West Seattle, Washington
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.
That’s Victor Gonzalez-Arredondo, child-safety expert at Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor). This Thursday and Friday, 11 am-2 pm, he’ll be front and center offering free safety checks of baby/child car seats – all you have to do is drop by Swedish, 35th/Kenyon. (All makes of vehicles welcome for the safety checks, by the way!)
(Added: WSB photos by Tracy Record)
3:16 AM UPDATE: Busy night for emergency responders. Now there’s word of a flipped pickup truck in Gatewood, near 39th/Myrtle. It went out as a major “heavy rescue” response but most units have been canceled. We’re checking it out.
3:37 AM UPDATE: Police told us at the scene that the pickup’s driver was gone when they arrived, so this is a hit-and-run. The driver appears to have hit a parked vehicle and a couple of mailboxes along 39th SW south of Myrtle before the truck flipped. So this is the second hit-and-run-away of the night in West Seattle.
We’ve received several calls about a police response at 35th/Austin (map) – the original call was “assault with weapons”; one witness said there was a report of someone seen in the neighborhood with a gun. At the scene, officers told us it’s being investigated as a case of suicide. SW Austin is blocked off on the west side of 35th SW.
(As always when mentioning suicide, we want to point out a local resource for those considering self-harm or otherwise in crisis: The Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline, 206-461-3222.)
12:57 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at the 3900 block of SW Holden in Gatewood (map). It was described as a suspected roof fire; first units arriving aren’t seeing anything.
1 AM: They’re checking the attic, but report that it might just be “an overheated light fixture.” Some of the arriving units are being canceled.
1:09 AM: They’re now checking to be sure there’s not a smoldering fire in the ceiling.
1:11 AM: Minutes later, that’s what they’ve found, a small “smoldering fire in insulation … knob and tube wiring.”
1:19 AM: They’ve re-assessed the fire at 3′ x 3′ and declared it “under control.”
(WSB photo: Gatewood Elementary, SW Myrtle side)
Three and a half hours after publishing our Wednesday update on the Friends of Gatewood “keep a teacher” fundraising drive, we updated it with the official district announcement that the drive had met its goal. But the final word comes from the parents who organized and took action so quickly, and their public message of gratitude:
Today we received the wonderful news that we raised enough funds to keep our teacher that ensures that there will be no relocation on October 10th as the district letter originally mandated. Friends of Gatewood raised $66,758.52, the Go Fund Me account that was created last night raised around $1000. The online donation site will be closed since we met our goal.
This accomplishment is shared with many, many people with our school, West Seattle and supporters beyond. The vigor, concern and passion expressed by so many people made this goal a reality; the process exemplifies that improvements need to be made in many areas, that the problems are real and complex, and that our students and teachers will not take the brunt of the inadequacies of an imperfect public school system.
All schools are unique by virtue of the individuals who occupy them. Gatewood Elementary’s infrastructure is more unique than the typical public elementary school. We stand by our students’ needs and our teachers to set them up for success. Thank you a hundred times over for answering the call for help.
Friends of Gatewood
2:30 PM: Police are at Gatewood Elementary right now investigating a report that a child threatened a teacher with a knife. No one has been hurt; we’re there and we have talked to staff. They don’t expect this to interfere with normal dismissal this afternoon. (And if you’re noticing a TV helicopter, this is the report they’re checking out.)
2:46 PM: The district has issued a short update via Twitter: “No injuries at Gatewood after teacher reportedly threatened w/knife. Special-needs student being taken to hospital for evaluation.” Per police-radio communication, the student is 9. As noted in our ongoing coverage of the Gatewood teacher-funding situation, the school has an inclusion program for EBD (emotional/behavioral disorder) students.