11:37 AM: Half-hour or so ago, three military helicopters passed over southern West Seattle; now it seems at least one has made multiple passes over north West Seattle. We’re checking, but haven’t seen them ourselves, so descriptions appreciated to help us sleuth – thanks!
P.S. We’ve already checked with the Mariners and, while they have a student event happening at Safeco Field right now prior to the day game coming up in an hour-plus, they say it’s not a stadium flyover.
11:48 AM UPDATE: Just added a photo courtesy of Jameson, while we continue calling around… (Added later: Video from Danny:)
(And from the earlier triple flyover in south West Seattle, a photo from Megan:)
12:13 PM UPDATE: Mystery solved! The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirms its commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, is being toured around the area. The spokesperson doesn’t know exactly what they were looking at in West Seattle, though, only that the visiting commander was out on a chopper tour that had included a project at Seahurst just south of us. The Corps runs the Ballard Locks, but we also note with a quick bit of web research that it was project manager for construction of the high bridge three decades ago. We checked with the Corps after recalling reading about another of its officials on helicopter tour to the south of us this time last year.
ADDED 1:59 PM: This may, it seems, have been two separate flyovers, and the commander might just have been the earlier one. Just got a note from Leslie Barstow with Boeing Field, who says, “The King County International Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower has informed airport staff that the helicopters were Army Blackhawks doing an ‘extraction’ exercise over Alki. They have completed their exercises for today.”
6:21 PM: Don’t know why. Let us know if you are seeing ground activity. One texter guesses it might be photographing the West Seattle Runner run we mentioned earlier – otherwise, no fire/police incidents we can find.
8:43 PM: TV-viewing WSB’ers confirm in comments, that’s indeed what it was.
If you see/hear a helicopter in southeast West Seattle tonight – it’s probably just a drill. We have advance notice just in from Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore:
Tonight the Seattle Fire Department along with the King County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a Night Time Hoist Helicopter Training Drill at the City of Seattle Joint Training Facility. The purpose of the exercise will be for firefighters to practice rescuing patients at night from a high rise building.
The drill is part of an All Hazards Regional Aviation Response Partnership which includes the King County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Seattle Fire Department and other regional agencies.
Beginning at 6 p.m. neighbors of the City of Seattle Joint Training Facility located at 9401 Myers Way South [map] will notice an increase in activity and noise until 9 p.m. The drill will involve the takeoff and landing of the King County Sheriff’s Guardian 2 Helicopter.
(One of more than half a dozen law-enforcement cars spread out over search area in Shorewood)
9:38 AM: We’re getting a few reports of the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One over the Shorewood area again. Just checked with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West and she confirms the helicopter is assisting with a ground search, but no details just yet – so far it does not seem to be related to the recent search in that area. We’re headed that way and will update with new information when we get it.
9:55 AM: The search is centered even further south so at this point unless we receive information of it heading north, we’ll be focusing our updates on partner site White Center Now.
10:36 AM: Again, more details at that link (including 3 Highline Public Schools campuses taking precautions), but bottom line in new info from KCSO: Deputies pulled over a stolen car; someone inside had a car-theft warrant, and bolted.
10:43 AM: As updated on WCN – Sgt. West says the suspect is in custody, so this situation is wrapping up.
Update: Deputies searching for escapee in Shorewood; schools take precautions; suspect’s West Seattle recordMarch 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm | In Crime, Helicopter, Shorewood, West Seattle news | 145 Comments
(SCROLL DOWN for updates)
12:02 PM: We started this coverage as part of our earlier story about helicopter sightings – but it’s ongoing, so we’ve moved it here. Here’s the man deputies are looking for in the Shorewood Market vicinity (map) – escapee Alan Polevia:
He had been arrested on theft warrants last week and was being taken to Harborview Medical Center after apparent drug ingestion, when he bolted – still in handcuffs. (Read more about the case in this Monday update from CapitolHillSeattle.com.) KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says Polevia’s head is now shaven, since that photo. He is described as 5’8″ and about 170 pounds. ADDED: Here’s what Sgt. West told us a few minutes ago:
12:26 PM: Just checked back in the search zone – deputies still staked out. Will check back again shortly.
