West Seattle, Washington
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight:
STOLEN CAR: Rebecca‘s neighborhood in Gatewood has been hit again by car thieves. Her car was taken two months ago; we published her report, and an observant neighbor spotted the car nearby. Tonight, she says, two sisters visiting the neighborhood reported someone stole their car just feet from where Rebecca’s was taken in the 3900 block of SW Elmgrove [map]. It’s a 2009 Nissan Versa, baby blue, WA plate ending in 632, “trim near driver-side door hands loose near keyhole.” Call 911 if you see it.
DOORSTEP THEFT: In the 9000 block of 4th SW [map], Sheila reports a doorstep theft last night:
Our neighbor returned a car battery recharger he borrowed, left it on the front step at 10 pm. We have video of a man quickly walking up the front walk at about 11:20, grabbing the small pouch with the charger in it, and walking quickly away. I’ve reported to police. … The guy was wearing a hat so can’t see his face. Short, apparently dark hair is best we’ve been able to make out. Coat with bright tape (like safety jacket) and high-top sneakers.
P.S. Reminder – this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting is next Tuesday (June 21st), 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster; map).
P.P.S., ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: WSCPC president Richard Miller tells WSB that the guest on Tuesday will be SPD’s Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey, who will be able to speak about the operations of the 911 Center, among other topics.
A little help can make a big difference. That proved true this morning in Gatewood, where resident Jill Boone decided to organize a spring cleanup once she found out nobody else had something planned for the area. Despite the chilly rain, a small, stalwart group got the job done:
We had three families for our Gatewood litter clean-up out in the rain this morning, picking up litter from the water tower Park to Holden, especially the bus stops. Two big bags of trash were picked up. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts somewhere besides the ground!!
Here are a few photos of the Morelands and the Boones. Many thanks to the City for Spring Cleanup support. We hope to do this again on a day when it’s a bit drier to be out and about.
Not too late for your own community cleanup!
The second and final day of the first-ever Westside Plant and Garden Art Fair is on! We stopped in just as the gate opened at 11 am and were pointed to the sign you see above, celebrating what a huge success Day 1 was. If you get there soon, you’ll still find some plants:
But there’s lots else to see and do, including kids’ activities. This is all happening in the lot outside Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 7141 California SW in Gatewood.
Before you go, browse the official website!
5:17 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at a possible house fire in Gatewood, in the 6700 block of 36th SW [map].
5:20 PM: Early arrivals have made the preliminary assessment – as monitored via scanner – that it’s a “small smoldering fire in the attic.”
5:22 PM: All but three SFD units are being dismissed. Those remaining on scene report “water on the fire.”
5:28 PM: Our crew has arrived and confirms that firefighters have extinguished the small fire in the attic, believed to be electrical in origin. No injuries reported.
Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: 22-year-old Malik R. Jones is charged with first-degree burglary in connection with the Saturday morning break-in (WSB coverage here) in which a Gatewood woman was startled awake by an intruder touching her. State law incorporates assault in this particular charge (read the law here), so it covers the alleged touching as well as the burglary itself.
Prosecutors are asking that Jones’s bail remain set at $100,000, though his only criminal history is described as a “reduced DUI charge” resolved three months ago in Pierce County, where he is believed to live. Allegations in the document are largely what we reported on Monday, after his bail hearing, except for the added information that the cell phone stolen from the victim was later found outside the house, “smashed to bits.” More to come …
$100,000 is the bail amount set today for the 22-year-old man arrested early Saturday for allegedly breaking into a Gatewood home and trying to get into bed with a woman asleep with her 5-year-old. We first reported the incident on Saturday morning after hearing from the victim.
From the narrative of the incident written by police, used to determine there’s probable cause to hold the suspect:
(The victim) was woken up by male touching her face and shoulders. She thought it was her husband and said, “Honey, what is it?” An unknown male said, “It’s OK. He’s asleep.” The male kept saying, “It’s OK.” She tried to turn on her nightstand light but the suspect grabbed her wrist, restraining it. He held her wrist for a bit, but then she was able to pull away and turn the light on and call for her husband. The suspect turned away and walked off. The suspect was a (black man), 20’s, about 5’6 with short hair, wearing a gray and green checkered shirt and jeans, apparently intoxicated. She did not know the suspect and he did not have permission to come into her home or to touch her. Her cell phone had been charging on her bedside table but it was now missing.
