West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just after 9 am Tuesday, we noted here that a City Council committee had scheduled a briefing today about gun violence.
Just before 9 pm Tuesday, West Seattle’s second shooting in three days took the life of a 23-year-old man.
This morning’s briefing ended a little over an hour ago, and while much of it was focused on citywide trends, prepared long before the deadly shots last night on Alki Beach, councilmembers did ask repeatedly about the case and what will be done to try to prevent more violence and to reach out to neighbors.
The stats regarding the number of gunfire incidents/shootings are through May 15th, councilmembers were told. So that does not include the two West Seattle shootings in the past three days – Sunday in High Point, last night on Alki.
About the deadly shooting itself. SPD management at the briefing said the same thing that had been sent out as an SPD Blotter update earlier in the morning – it’s not believed to be random. Some sort of confrontation preceded it, with a large group in the area “because it was a nice day.”
West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – not a member of the committee but in attendance – asked about plans for increased patroling on Alki. The main part of the answer: Bicycle patroling was being stepped up.
She also asked about use of the mobile precinct – after years without one, the SW Precinct got its own in late 2015 (WSB file photo above) – and how that’s decided. It’s up to the precinct commander, she was told.
At that point, we messaged SW Precinct leadership and talked with Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The mobile precinct has spent some time on Alki already this year, he said, but they have to balance it with deployment to our area’s other trouble spots – Westwood, Roxhill Park, Don Armeni Boat Ramp (last weekend), South Park, among others.
Councilmember Lorena González, the West Seattle-residing at-large councilmember who chairs the committee that was briefed today, said she had heard good things about the mobile precinct’s use and wondered about its funding and staffing. She also asked what SPD’s plans are regarding reaching out to neighbors and others worried about what happened last night and about safety in general. She referred to a woman who had spoken about the Alki shooting, emotionally, during the public-comment period at the start of the meeting.
The response started out with a mention of Community Police Team outreach and eventually circled around to a suggestion that SPD could call a community meeting to provide information and answer concerns. And what we hear at every police briefing at neighborhood meetings was reiterated – call 911 if you see something that makes you “feel uncomfortable … we need to come out and see what’s going on.”
Again, this briefing was scheduled long before what happened last night, and was more intended to address a wave of shootings in the South Precinct jurisdiction earlier this year, as well as citywide trends. Toplines on that included SPD reps saying that Seattle’s violent-crime rate is lower than it was a few years ago – same number of incidents, more residents.
But the number of gunfire incidents this year is higher than previous years, and here’s some of what’s being done to address that:
SPD says they’re looking at “street segments” where there are repeated problems and trying to analyze how to address it – for example, one such location somewhere in the city was a convenience store, so they were looking at talking with the business owner about better lighting. (There’s no grant money to help with that, so far as SPD knows, though – that was noted in response to a question.) Somewhere else in the city, a house that was repeatedly fired at was once the home of gang members, and though they had moved, their “opponents” continued to go by and shoot at it.
What about public perception that safety could be improved by police visibility in known trouble spots? Herbold asked. SPD says they do ask officers to drive through such areas, spend “down time” in such areas. Data-gathering is a big part of their effort to reduce the problem. So is regional collaboration to put what happens into context and try to prevent future instances, and the recognition that some of the trouble stems from people “coming into and out of our city.”
Collaboration with other agencies includes tracing shells/firearms with help of ATF.
Video of the entire briefing should be available via Seattle Channel‘s video archives by day’s end, and we’ll embed it here when it is. (Added: Here’s the video.)
We’ve also asked the Southwest Precinct for any additional details of what’s planned in terms of a presence on Alki for the upcoming holiday weekend, which is likely to be a busy one at the beach with sunshine predicted to return starting Friday and continuing into next week.
9:12 PM: First we got a call about gunfire heard on Alki – then, a big emergency response for an “assault with weapons” call at 62nd and Alki. More to come.
9:19 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli is at the scene and says a victim is being worked on in an aid unit. A witness tells him the same thing we heard from some readers – multiple shots. Police have been looking for a vehicle, described via scanner as a gray Mercury Marquis, last seen heading out across the bridge.