12:52 PM: Still searching. We’ll update if and when he’s found. If you see him – call 911.
1:41 PM: See comments for some reports of schools that took precautions, though there is no report at this point that he was seen anywhere near a school. We’ve got an inquiry out to the district for a topline report on public schools’ status. Meantime, we looked up Polevia’s background. In November 2006, he was found guilty of third-degree assault for an incident involving him and his father getting kicked out of Poggie’s in The Junction, then going across the street and attacking a man outside Talarico’s with a beer bottle and a tire iron.
1:51 PM: Two more updates. First, from Teresa Wippel at Seattle Public Schools: “Sanislo, Roxhill, Arbor Heights, Sealth/Denny, Boren STEM, Highland Park, West Seattle Elementary” were under “shelter in place” at least for a while – she’s checking on who still is. Second, we are reminded by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network leadership that Polevia has one more West Seattle tie: He is the suspect arrested – but apparently to date not charged – in connection with the theft case related to the 36th/Morgan nuisance house in September.
2:12 PM UPDATE: Wippel says no one (in Seattle Public Schools, anyway) is in shelter-in-place – they’re all allowed to end their days as usual.
3:06 PM UPDATE: From Sgt. West at KCSO – an updated photo of Alan Polevia:
4:23 PM UPDATE: Just checked in with Sgt. West again; he’s still on the loose, no new updates. She is researching a case that put him in jail for a short stay in December – we saw that on the King County Jail Register, a four-day stay for investigation of burglary and for a “failure to appear” case involving theft, for which he had spent a day and a half in jail a week and a half before that. The jail register also shows his two-day stay in the 36th/Morgan related case, for investigation of stolen-property possession.
10:59 AM: Thanks to everyone who’s reported a helicopter over Harbor Avenue – we’re still working to figure out what it’s up to; King County Sheriff’s Office says Guardian One is on a search miles away.
11:13 AM UPDATE: Mystery solved. Seattle Police Det. Renée Witt tells WSB that SPD was “conducting a training exercise with Harbor Patrol and Guardian One.”
11:21 AM UPDATE: Now we hear the aforementioned search has brought the helicopter to the Arbor Heights vicinity. More on that as we get it.
11:28 AM UPDATE: According to KCSO’s Sgt. Cindi West, the search is related to an escape reported in regional media last week – a handcuffed man wanted on theft warrants, who escaped February 25th while being taken to Harborview Medical Center post-arrest because he was believed to have ingested drugs.
11:39 AM UPDATE: Multiple KCSO units (including SeaTac and Burien Police, both of which are part of the Sheriff’s Office) on the ground in and beyond the Shorewood Market vicinity. Traffic is still getting through.
11:59 AM: We’re going to break this story out in a minute since the search is ongoing and we have photos and video to add. NEW ONGOING STORY – GO HERE.
11:42 AM: Police initially tweeted there was a report of a robbery at West Seattle Coins at California/Oregon. However, the manager told us at the scene that they were NOT robbed – they had to deal with a disruptive person in the store. The store is open for business.
11:58 AM: We also reconfirmed with Seattle Police public affairs that further investigation revealed *no* robbery.
4:10 PM: Thanks for the tips about the helicopter. The only thing working in the area right now is that police are investigating a suspicious vehicle and one possible suspect in the Roxhill Park area. NO new robberies or other crimes – and they’re not saying exactly what was suspicious about this car. At one point, they were checking out three cars and eight people – but Det. Jeff Kappel tells us only one vehicle and one 18-year-old remain under investigation. More as we get it. We had already been to the scene to check it out before the helicopter(s) turned up – have added a photo from that stop – and have since gone back to see if there’s anything new.
4:40 PM: The helicopter departed; the vehicle was being towed from the park.
(WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: New info added to end of story)
(Added 10:40 pm – photo from neighbor who reports casings found in her neighborhood)
FIRST REPORT, 9:45 PM: We’re getting multiple reader reports of possible gunshots heard in Highland Park – no shootings on the 911 medical-call log, though – and a helicopter (believed to be the law-enforcement Guardian One) is overhead. The scanner indicates police are investigating – so far they have not found anything.
9:56 PM: Co-publisher is in the area and says Guardian One has left. Meantime, police are still checking out various areas where people reported hearing the possible gunfire, but no indication they’ve found any evidence so far.
