West Seattle, Washington
For the second consecutive day, Gatewood stabbing suspect Ryan Cox refused to appear for his scheduled bail hearing, according to King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe. So another one has been scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday), and Cox remains in King County Jail, three days after he was taken into custody, accused of stabbing a 40-year-old West Seattle man multiple times after a confrontation at California and Orchard. The victim’s friends and family say he will survive. Prosecutors are expected to make their charging decision on Monday; as we detailed on Wednesday, Cox has been in and out of the criminal-justice and mental-health systems for years.
Two days after the Gatewood attack that left a 40-year-old West Seattle man in the hospital with serious injuries, two new developments, including the first hearing for the suspect. First, for everyone who asked how they could help the victim and his family – this crowdfunding page has been set up, identifying the victim as Court Heeter. From the page:
As many of you have heard, Court was the victim of a violent knife attack on Tuesday, Aug. 8, near his home in West Seattle. He sustained many life-threatening stab wounds and was fortunate to have Good Samaritans and first responders get there in time to save his life. He is now recovering in the hospital with his wife and family at his side.
Court is a strong man and is expected to recover from his physical wounds beautifully. He is indeed also a very lucky man to have survived an attack of this magnitude – we are so thankful he is here with us.
People are asking how to help. Meals are always thoughtful but in some cases can be disruptive to a household with small children that is already experiencing stress. In addition, a steady stream of visitors is overwhelming for this private family.
Obviously, there will be medical bills and other costs associated with this tragedy. As friends of the Heeter Family we are concerned about what lies ahead as he starts to work through what has happened.
Let’s come together and raise some money to ease any extra burdens we can for this family. Whether it be for a family vacation, medical bills, groceries, house cleaner – Whatever the Heeter Family needs money for let’s help provide it. Thank you for any donation amount or positive thoughts and prayers you can provide.
Again, the link is here.
Next – the hearing information, just in: As we first reported yesterday morning, police identified the suspect as 39-year-old Ryan J. Cox, who has been in and out of the criminal-justice and mental-health systems, as detailed in this followup yesterday afternoon. After police first took Cox into custody at the scene of Tuesday night’s attack, he was taken to the hospital for what investigators said were self-inflicted stab wounds; last night, he was medically cleared to be booked into King County Jail, and this afternoon, he had what was scheduled to be a bail/probable-cause hearing. According to King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe, Cox “refused to appear in court”; the judge ruled there was probable cause to continue holding him, and set a bail hearing for tomorrow afternoon. The document provided for the hearing has the same narrative information that we included in yesterday afternoon’s followup, with the addition of Cox’s claim that he stabbed Heeter – who police say was unarmed – in self-defense, claiming he had clashed with the victim the night before. The probable-cause document also notes that law enforcement does not want to see Cox released, because he is “very aggressive” and because the incident involved “assault with a deadly weapon.”
We will update again tomorrow after the second hearing.
10:18 PM: Seattle Fire and Police are on the scene of what medical radio transmissions describe as a double stabbing at California and Orchard [map]. Two men, both around 40, are being taken to the hospital.
10:39 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli is at the scene and reports that California is closed between Myrtle and Othello. The stabbings are reported to have happened out in the street.
10:55 PM: Though SPD has not yet commented at the scene, they’ve just tweeted that one man stabbed the other and then himself, so no one else is being sought. Seattle Fire says one man was transported with life-threatening wounds, one with non-life-threatening.
11:04 PM: While we are still waiting for a more-detailed account from police, multiple witnesses – at the scene and by phone – say the man with the life-threatening wounds was in his car when attacked by the other man. The car is reported to be the white SUV in our photo above.
12:20 AM: Police at the scene continue to decline comment, referring inquiries to media relations, so we likely will not learn anything more until later this morning. Christopher reports that as of midnight, the road was still closed as the investigation continued.
7:32 AM: So far, still no additional information from police. Meantime, a commenter identifying herself as the victim’s wife posted overnight that he was in surgery.