9:41 PM: SPD is sending a public-information officer to Alki to brief media. Detectives are on the way too. There is no information so far about the victim’s condition – only that they have been taken to Harborview Medical Center.
9:48 PM: More police continue arriving at the scene – Gang Unit and Homicide Unit among them. Please note that the presence of the latter does NOT mean anyone has died – they respond to certain non-fatal incidents as well.
10:12 PM: The PIO has arrived so more information should be available soon. And a side note, as we reported 13 hours ago, SPD has a scheduled City Council committee briefing about gun violence tomorrow morning – this will certainly be part of it.
10:45 PM: Police briefing wrapped up. (Added – here it is in its unedited entirety:)
Victim in his early 20s, life-threatening injuries. No suspects in custody so far. Both SPD and a witness with whom we just spoke say it was preceded by a large gathering, and then some kind of disturbance, and then gunfire. The witness said everyone then scattered – except the victim, who had fallen to the ground.
11:46 PM: Police recap has just appeared on SPD Blotter – the only additional detail is that the victim was shot “several times.” Still no word of arrests or suspect/vehicle description; anyone with information is asked to call police.
ADDED EARLY WEDNESDAY: A commenter identifying herself as the victim’s mother says he did not survive.
8:03 AM WEDNESDAY: A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson confirms to WSB that the victim died.
8:38 AM: Police have updated the SPD Blotter report, adding that the victim was 23 years old, and that they believe he was targeted, that this was not random.
4:13 PM: The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as Jordan D. Thomas.
9:04 AM: In discussion following recent gunfire incidents in our area – with or without victims/damage – someone invariably asks what elected officials are doing about it. One answer just came in via the agenda for tomorrow morning’s meeting of the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee – an item titled “Seattle Police Department Briefing on Gun Violence” is first up at 9:30 am. No documentation is attached to the agenda yet; we’ll check back. The SPD briefers are scheduled to include Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey. The committee is headed by West Seattle-residing at-large Councilmember Lorena González; its meeting starts at 9:30 am Wednesday at City Hall – if you can’t be there, you can watch live via Seattle Channel, online or cable 21.
P.S. As of SPD’s most-recent SeaStat briefing last Wednesday – see page 5 of this slide deck – shots-fired incidents were ahead of this point last year, with 155 reported citywide (the graphic at right is from that slide). The Southwest Precinct area – West Seattle and South Park – has the second-highest number of them, though at 27 so far this year, that’s a distant second to the 72 reported in the South Precinct.
5 PM UPDATE: The slide deck for tomorrow’s briefing is now available here.
New information just in from Seattle Police on the High Point gunfire mentioned here Sunday afternoon. Though no victim was found after police arrived at the scene at 35th/Morgan, SPD says that about half an hour after the gunfire was reported, “dispatch notified officers a 20-year-old male was dropped off at Harborview Medical Center with a non life-threatening gunshot wound to the leg. The victim reported he was putting gas in his car … when he heard multiple gunshots, one of which struck him.” Police found “multiple shell casings and other possible evidence” and say that witnesses described “two possible suspects, one a female in her 20’s with blonde hair and a male in his late 20’s with dreadlocks, possibly firing shots at a silver sedan that was last seen speeding away from the scene.”
Two reader reports:
THE THIEVES WHO DIDN’T WANT THE CLUBS: From Randy at 39th SW/SW Andover:
Husband found both our unlocked cars rummaged through this morning around 5:30 am. Small amount of cash taken, Bushnell golf scope, men’s dress shirt, reusable shopping bags, CDs, car maintenance book, insurance cards, ball/hitch unit. Luckily he recovered his golf clubs near the water tower at 39th and 40th.
VISITORS VICTIMIZED: From Sara in the 4400 block of 52nd SW:
We had family visiting from Oregon and their car was prowled outside our home (Saturday) night. iPad and gift cards were stolen from inside the vehicle.