10:15 PM: Nothing new, and the scanner traffic on this has quieted down. Earlier via the radio, SPD was reported to have checked with the county to see if anything had happened on their side of the line – the answer was no. We’ll follow up a bit later to see if anything ever turned up.
10:39 PM: Just heard from a resident near 12th and Elmgrove, where she says casings have been found and police are searching for more evidence. Added the photo she sent (atop this story).
ADDED 10:15 AM MONDAY: Just checked with SPD spokesperson Det. Renee Witt, who says police recovered nine casings in all, in the 7900 block of 12th SW. No injuries or property damage reported. Police were told that a white car, possibly a Gran Prix, was seen with a passenger pointing a “rifle out of the window,” firing shots “into the air,” but police did not find the car or any suspects.
10:37 PM: We’re not sure yet about the reason for the search, but police are looking for a suspect in the Schmitz Park Elementary area, and per scanner communication, the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter is on the way, so you will likely hear it soon if you’re in that area. We have a crew on the way; more information when we get it. The description mentioned over the air is a white man, early 20s, six feet tall, hoodie and long, dark-colored shorts.
10:47 PM: Police tell our crew in the area that they are looking for a domestic-violence suspect. No other details. They’re bringing in a K-9 to help search on the ground.
10:51 PM: We’ve learned that the original scanner traffic on this incident mentioned possible harassment and vandalism – tire-slashing – as part of why they’re seeking the suspect.
11:14 PM: The search in the original area – centered on a home near 49th/Hinds – did not pan out, but they’re following other leads, including one that the suspect might have headed east, toward California SW. If you see anyone matching the description, call 911.
11:19 PM: Sounds like they may have a suspect in custody. Will verify when we can.
11:27 PM: Precinct verifies the arrest. We’ll seek out additional information tomorrow when the report’s available.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:54 PM: A helicopter’s been seen over south West Seattle, and we believe it’s linked to a stabbing reported at 13th/100th in White Center. According to King County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter, the suspect is the victim’s son. Headed that way.
6:24 PM UPDATE: The 69-year-old victim has died, and her 42-year-old son is in custody, KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says. We’re continuing to cover this on our partner site White Center Now (where our coverage includes video of Sgt. West explaining what they know so far).
1:04 AM: Thanks for the texts and other messages – there’s an air/ground search in the Highland Park area. We’re checking on it.
1:20 AM: No info available from an official source at this point but we did hear a snippet of scanner traffic mentioning a burglary, and SPD’s Tweets by Beat – automated bits of information about police calls, delayed about an hour, sent out via Twitter – mentions a 12th/Holden burglary before midnight. (The full list of the latest “Tweets by Beat” for the West Seattle patrol sectors is available at all times, continuously updated, on our Crime Watch page.)
8:40 AM UPDATE: We now know what this was all about – talked with Det. Mark Jamieson in SPD Media Relations. He says a burglary was reported just before midnight in the 7000 block of 12th SW; while that was being investigated, another officer spotted three suspects “pushing a shopping cart full of apparently stolen property” in the 1200 block of SW Holden. When they saw police, they ran off in different directions. A K-9 team and additional officers came in to help search; the K-9 found one of them hiding under a bush at 13th and Webster. That suspect, 16 years old, was arrested and booked into the Youth Services Center. The Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter (which belongs to the King County Sheriff’s Office but is called in by other agencies as needed – SPD does NOT have its own helicopter) came in to help with the search for a while, but the other two suspects weren’t found. What officers DID find: Some stolen property, near where the arrest was made – including three large flatscreen TVs.
We’ve received calls about helicopters over White Center, south of downtown WC. King County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating a body that Sgt. Cindi West has tweeted was found in the Mallard Lake area, near the Coronado Springs Apartments at 14th and 107th. We’ve gone to the scene and will have continuing coverage on partner site White Center Now.