8:07 AM: Here’s the entirety of what police just posted to SPD Blotter, the first official information since one tweet late last night:
The male victim, age 40, is at Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries while the suspect, 39, is also at Harborview with non-life-threatening injuries.
On Tuesday, August 8th at 10:00 pm, Southwest Precinct officers responded to a call of a fight and stabbing near California Avenue SW and SW Orchard Street. Officers arrived and located both the victim and suspect. The victim had extensive injuries to his chest, head, and upper arms. Seattle Fire medics arrived and treated the victim at the scene and then transported him to the hospital. The suspect also had stab wounds to his thighs, which he stated occurred during the course of the attack.
It is unknown what led up to the confrontation, but witnesses interviewed at the scene confirmed that the suspect attacked the victim and that the victim was not armed. It is unknown what the relationship is between the two men, if any. Officers recovered a knife at the scene and submitted it into evidence.
The suspect was also treated at the scene and transported to the hospital, where he remains under police custody. Once the suspect has been cleared medically he will be booked into the King County Jail.
Detectives will conduct the follow up investigation.
This remains an active and ongoing investigation.
8:51 AM: As just noted in comments, police have confirmed to us by phone that the suspect, who remains in the hospital at last report, is Ryan Cox. WSB policy usually precludes identifying suspects until and unless they are charged, but given the neighborhood history with Cox, this is an unusual case and we are making an exception. That history goes back to 2009, when he was arrested in connection with graffiti vandalism involving homophobic slurs. At the time of his arrest, police said then, he was carrying a knife.
(added) It has been three years since he was last mentioned on WSB, after his release from jail following completion of a sentence for an assault case in which he pleaded guilty in 2013. As we mentioned in comment discussion below, we’ve checked city, county, and state records and no recent criminal cases were shown – the most recent case of any kind was a citation last December for “consuming/possessing open container of liquor in public,” according to the Municipal Court website. Before that, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing in August 2015.
ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Cox was booked into jail just before 8 pm tonight.
If you’re part of the Gatewood Elementary community, you’ve probably already heard, but the district is now publicly sharing the announcement that the school’s new principal Kyna Williams is on the job as of this month. She formerly led Destiny Charter Middle School in Tacoma. From Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland‘s letter:
Kyna Williams was one of multiple candidates interviewed by a hiring committee that included school staff, parents, principals, and central office staff before being recommended for the consideration of the Superintendent and Chief of Schools. The committee was impressed with her commitment to social justice and her experience with school culture building. She is a strong instructional leader and relationship builder.
Ms. Williams most recently served as Founding Assistant Principal, and ultimately the Principal at Destiny Middle school in Tacoma, where she created and implemented positive behavior supports and school-wide culture systems and a system of professional learning for educators in a brand-new middle school. She has also served as a school leader in Washington, D.C. where she facilitated teacher engagement programs, coached and supervised teams of teachers, and oversaw a teaching residency program. She has also taught math and science and tutored literacy skills.
Principal Williams earned her Masters in Elementary Education from Chaminade University in Hawaii; her Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Minnesota; and was a Teach for America corps member.
I would like to extend my thanks to Principal Connie Aleman for working to create an inclusive environment for all students. She has worked diligently to create systems to support students’ social and emotional well-being so that all students can access learning with success at Gatewood.
Principal Williams is excited to be joining the Gatewood Elementary community, and is looking forward to
working with the students, staff, and families to build a place where all stakeholders have high
expectations of students and believe that every student can succeed.
8:44 PM: Thanks for the texted tip – 53 homes are without power in Gatewood, the Seattle City Light map confirms. No word yet what caused the outage; the estimated restoration time is after 2 am, but remember that those times are “guesstimates” at best – could be sooner, or later. (Let us know if you see a repair truck – text or call 206-293-6302, our 24/7 hotline – thanks!)
10:30 PM: The map is now updated to attribute the outage to “bird/animal” – which is in line with the first comment below. No change in the restoration guesstimate, though.