P.S. Another reminder that the next crime/safety-related discussion in our area is 7 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, May 23rd), when the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster); agenda details are here.
Thanks for the tips. Multiple people reported hearing gunfire near 35th and Morgan in High Point, and now police have Morgan blocked off east of 35th as they investigate. No victims reported; we don’t know yet what if any evidence of gunfire they’ve found.
Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
CAR WINDOW SMASHED: The photo above is from Deborah in the 4100 block of Beach Drive SW, who says, “My car, parked in the apartment parking lot, had its rear passenger window smashed in around 5:00-5:20 this afternoon. Nothing was removed from the car, and no signs of tampering to the ignition and steering column. Called it in to the police, but they’ve not had any similar reports in the area.”
PACKAGE PROWLER: The photo above is from a reader who says this person was prowling their neighborhood on Thursday afternoon, in the 5600 block of 40th SW, “looking under vehicles and pretending to check the garden of the area. He looked over our gate for packages or anything that could be grabbed; he has rain boots on that come just below the knee, green shorts, a black hoodie with an insignia, black hat, sunglasses, and it looked to be dark brown hair.” One neighbor reported a stolen item; the suspect was reported to be associated with a silver Ford Focus Coupe, tinted windows. Police were notified.
TUESDAY: WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF THERE WAS AN INTRUDER IN YOUR HOME? That’s the focus of next Tuesday’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting, 6:30 pm at Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). The presentation will feature Community Police Team Officer Todd Wiebke. All welcome – in a Block Watch or not.
As recommended by prosecutors in a plea agreement, residential drug treatment was the main sentence ordered Friday for Michael E. Maine, who pleaded guilty to selling heroin at the now-closed Junction bar his family owned, the Corner Pocket. Court documents from the Friday afternoon sentencing hearing show that King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mack ordered the residential version of the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative for Maine, who is 39. He is now ordered to spend three to six months in residential treatment, followed by two years of community custody (probation). The sentence also includes a year of suspended jail time. As reported here earlier this month, Maine pleaded guilty to three drug charges and one count of attempted unlawful gun possession. The Corner Pocket has been closed since police served warrants there and at Maine’s West Seattle home the night of his arrest last December; what’s next for the space is not yet publicly known.
Can you help find a suspected killer? The King County Sheriff’s Office has just identified a suspect in the May 7th murder of James Little in White Center, and released his photo:
A Murder 1 warrant has been issued for Billy D. Williams, 30, of Oregon, for the May 7th murder of Seattle resident James Little, 30.
Little was attending a birthday party at a bar in the 9800 block of 16 Ave SW when a group of women got into a fight. The fight ended up outside and the women eventually separated.
Little approached a group of people across the street when Williams, who was in the group, pulled a gun and shot him in the head, killing him.
Detectives have not released a motive for the shooting but said Williams has ties to Albany, Oregon and Seattle. Williams is described as a black man, 30, 5’8”, medium build.
If you have information regarding the whereabouts of Williams you can call 911 or you may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
Two reader reports:
TIRE SLASHING: From a Sunrise Heights resident: “We had two tires (the road side) slashed on our company van last night. Sitting in front of our house. Feels very personal, but was wondering if their were any other reports in the area — 32nd and Holden.”
FOUND BICYCLE: John sent the photo:
He says, “This bike has been sitting at this spot for at least 3 weeks. I saw it before I left town at the end of April and it’s still leaning against the same telephone pole. It’s at the corner of 59th Ave SW and 60th Ave SW (between SW Charlestown and SW Andover). It’s a blue Sekai bike.”
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Opioid addiction continues to be the root cause behind much of West Seattle’s property crime problems, Captain Pierre Davis explained at last night’s meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council.
Opening the meeting, the Southwest Precinct commander updated community leaders and interested residents on the West Seattle/South Park police force’s progress on a number of crime-related issues. Later in the meeting, SPD’s citywide Traffic Enforcement Section commander was the special guest.