Finally got some information about the incident that brought the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One to the Highland Park/White Center area early this morning – several people called, e-mailed and texted us about it in the 2 am hour, but we couldn’t find out at the time what was going on. Now we know that it involved a report of gunfire near 17th and 98th in White Center – first word of that came thanks to a comment on the WSB Facebook page, and it was confirmed by King County Sheriff’s Deputy BJ Myers, with whom we just talked at White Center Jubilee Days (where we’re tabling today on behalf of our partner site White Center Now). No proof of the reported gunfire, though – nobody hurt, no property damage, no shell casings found. A suspect was reported to have been seen running; deputies did make one arrest of a person who they say had a gun, but no one has identified him as having been involved with the alleged gunfire.
4:57 PM: Asked about the helicopter that seems to be searching in that area, Seattle Police here at Summer Fest told us there’s a bank robbery in White Center – so we’re trying to find out more from King County Sheriff’s Office.
5:03 PM: Sgt. Kathleen Larson with KCSO says the robbery happened less than an hour ago at the KeyBank on 17th SW in White Center. They’re looking for a man described as white, in his 20s, 5-5, wearing a beanie, gray sweatshirt, light blue jeans. He was last seen running out of the bank. No injuries reported.
If you see helicopters this Friday-Saturday, they are probably headed to the Museum of Flight for the American Heroes Airshow, “Courage at the Speed of Flight.” Twenty-two helicopters are scheduled to arrive: three on Friday, July 13th around 3 pm and the rest on Saturday morning. They will all start departing the museum around 3 pm on Saturday.
“Courage at the Speed of Flight,” Seattle’s only helicopter airshow, is a free event meant to celebrate public service. Here’s the Museum of Flight’s description:
Visitors can see how helicopters play an important role in law enforcement, fire service, public safety, communications, national defense and homeland security. The American Heroes Air Show features static displays, special presentations and entertainment. Representatives from many organizations including local flight schools, Border Patrol, Search and Rescue units, and the U.S. Coast Guard will be available to answer questions. See helicopters like the Blackhawk flown by the U.S. Army 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, as well as those flown by Airlift Northwest, KING 5 TV and many others.
Stop by the museum’s parking lot between 10 am and 3 pm to participate. You can even come early (starting at 7 am) just to watch the helicopters land and enjoy some free refreshments. This year, the airshow will also include a U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service naturalization ceremony for members of the military, first responders, and aviators who have applied for U.S. citizenship. The public is also welcome to this event.
Jen Boyer, the show’s director (who also provided the photo above), has been a West Seattleite for eight years. She is both a helicopter pilot and member of the Whirly-Girls, a female helicopter pilots association. The Whirly-Girls have volunteered their time as the event’s organizers since 2005, when the first show was held. Jen does it to teach the community, and especially younger generations, about the importance of the aircraft she loves:
When I was a little girl, I attended a small event like this where I sat in my first helicopter. I’d been interested in helicopters before, but seeing, touching and sitting in that helicopter did it for me. One day I reached my dream and became a pilot. I do this each year to inspire future generations, boys and girls alike, and to help the community on a whole learn about the value of helicopters in our community.
Find more info from the Museum of Flight here.
11 PM: In the past few minutes, we’ve received reports of a helicopter heard/seen over White Center, Highland Park, Arbor Heights – checking to find out what’s up.
11:07 PM: We don’t know for sure if it’s law enforcement. We have gone out to try to see where it’s focused, but it’s doing very long loops – not concentrating on any one area – from the Sound, back inland a ways, and then outbound again.
11:20 PM: Sorry to say we still don’t know. Have been tracking it from the ground but that hasn’t yielded anything obvious; nothing working in this area on the scanner, and nothing on the 911 (SFD) log indicating anything injurious.
11:24 PM: Seattle Police Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams checked on this and says SPD does not have Guardian One up for anything. So either it’s King County Sheriff’s Office *or* not law enforcement.
7:01 AM: At least one TV chopper is over Highland Park. There’s a crash at 15th and Holden. We’re en route.
7:11 AM UPDATE: A Toyota pickup has gone off the road and into a yard. Police have Holden shut down right now between 14th and 16th but the tow truck is already there so it might not be for too long. At least one person is hurt – a private ambulance is on scene.
7:26 AM UPDATE: Police at the scene tell us the truck’s driver was the one taken to the hospital – private ambulance generally means NOT life-threatening injuries – and was alone in the truck. We’re waiting for the tow truck to get the truck out of the yard to check on possible damage to the house, which neighbors say was unoccupied.