5:39 AM: Power was restored early this morning – see comments.
Just announced by Seattle Public Schools: After the school year ends, Gatewood Elementary principal Constance Aleman will be moving across the peninsula to take the newly created position of assistant principal at West Seattle’s most populous elementary school, Genesee Hill. She has been principal at Gatewood for four years. Letters have gone out to both schools’ communities – here’s what Aleman said in her announcement:
It is with mixed emotions I am writing to inform you this will be my last year at Gatewood Elementary School.
After four amazing years and careful consideration, I have decided it is the right time for me to pursue a new leadership opportunity. I have accepted a role at Genesee Hill Elementary; I am excited to stay within the West Seattle community and to work more closely in the areas of Special Education, social-emotional learning, and family engagement. As difficult as this is for me, I feel confident I am leaving this school in great shape and ready to continue the amazing work of providing academic excellence for each student.
While seeking new opportunities brings some excitement, I want you to know this was not an easy decision for me. I’m indebted to so many incredible friends and colleagues who have made my experience here a lifelong memory. At Gatewood there are positive, innovative, and hardworking staff, and a supportive and positive group of families. I cherish the brilliant, caring, and committed students. It has been an honor serving all of you the past four years. As much as I will miss this community, I will cherish the memories and reflect fondly upon them as I move forward in both my professional and personal life.
As we wrap up the year, I am hopeful you continue on the path we have laid together. Together we have worked toward the mission of fostering a school climate of compassion, academic excellence, problem solving, creativity, and cultural awareness. It inspires me to see the school, families, and the community working together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each student. This mission lives with you. Your relentless commitment, drive, and compassion for our students will ensure that our mission of excellence continues on!
I will finish out the school year at Gatewood and my first day with Genesee Hill will be July 1. The formal search process for hiring a new principal is underway as we look forward to the next school year. The process will include an opportunity for Gatewood staff and the community to provide input. Executive Director of Schools, Helen Joung, will communicate updates to the staff and community.
Thank you all for your kindness and support. I have appreciated it more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students. It is because of you that I know Gatewood will continue to be the very best school ever!
Constance Aleman, Principal
Gatewood Elementary School
You can read the message sent by Genesee Hill principal Gerrit Kischner to his community here.
Around the same time we were checking out tonight’s big police response in Highland Park, there was also an emergency call at 35th SW and SW Willow in Gatewood. The scene was clear by the time we got there to check, but the online incident log indicated someone was taken to the hospital by Seattle Fire Department Medic 32, and we did just get some information from SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb. He says a “young male” was taken to Harborview Medical Center wth “facial injuries,” in stable condition. The rider, who was wearing a helmet, “apparently went over handlebars after going off a drop” at a park, which we believe would have been Myrtle Reservoir Park.
1:18 PM: Sunshine got you in the mood to grow something? Check out this year’s Westside Plant and Garden Art Fair, on until 3 pm today (and again 10 am-2 pm Sunday) at WSUU, 7141 California SW, in Gatewood. You can do more than shop – right now, until 2 pm, for one, Kevin Pinnell, “The Balloon Man,” is there to make balloon sculptures for kids. Live music until 2:30 pm, too.
ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Thanks to Jonathan Rawle for the next two photos:
Above, WSUU member Eileen Duffy was showing her young friend Binegar what’s in the raffle prize baskets. Below left, plant volunteer Rose Sheppard offered advice on plant selection:
Again, you can check out the second day of the fair 10 am-2 pm Sunday.
Time for the next steps in the Gatewood Elementary playground project, and you can help, in a variety of ways. From Sandy Lennon:
The final draft design for the SW corner of our playground — based on student and community priorities — will be presented this coming Monday, May 8, 6-6:30 pm in the school cafeteria just before the general PTA meeting. Karen Kiest, landscape architect, and Gatewood’s playground steering committee will present the design, explain next steps in fundraising and implementation, and take questions and final feedback from our community.*
And, we need your help to make playground improvements a reality!
