaving on foot. If you have any information, call 911.
ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Paige, whose home was broken into, tells her story in this comment.
2:58 PM: A Chief Sealth International High School staffer who has just spoken with the family of 15-year-old Westcrest Park stabbing victim Derek Juarez-Lopez just told us the school’s announcement of a vigil tonight was incorrect – the family actually had one last night, and is NOT planning one tonight. Just wanted to let you know in case you were planning on going. Meantime, we just checked with Seattle Police, who tell us they have no new information to release in the case, though detectives are continuing to pursue leads, and are still welcoming tips – 206-233-5000. Meantime, the online crowdfunding campaign for the family continues here.
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: The tribute to Derek, nicknamed “Peachy,” has grown:
(UPDATED 4:08 PM with new information about victim, how to help family, vigil planned)
9:46 AM: An update this morning from Seattle Police, one day after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park. Detectives now believe robbery was the motive for the killing. They’re not going into further details so far, and there’s no suspect information to share, but they wanted to get that information out as they “actively pursue leads,” and they are asking again for any and all potentially helpful information – you can call the tip line at 206-233-5000. As reported in our Tuesday coverage, the victim was found by passers-by after walking out of the woods on the south side of the park and collapsing near 6th SW/SW Cambridge. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.
4:08 PM: Thanks to the community member who sent this link for a just-established crowdfunding page for the family, on which the victim is identified as Derek Juarez-Lopez. His family has spoken with The Seattle Times; their story says he was an incoming Chief Sealth International High School sophomore, something we had been trying to get the district to confirm, while also asking if a letter would be sent to families. Classes started at CSIHS (and other Seattle Public Schools) today.
4:41 PM: Here’s the letter families have received from Chief Sealth’s principal Aida Fraser-Hammer – note that it mentions a vigil at the park tomorrow night:
There comes a time in the life of every community that events happen that are difficult, painful and outside the scope of our everyday activities in school. It saddens me to start the school year with the news that one of our incoming sophomores died unexpectedly yesterday. I have been in touch with the family to offer support and let them know the school community is thinking of them as they grieve the tragic loss of their son. I’m sending you this letter to update you on the facts, to assure you that we are doing everything we can to support our students, and to suggest ways you may help your children.
Yesterday, you may have heard about a stabbing in West Seattle. We were notified yesterday afternoon that one of our students, Derek Juarez Lopez, was the victim. Derek was going to be a 10th grader this year. When we talked with Derek’s family, they wanted us to know how much he loved his family, school and friends. They also let us know that he was particularly excited about starting the new school year at Chief Sealth and they gave permission to disclose his name so we could be the ones who informed our students and his friends.
Because this happened just yesterday, we all have more questions than answers. We are in close contact with the Seattle Police Department to ensure that we are aware of any new information. At this time, there are no known suspects. As we learn more we will share this information with our students.
When a classmate dies, it may trigger all kinds of expected and even unexpected reactions in our students, especially if the person who has died is a peer or close friend. Today, we brought in additional counseling resources and will continue to provide support as needed for students. . Our students have been demonstrating a great deal of compassion and kindness. I am very proud of how our staff, students and families are supporting each other.
Parents and guardians have important roles in helping students understand such tragic events. We have encouraged our students to talk with their families about their ideas, thoughts and beliefs. Please call us at 252-8550 if we can help in any way. We believe that it is important to understand and respect each child’s experience. We are also discussing personal safety and will continue to discuss this throughout the school year. Your family’s focus on student safety will help reinforce this message.
Our hearts and thoughts go to Derek’s family. The family plans to have a candlelight vigil at Westcrest Park tomorrow at 7:00 PM. As we learn of more ways to support them, we will let you know. Our community is close and having a tragedy such as this occur makes me realize what a wonderful school community we have at Chief Sealth International School. I want to share our staff’s appreciation of your support and patience during our time of grief.
A memorial for Derek is up now at the site where he was found yesterday morning, 6th and Cambridge:
Again, 206-233-5000 if you have any information that might be related to this crime.
THURSDAY UPDATE: We are now told the vigil information was incorrect.
(UPDATED 4:54 PM with police reporting that victim was a teenager and that he has died)
9:22 AM: A Seattle Fire “assault with weapons” response is arriving at 6th SW and SW Cambridge, on the edge of Westcrest Park (map). According to radio transmissions, a man believed to be in his mid-20s has multiple stab wounds. Police are searching. We’re on the way to find out more.
9:29 AM: Life-threatening injuries, according to medics’ radio discussion, which also says the man was found “on the street,” no weapon found, circumstances unknown.
9:37 AM: Our crew has arrived and says that roads around the scene are being closed off as the search continues.
9:45 AM: You may see a helicopter searching the area too. Meantime, early details have been published to SPD Blotter, including:
… Just before 9:15 AM, the victim, a man in 20’s, walked out of the woods and collapsed on a sidewalk near 6th Avenue SW and SW Cambridge Street. The man said he’d been stabbed and passersby called 911.
9:51 AM: Our crew confirms Guardian One is over the area. We’ve also spoken with a lieutenant who confirms what’s been reported previously and says that Homicide Unit detectives have been sent.
10:38 AM: No new information yet, but the investigation continues. If you have any information, call 911.
4:54 PM: Police have just provided an update – saying that the victim has died, and that he was a teenager, 15 years old, not an adult as originally believed:
The victim has died from his injuries. Detectives have confirmed he is 15 years old, not in his 20’s as previously reported. This crime occurred at the southern portion of Westcrest Park. Police are investigating and are asking anyone with information about this case to call 206-233-5000.
We just talked with SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson and he confirmed that’s all the new information they have – they want to hear from anyone who might have seen or heard anything that can help with this “very active homicide investigation.” This is the third homicide investigation this year in West Seattle – the first one was the May shooting on Alki that killed a 23-year-old man (still no arrests); the second one was the baseball-bat killing of a 24-year-old man at an encampment over Highway 509 in June (two people arrested and charged).
WEDNESDAY NOTE: We have published an update on the case here.