At 0332, Officer Gindhart saw the suspect walking in the alley just south of the location. Officers detained the suspect … At 0342, I transported (victim) to the location. She immediately recognized the suspect Officers were contacting, and positively identified (him) as the person who burglarized her home, touched and restrained her without permission. Officer Gindhart read (the suspect) his Miranda rights from his SPD resource booklet and asked if he understood. He said, “Yes.”
Officer Ginhart transported (the suspect) to SW Precinct. I spoke with (the suspect). He said he thought he was going to a house his brother rented for a big party all weekend. He said he was looking for his brother. He was affected by alcohol and/or drugs, with watery eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of intoxicants on his breath. He said he never touched anyone or took a cell phone. He was later booked into KCJ for Investigation of Burglary.
(A neighborhood party was mentioned in WSB comment discussion over the weekend.) Online records show a dozen cases for the suspect, all in Pierce County, but no felony charges/convictions. Prosecutors will decide later this week whether to file charges.
7:20 PM: Reader report from Ron:
Sunday afternoon 1/31. someone had target practice with my back window of our car. We heard the car alarm sound and when we checked our car, there were BB-sized dents around the window. Unfortunately the back window was gravely shot and is not expected to recover. Amazing that this took place in broad daylight. That takes a special kind of person. We are located on the 6700 block of 37th Ave SW in Gatewood [map]. Hopefully we are the only ones who were victimized by this type of idiocy.
10:37 PM: In comments, Ryan reports a similar incident, 7700 block of 32nd Avenue SW.
MIDDAY MONDAY: And more reports in comments. We’re working on a followup.
Multiple reports this morning of Comcast being out in Gatewood. They’re reporting the company hopes to have service back by 11 am.
Side note: Checking the city’s Office of Cable Communications page, we note it’s still taking comments on the proposed Comcast renewal through Monday.
As promised, we’ve followed up today on Sunday morning’s burglary in the 8200 block of California SW, with a nearby resident seeing it happen and calling it in, but police not arriving until after the burglar was gone.
The 911 call was made at 11 am, as we reported on Sunday – the witness has record of that on a cell phone screen. The first officer to arrive at the house was shortly after quarter past – we happened to see it firsthand, because we are based a few blocks south and happened to be heading out on an errand at the time.
Here’s what SPD told us happened in the meantime.
*The dispatch went out at 11:03. An officer was headed to the house by 11:09.
*Before arrival, police got word the burglar(s) had left (11:14, the witness said), and so instead of proceeding immediately to the house, they tried to find the vehicle, using the description and plate (Washington AWB5824 – here’s a photo from the witness):
As the witness told us, they spotted a car they believed to be the vehicle, and they tried to pull it over – but the driver didn’t stop, and proceeded “in an unsafe manner,” as SPD put it, so officers were told to terminate the pursuit, which is SPD policy if it’s believed to be a threat to public safety. From the SPD pursuit policy, which you can read in full here:
…3. Officers Will Not Pursue Without Justification
The circumstances justifying the decision to pursue an eluding vehicle must be articulable at the time the officer initiates the pursuit.
Officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:
– Traffic violations / Civil Infractions
– Gross misdemeanors
– Property crimes
– The act of eluding alone
4. Officers Will Cease Pursuit When the Risk of the Pursuit Outweighs the Danger to the Public if the Suspect is not Captured
Following up on one other point from our original story – the SPD spokesperson with whom we spoke hadn’t seen anything about the mention of “shift change” and did not think that was related. The case is open, SPD verifies, and detectives have “good information” to follow up on.
(Police blocking road near scene)
3:20 PM: Thanks for all the tips. Avoid California SW in Gatewood between Portland and Ida – there’s a big police response. Initial scanner traffic indicated police were trying to make contact with a possibly armed man in a house in the 7700 block of California.
Officers just knocked on the door and went inside.
3:39 PM: Our crew says police came back out without anyone, but there’s someone in a squad car. That doesn’t necessarily mean an arrest; we are waiting to talk to the sergeant on scene to find out more.
3:49 PM: Police tell us the person they have in custody is the person they were called about because of concern he was going to harm himself. They did not find anyone else in the house; no one is injured. They expect to be at the scene a while longer, and the road is still partly blocked. (Whenever we mention crisis situations like this, we also always mention the local 24-hour Crisis Clinic hotline – 206-461-3222.)
5:02 PM: Just got a chance to go back and check the area. The road is open again.