To apply for a $100,000 implementation grant from the City’s Neighborhood Matching Fund in June, we need to come up with $50,000 worth of community match in the form of volunteer hours, cash, and in-kind donations. Could you, family, and/or friends pledge:
-volunteer time for work parties? All ages welcome!
-a cash donation?
-a donation of food and drinks for work parties?
-If you are a contractor: help with heavy equipment or irrigation work?
-If you own a plant nursery or landscaping business: donated/discounted trees, soil, mulch, sod, boulders, logs or other needed materials for improvements?
It all counts toward our match, so come and lend your support for playground improvements. If you can pledge to help but can’t make the meeting on Monday, please email Sandy Lennon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On that note, save the date! Second Gear Sports, our West Seattle sports-consignment store, is donating 10% of sales on Sunday, May 21, to playground improvements. Gear up for your summer sports on May 21 and help us on our way to a better playground.
*Playground design work has been generously funded by a Small Sparks grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Neighborhood Matching Fund and the Gatewood PTA.
3:33 PM: The greening of Gatewood Elementary‘s schoolyard continues. This afternoon, volunteers are working to build and install raised garden beds – and Sandy Lennon tells us about two chances for everyone to get a look this week at what else is going on:
We’ve been working hard and are gaining momentum in improving our playground and learning garden at Gatewood Elementary.
*To support our learning garden, our online fundraiser through Seattle Seed Co. continues through this week. Order organic seeds and/or other garden-related goodies here. (See the flyer here.) Gatewood receives 50% of proceeds. Thanks for your support!
*We recently won a $5,000 Small Sparks grant from the City’s Department of Neighborhoods to complete design and construction documents for improvements in the southwest corner of our playground (our playfield).
*We’ve been working this school year to gather information and ideas and confirm the school’s priorities for that space, and we have a few draft design sketches ready for community viewing and feedback. We’ll be posting the sketches at our PTA meeting on Monday night, March 13, 6:30-8 pm in the school library, and at our Art Walk / Open House on Thursday, March 16, 5:30-7 pm on the main floor of the school. Community members are invited to stop by, take a look, and leave comments that will be considered as we finalize the design. For a preview, you can go here.
Gatewood Elementary is at 4320 SW Myrtle.
ADDED 5:55 PM: “Here’s what our group of volunteer students, parents and teachers accomplished today,” Jeannie wrote, sending us this “after” photo:
Seattle City Light has just gone public with its next round of locations for utility-pole replacements, in Gatewood, Upper Fauntleroy, Highland Park, and Burien. Embedded above (and also available on the SCL website) are five 2-page flyers for different areas, each one with its own map(s) – note that what you see above is the first of FOUR map pages, one every other page, so be sure to scroll through or check the SCL website directly; below, the announcement from SCL:
Starting in mid-to-late March 2017, Seattle City Light’s contractor, Magnum Power LLC, will be replacing aging utility poles in parts of its service territory. This project will enhance electrical reliability by replacing older poles in the system. The installation of new poles, wire and equipment relocation is an important investment in infrastructure.
Crews will be working in the following areas:
· SW Elmgrove St to SW Sullivan St (east of California Ave SW)
· SW Holden St to SW Southern St (west of 35th Ave SW)
· SW Thistle Street to SW Henderson St (west of 35th Ave SW)
· SW Kenyon St to SW Trenton St (east of Delridge Way SW)
· SW 122nd St to SW 126th St (west of 1st Ave S)
Highlights from the project:
· The entire project is anticipated for completion by the end of 2017. Daily work hours are from Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Crews may be working in other areas before transitioning to these construction areas.
· The new poles will be placed alongside pre-existing poles. They will meet standard heights and widths required for overhead power line construction. This may mean that poles in your area will be slightly taller and approximately two inches wider than existing poles.
· Once the electrical equipment is relocated, it may take several months before the other companies with utilities on the existing poles make their transfer(s). We will continue to monitor/coordinate these efforts as needed to facilitate the removal of old poles.