First, trends and issues: Davis says car prowls are down 22 percent from last year over the first four months of 2017, but that there continues to be a lot of auto thefts occurring in West Seattle neighborhoods (neighborhood-crime statistics are available via the SPD Crime Dashboard). While police continue to track cases and make a significant number of arrests, Davis says that reacting to crimes after the fact will have minimal impact on the issue.
“As the chief says, we will never arrest our way out of problems like this,” said Davis.
The captain reiterated advice about assuring valuables are not left in vehicles to help prevent becoming a victim, especially with the warmer weather of summer months approaching, when Davis says activity tends to rise. Read More
12:48 PM: Thanks for the tips. Police are investigating a possible holdup/attempt at Washington Federal north of the Junction. More to come.
1:04 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports that a K-9 unit is at the scene, searching for a suspect described as a white man around 40 years old, about 5’7″, dark curly hair that might have been a wig, wearing a Gap hoodie, armed with a handgun. The bank is currently closed.
ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: At tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (separate report to come), we followed up with police. No arrest, but “lots of nice footage” of the suspect, we’re told. None of it public so far.
An incident this morning led to the principals of Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School sending this letter to families a short time ago. It was sent to us too:
We want to share with you information regarding an incident that was reported today involving one of our scholars as she exited a Metro bus on her way to school. At approximately 8:50 AM, a 9th grade female scholar reported that she was followed off the bus by a man when she disembarked at the corner of Delridge and Thistle. She stated that the man grabbed her wrist and asked her if she wanted to go with him. She was able to free herself from his hold and then she ran to school. She reported the incident to Chief Sealth staff, who notified the police. The Seattle Police Department is investigating the incident.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area before and after school.
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.
• Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.
• Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
• Keep earbuds off and expensive phones out of sight.
While a church youth group was having lunch in The Junction, somebody broke into their van. The report is from Emily, who says this happened around 3:30 pm Saturday afternoon. The group’s van was parked in the Junction lot off 42nd SW, south of Oregon, while they had lunch. Emily says, “The kids (high school) were coming back from a hike and left some of the gear, backpacks, camera in the van and someone (or many) broke in while they were eating in Lee’s Asian, and took most of their stuff. So sad and unnecessary. Not sure there’s any way to get the kids’ things back but would love to catch the thieves.” She says a screwdriver was used to break the van’s lock, and the stolen items included two gray backpacks, Swiss Army pocket knife, Sony A5100 camera, white hoodie, North Face rain jacket, iPod touch. We don’t have the incident number, but will add it if we get it.
We’ve heard from multiple people in the past hour who reported suspected gunfire east of Fairmount Park, near 36th/37th/Brandon. 911 is reported to have received multiple calls, and police were sent to investigate; we haven’t heard yet if they found evidence of gunfire – casings and/or property damage – but so far, no victims are reported. One person tells us a neighbor reported seeing gunfire exchanged between people in two cars.
Officers arrested a 25-year-old man Wednesday after he fired a handgun in a West Seattle park.
Officer Stephanie Hemsley was patrolling near 29th Avenue SW and SW Barton Street at 11:30 pm when she heard gunshots near Roxhill Park. Officer Hemsley began searching the area and saw a man and woman running towards a parked gray Pontiac.
Officers stopped the vehicle and, saw a handgun sitting on the floor of the car under the driver’s seat, and found the man was carrying bullets in his pants pocket.
The man admitted to officers that he had fired multiple rounds inside the park.
Officers released the woman from the scene after determining that she had not discharged the firearm.
The man was booked into King County Jail for discharging a weapon within city limits and a concealed weapons violation.
We’re checking right now to find out more about the suspect. (Added 11:24 am) The suspect remains in jail but details on the citations aren’t available in the Municipal Court system yet, so we’ll have to check again later.
Another attempted early-morning burglary, interrupted by a resident. Bobby says this happened at an apartment in the 6000 block of California SW [map]:
On Monday morning at 4:00 AM, I woke up to a loud noise and went into my living room to discover a thief climbing through the window. I yelled loudly and he ran off. He only managed to break the outside screen before I caught him. Pretty startling to wake up to someone climbing through your window.