Incidents we’ve been tracking tonight:
11:13 PM: Police are responding to the Westside Unitarian Universalists Congregation church in Gatewood (7141 California SW) right now after a report of a possible burglary/theft. The Guardian One helicopter is in the area and offered to help search for a possible suspect, so you might hear it shortly. No description at this point beyond “unknown race male” in a hoodie.
11:20 PM: The helicopter’s in the area now.
11:29 PM: And it’s moved on, while police continue investigating on the ground.
11:50 PM: **Separate incident** but while we have this Crime Watch report open, we’re adding it. Police are investigating a report of someone being robbed at Roxhill Park. No aerial search in this case – the trail was quite cold, as the victim did not report it until getting home about half an hour later. (We have no further info on this one but more often than not, street robberies have a reporting lag because the robber[s] take the victim’s phone.)
12:44 AM: **Separate incident** Police rushed to Fauntleroy after multiple calls about someone screaming for help. After trying to figure out where exactly it happened, they found a victim in the 8600 block of 46th SW, a 21-year-old woman who is reported to have been assaulted. SFD is en route to evaluate her injuries. Police are trying to sort out what happened.
The sun’s out and two vehicle-wash fundraisers happening right now in West Seattle, both by donation:
WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADERS: Until 3 pm, WSHS cheerleaders are washing vehicles at Les Schwab, Fauntleroy/Alaska (map).
TRINITY WEST SEATTLE YOUTH: Also until 3 pm, a fundraising vehicle wash is under way to send Trinity and Skate Church youth to camp. It’s at the church, 7551 35th SW (map).
Jeff lives in north Gatewood and has found car-prowl loot discarded near his house before. He’s been able to reunite items with their owners before … but this time he’s not having luck and asking if you know whose things these are:
I found some things hidden behind a bush off of the alley behind my house that I believe are unwanted items from a car prowl. The items include some clothing, a drawing book, and a CD case that must have 20 or 30 CDs in it.
The book and the clothing probably aren’t worth much but the CDs would have some value. Judging from the drawing book I am guessing that it is all from a young person. There is a name in the drawing book … I could not find a person by that name in West Seattle but then a young person might not show up. There are also some dates from March and then the 4th of July so the items are probably from a recent event. I would like to return the items to the owner if they want them.
We advised him to notify police, but in the meantime, if the owner comes forward, he’d still be able to return the items.
Since midnight, the Seattle Fire Department 911 log shows two “brush fire” calls in West Seattle (out of a total of six citywide today). Above, the aftermath of one of them, shared by Dennis, who wrote, “Someone with fireworks didn’t like our tree. 12:35 last night. Be careful, folks, it is REAL DRY out there … this is what can happen.” He’s in the 3600 block of SW Othello in Gatewood; the other “brush fire” call so far, about 12 hours later, was in the 8100 block of 14th SW in Highland Park.
The biggest party on Gatewood Hill tonight is at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation church at California/Othello – in honor of Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan (above), who’s retiring after 13 years. The party includes a lasagna dinner …
… and marimba music:
Rev. Morgan’s tenure with WSUU included its purchase of, renovation of, and move five years ago into the Gatewood church building, a home of its own after two decades of meeting in rented space. WSUU will welcome an interim minister, Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock, in August; she’s coming from the same role with a congregation in Anchorage, Alaska. But first, Rev. Morgan will preside at tomorrow’s 10:30 am service, at which she’ll be formally installed as WSUU’s Minister Emerita and will share her “best hopes for Westside’s future.”
From Johnny and Kalynn on SW Austin in Gatewood:
We woke up this morning and our truck had been stolen. It’s a Red 1994 Ford F150 XLT. The license place is C89822C. Only the back license plate is on. The front has no plate. If anyone has seen it, we would really like to get it back.
If you see it – as SPD advises, call 911.
12:03 PM: Don’t know yet what it was about, but a group of military helicopters flew northbound over the west-facing West Seattle shore a short time ago. Anybody get a photo/video? We ran out the front door with the phone (resulting in this video, but they’re somewhat tiny-looking in the distance). One observer said via Twitter that it looked like four Chinooks and a Blackhawk.
12:24 PM: Thanks to James Bratsanos and to Joe for sending photos so far. The two above are from James – first the wide view of all five, then a closer look at two of the Chinooks and the (Blackhawk?).
12:28 PM: More info in comments – including Jim Clark spotting what might be the answer to the question of what this was about.
12:33 PM: Further verification of what Jim found – a program on that Facebook page says Special Forces from JBLM were to fly by/in (Paine Field in Snohomish County), with “Chinooks x 4.”