For more information, customers can contact:
· Percy Schlimm, Sr. Electrical Service Representative at email@example.com or (206) 386-1735.
· Kevin Knutz, Magnum Power Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 904-8318.
SCL says that if you’re affected, you’ll be getting all this information directly, too. (This round includes our area of Upper Fauntleroy, we notice, so we’ll be watching to see when the direct customer communication arrives.)
ADDED NOON WEDNESDAY: For the record, our notice arrived via postal mail this morning.
Just found out about this tonight at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), where organizer Sierra Shea was handing out flyers: For the next three days, you can drop off new or gently used blankets at Gatewood Elementary School to help the children of Mary’s Place. The organization helps homeless families around Seattle (and will be operating a family shelter soon in White Center). Blanket dropoffs are welcome Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, March 1-3, 7:30 am-3:30 pm, at the school, 4320 SW Myrtle. If you have questions, text or call Shea at 206-265-2362.
Concerned about public-school-funding problems, from the district’s “levy cliff” to the state’s McCleary Decision? Your next chance to find out where things stand, and what concerned citizens can do, is tomorrow night. The Gatewood Elementary PTA invites everyone – whether you are affiliated with their school or not – to their meeting tomorrow night (Monday, January 9th), 6:30-8:30 pm in the cafeteria (4320 SW Myrtle). The announcement shared by vice president Melissa McNeel says their special guest is Heidi Bennett, a longtime advocate who’s been the Legislative Chair for the statewide and citywide PTSA/PTA organizations, among other involvement. Child care will be available for the meeting, as will interpretation services in Spanish and Somali.
(WSB file photo)
If you use West Seattle’s longest stairway – along the SW Thistle right-of-way, east of Lincoln Park, west of Northrop Place – you might have noticed some markings along its top section this fall, suggesting plans for future work. In fact, SDOT is planning “improvements” on the 61-year-old stairway next year. It’s the only West Seattle stairway on the map/list of 10 citywide slated for SDOT work in 2017. If you use the stairway, here’s a survey open until December 30th, asking what you would like to see done, and what the city should know before its project begins.
Thanks to Megan K for the photo and report from Gatewood Hill, with encouragement for all their West Seattle neighbors to give to fight hunger:
A sincere thank you to all those who donated non-perishable food items to the West Seattle Food Bank last night! A big shoutout to our neighbor Patrick Shandy, for promoting the drive and collecting all the food. It’s never too late to donate; your contributions mean a lot :)
The photo and report are from Kate:
There is a car on my block that has been there for a week or so, and has not moved. The front and back plates have been removed. I suspect it is a stolen vehicle and that someone may be looking for it. I have reported it as an abandoned vehicle. It is in the Gatewood neighborhood, on 37th Ave SW, just to the south of Holden. It is a black, late 90s, early 2000s Volvo wagon with a lot of bumper stickers. The door to the gas tank is also missing. There appears to be some kind of wood shelves in the back.
“Nice chatting with you, neighbor.” That friendly goodbye, said as one participant left the “peace gathering” at Myrtle Reservoir Park tonight, summarized what it was all about – neighbors gathering with neighbors. We stopped by around 45 minutes into it, and at least 50 people were there.
It was informal – candlelight, pizza, children running around and playing. And a lot of talk. One person told another that she was worried some ongoing issues won’t be resolved in her lifetime. And certainly, nothing was going to be resolved in one night. But Mary Ellen Cunningham told us she had the idea for the gathering, while having trouble sleeping last night.
Sarah, who sent us first word of the gathering this afternoon, tells us tonight, “Thanks to all who came out to the peace gathering tonight – I know many were encouraged simply by your presence.” She adds that a mailing list is being set up “regarding further gatherings and ways to come together as a community,” so if you’re interested, please e-mail email@example.com to be included.