Bobby says SPD responded quickly and found a possible suspect; we’re checking on the status of the case.
P.S. Got questions about crime/safety? A member of the Southwest Precinct Community Police Team, Officer Jon Flores, is confirmed for tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW/SW Lander).
Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
HIT-RUN DRIVER LEAVES BUMPER BEHIND: The photo and report are from Angela:
My family woke up this morning to our car totaled by a hit and run. We live on the increasingly dangerous street of 49th and Admiral. This is the SECOND TIME it has happened in 2 months! As much as we love paying $500 deductibles, this is getting ridiculous. The way people drive up Admiral from the beach and whip a right onto 49th is scary and reckless.
We have lived here for 6 years and have seen at least 7 or 8 hit and runs just on our block. I’ve reported it to the city before, but the fact that it’s a main arterial they said they can’t do anything about it?
We have called the police and are keeping an eye out for a Land Rover that has the front bumper gone this morning (photo above). … I would really love to catch this person!
We’ll add the SPD incident number when available. (ADDED 11:13 AM: 17-160911)
CAR PROWL: From Joe:
Our car was broken into during the early morning of 5/7 in the Gatewood area on SW Willow between 38th and 39th. No signs of forced entry. Various items including golf clubs were taken.
7:22 PM: Thanks for the texts. The big police response in North Delridge (and beyond) has to do with a search for a suspect and at least one of two vehicles reported to be involved in some kind of incident at Delridge and Findlay. The vehicles were described as a blue SUV and a Mustang. This is from the scanner – we don’t know yet what started all this but at some point along the way, one of the drivers was reported to be trying to run over officers. More as we get it.
7:48 PM: The search for one suspect who reportedly bolted toward the Longfellow Creek greenbelt continues, with K-9. (Other areas are being searched too.) The Mustang is being towed from the gas station on Delridge north of Findlay.
We just talked with police, who say the suspect they’re seeking was associated with the Mustang and is being impounded because there might be a gun in it. And that, they tell us, is how this started – a gun-flashing incident involving a confrontation between people in the 2 cars. No gunfire or injuries reported.
King County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating a shooting that left one man dead along 16th SW south of SW 98th early today. The street remains closed between 98th and 100th. Our full report is on partner site White Center Now.
One reader report so far today, from Meredith:
Car window broken overnight on SW Austin St and 19th:
Broke my driver’s-side car window that was facing the street, sometime between 1 am and 11 am. No stolen property or other damage.
This is the second time this year. Neighbors across the street have had at least two car break-ins since August with stolen property but no vehicle damage.
The driver in the crash that closed 35th/Morgan for four hours two weeks ago is charged wth vehicular assault, felony hit and run, and reckless endangerment. The charges filed against 27-year-old Treveon R. Smith were first reported by seattlepi.com; we just obtained the court documents, which summarize what investigators say happened as Smith drove his 2002 Dodge Intrepid northbound on 35th SW with “three acquaintances” inside on the afternoon of April 20th:
He was speeding at highway speeds on a 30 mph arterial. He lost control and crashed into a parked van and then spun into trees coming to an explosive uncontrolled stop. The defendant was ejected during the crash. Witnesses to the crash rushed to help the passengers exit from the car which caught on fire and began to burn. The defendant was seen “jogging” away from the scene wearing only a t-shirt and boxers, but was soon caught in an alley. He initially fought, but became more cooperative when it was pointed out that he had injuries and the firefighters were trying to help him. The defendant admitted he was the driver and admitted smoking PCP or methamphetamine and marijuana earlier.
One of Smith’s passengers, a 35-year-old woman, was described as still being hospitalized in critical condition as of the court filing last week. Another passenger suffered minor injuries, and the third was reported to have declined medical attention. The police report accompanying the charging documents says Smith, a South Seattle resident, was likely going at least 60 mph when he first crashed into a parked Seattle Housing Authority van before his car went on to stop in the 35th/Morgan intersection. He remains in the King County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.