2 West Seattle Crime Watch notes – an incident this evening plus an SPD stats/trends update:
GATEWOOD BURGLARY: A neighbor texted us (206-293-6302 any time) about that big police response near 41st/Elmgrove in Gatewood [map] around 6 pm. When we went over to check, police told us they were checking out a burglar alarm but hadn’t yet found evidence of a break-in; no one was home. Later, though, it was confirmed as a burglary, according to neighbors and to SPD’s automated Tweets by Beat. That was the first confirmed West Seattle burglary, per TBB, since one reported at noon yesterday in the 8400 block of 12th SW.
STATS/TRENDS: Today’s edition of the every-two-weeks SeaStat SPD-wide briefing includes a page of year-to-year and week-to-week stats for the Southwest Precinct, which includes West Seattle and South Park – scroll through this slide deck to the very last page. Year-to-year – January 1st through May 9th this year, compared to the same period last year – every category except aggravated domestic-violence assault is up. (Though there’s no breakdown per precinct sectors, we know that the breakdown in one category – no 2014 homicides in West Seattle and none so far this year; the one 2015 homicide listed for the SW Precinct was in SP.) In the week-by-week stats for the past month, all categories are trending downward (or holding at zero) except for larceny, which was up from 12 in the third week to 13 in the fourth week.
One note tonight, from a Gatewood resident who’s wondering if the same hit-run driver had any other victims:
Unfortunately, our neighbor’s car got hit quite badly about 7:40 pm this evening by someone driving out of control down Rose near 39th. It was a gray SUV. We have of course called the police and our neighbor found the car at 44th and Portland without the driver. The reason I am writing is we heard a loud boom about 5 minutes prior to the hit and run. Please share with the police if your car was stolen or if your car was also hit in the Gatewood area.
Right before Seattle Public Schools got out for spring break (which lasts all of next week), Gatewood Elementary students got to show off their projects for the 4th annual Science Palooza. Here are some highlights from Thursday night’s event, shared by Nicole Sipila, who chaired the science fair:
We had 69 kids with 48 projects. The kids really stepped up the projects this year and everybody was really impressed.
Simone & Delaney exploring sound with their project, The Pitch of Pipes:
… More than just your average volcano replica, Kailey, Hailey, and Hudson made a model of Mt. St. Helens and showed how much of the mountain was lost and the effects of the lahar:
… We also had some exciting guests. UW Material Advantage was on hand to demonstrate material science applications at a graduate school level. Most popular were the semi-conductors.
… Also, Gatewood’s choir, conducted by Mr. Hall, performed the National Anthem to kick start the evening and then came back later to perform two more songs.
It was an amazing night of science learning & sharing, along with a great community building event. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped put this wonderful evening together.
9:18 PM: Auto thieves have hit one family in Gatewood twice in the past three days. The vehicles taken from their driveway/carport are a taupe 2006 Volvo XC70, license plate AMR4548, stolen Friday morning, and a silver 2006 Nissan Frontier 4-door pickup, license plate B31289L, gone since early today. The vehicles’ owners say there was nothing about the first theft that facilitated the second – no key left in either car, for example. If you see either vehicle, please call 911.
9 AM MONDAY: The vehicles’ owner says they both were found in an apartment-building parking lot in the 6500 block of 35th SW, less than a mile away from where they were stolen: “Someone in the apartments called to report the Volvo as a suspicious vehicle. When we arrived, we saw the truck parked in another stall. The Volvo was driven more than 150 miles and contained a lot of drug and DNA evidence. Unfortunately, there were no clean prints. The truck had more of the same drug evidence, it wasn’t driven more than 20+ miles.”
(West side of Myrtle Reservoir site, where work is likely to be staged)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Nine months after Seattle Public Utilities discussed the earthquake-resistance retrofit needed for West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, we know what’s in store for our area’s other underground water facility, Myrtle Reservoir.
Myrtle was covered in 2008, West Seattle in 2010. Then in 2012, their designer, MWH, told the city about “possible seismic deficiencies” in their work – not potentially catastrophic, but not something that could be ignored, either. Analysis and testing ensued, and in June of last year, we reported on the retrofit/strengthening plan for WS Reservoir, interviewing reps from SPU and its consultants.
At the time, they didn’t know exactly what would need to be done to Myrtle Reservoir, a relatively small reservoir (5 million gallons) at the city’s highest point on the east side of the Gatewood neighborhood. Now they do.