2:10 PM: Just out of the WSB inbox from Sarah, who describes this as a “peace gathering”:
Join us tonight at 5 pm at Reservoir Park on 35th & Myrtle for a time of being together as a community. This isn’t about joining to stand against our new president or the people who voted for him. It’s about joining together to stand FOR love, FOR justice, FOR equality, and to give a space for those who are grieving and afraid.
Bring warm jackets, picnic dinner, candles, games or instruments. We look forward to seeing you there.
3:02 PM: Sarah adds that this is a family-friendly gathering
5:42 PM: We are stopping by the event right now. Several dozen people of all ages are here, on the north side of the park by the play area.
Back in August, we published an invitation for you to get involved with Gatewood Elementary‘s quest for a “green schoolyard.” It’s moving ahead, despite a recent setback, and your involvement is still heartily welcomed, says Sandy Lennon:
We’ve posted the final permaculture design proposal for a Gatewood learning garden/outdoor classroom (here). Take a look! We are currently soliciting feedback on the design from our school staff, community, and the school district.
· If you’re interested in the Gatewood project, or generally interested in green schoolyards, learning gardens, or permaculture in schools, you can sign up to follow our conversation at: gatewoodgreenschoolyard.org
· We learned recently that we were unfortunately not awarded a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant for green playground design work in this round of funding. We will be meeting this week on Thursday, November 3, 5:00-6:30 pm in the school library, to de-brief on City feedback, review the 2006 Gatewood conceptual master plan, discuss our current vision and possible staging of work, and determine next steps for both the playground and garden. Our principal, PTA leadership, and a representative from the school district will be participating. Gatewood families and interested neighbors are encouraged to join us.
Gatewood Elementary is at 4320 SW Myrtle.
3:50 PM: What started as a house-fire response has now switched to a “rubbish fire that spread to brush” in the 7300 block of California SW in Gatewood [map]. We’re on the way to check it out.
4:01 PM: The last SFD unit was pulling away as we got there. So, it’s out, and wasn’t major.
You can help Gatewood Elementary get greener – by helping plan playground improvements and/or renovating the school garden. Here’s how:
Help us imagine and design a greener schoolyard at Gatewood Elementary!
We are applying for a Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) grant to design playground improvements to renovate active play spaces and provide more opportunities for connection with nature and outdoor learning. Think shade trees, natural play areas, wildlife habitat, etc.
We want your input and need your help to win the NMF grant, as we need to demonstrate community match/engagement through pledges of volunteer time. Could you attend any evening design meetings next spring (there will likely be three meetings, Jan-Apr 2017)? If you are a Gatewood family, neighbor, or interested community member, please join us! Children and teens are more than welcome.
To pledge your time, please email Sandy Lennon (firstname.lastname@example.org) with names (of all participating family members), address/zip, phone, email, and the amount of time you can offer. If you don’t want to share all contact info, an email or phone contact is fine.
We are also hoping to begin rejuvenation of our school garden to be an awesome learning garden, outdoor classroom, and permaculture demonstration project. If you’re interested in helping with this project, we’d also love to hear from you.
11:17 AM: Seattle Fire has sent an “automobile rescue” response to a crash scene reported at 35th and Southern [map] in Gatewood. Per scanner, southbound 35th SW will be closed at Elmgrove. More to come.
11:27 AM: Our crew just arrived. Two cars involved – a VW Bug and Ford Escort.
SFD had to cut into the latter to get to a patient. No word yet on injuries.
11:37 AM: Neither driver is seriously hurt, so this will not be a long-running investigation situation; the Escort’s driver will be taken to a hospital via private ambulance to be checked out.
11:50 AM: KM mentioned the southbound Route 21 reroute in comments – and now there’s an official alert from Metro:
Transit Alert – Rt 21 is rerouted off SB 35 Av SW btwn SW Holden St & SW Thistle St. Use the stops on 35 SW at Holden St or at Thistle St.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) August 26, 2016
12:!5 PM: Reroute’s over, meaning the road’s open again, per Metro alert. Also, we’ve added two more photos from the SFD response earlier.