7:37 AM UPDATE: It doesn’t appear the house was hit; the damage looks to be confined to the fence the truck went through, and the grassy slope/yard. (Thanks to everyone who texted and e-mailed us about the chopper, which is what tipped us to the fact that what was only a medic call on the 911 log was actually a crash.)
8:55 AM: Went back to the scene a little while ago and SW Holden is completely clear again.
11:34 PM: We’re checking on reports of a helicopter in south Highland Park/north White Center, after multiple texts and calls. Nothing obvious from Seattle Police over the scanner, but that could mean it’s in the county jurisdiction, or that it’s not a law-enforcement helicopter at all.
11:51 PM: So far no info – and the helicopter has left the area. If we do find out anything tonight or tomorrow, we’ll add it here.
ADDED 9:45 AM FRIDAY: Sgt. Rodney Chinnick of the King County Sheriff’s Office tells us Guardian One was helping search for assault suspects.
We don’t have the incident location yet but he says, “A 40 year old male was assaulted. He suffered a broken jaw and ankle”; 1300 block of SW Roxbury.
11:42 PM: Thanks for the e-mails/texts. We’re checking. (LATER: Sorry, the fire sidetracked the investigation into what this was about. We still have inquiries out, though, and whenever we get an answer, we’ll post it here.)
SUNDAY MORNING: Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams told us they did NOT have Guardian One (the area’s only law-enforcement chopper, owned/operated by King County Sheriff’s Office, but assists other agencies) out on anything. Was it a KCSO case? No word yet.
If you’re in eastern West Seattle/South Park (or downtown) and noticing an unusual amount of helicopter traffic – a few people have asked about it – it’s a drill, and it’s scheduled to continue a few more hours. The explanation from the Seattle Fire Department:
Multiple Puget Sound public safety agencies are teaming up to practice a rooftop firefighting/rescue drill off a high rise skyscraper. The drill involves lowering firefighters and firefighting/rescue equipment from helicopters onto the roof of the 50-story Safeco Plaza Building in downtown Seattle.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter will lower 6 members of the High Rise Firefighting/Rescue Team onto the roof of the Safeco Plaza Building. King County Sheriff’s Office will fly their Guardian One helicopter over the operation in order to videotape and downlink a live feed of the operation that will be received at the Incident Command post at the City’s Joint Training Facility.
The exercises will demonstrate the ability of the Seattle Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Regional Aviation partner organizations to work together. The participating partners will emphasize aviation safety in the air and on the ground.
8:35 PM: Have received various reports of a helicopter spotted over various areas of north West Seattle. Checking to see what we can find out. If you are seeing ground police activity that goes with it, let us know – there’s nothing on the scanner or 911 right now, but we’re driving in the general reported area to look around.
8:50 PM: We headed down toward West Marginal Way after reports it was seen over eastern West Seattle. Co-publisher Patrick Sand says it’s now visible over the eastern shore of the Duwamish River – we’re assuming it’s the same chopper – with a spotlight. So, still a mystery, but it’s definitely not just focused on West Seattle. There are still NO police or fire incidents in our area that would match to it. TV choppers do not routinely fly at this time of night, either.
9:09 PM: Via Facebook, Lisa G reminds us that high-school football games are sometimes videotaped via chopper, so we do get Friday night flyovers this time of year. We thought briefly we’d found a game scheduled at WS Stadium tonight, but it was last year’s schedule. Mystery continues!
9:21 PM: Lt. Alan Williams at the Southwest Precinct confirms police don’t have anything going on that would have merited a chopper (overall, quiet in general so far right now, he says).
(Photo tweeted by @cpatchworks)
We’re not sure if this is the helicopter that’s been flying low over parts of West Seattle this morning, from Alki to Fauntleroy – haven’t gotten a close enough look yet – but in case you missed the advisory we published on Friday, here it is: A chopper based at Boeing Field is flying over local urban areas to get a baseline reading on “normal” radiation levels, not related to the Japan disaster, but as part of a two-year-old federal project. If you get a close look at the low-flying chopper, you can compare it to the photo on this page.
We don’t often get advance warning of helicopters that might give you cause for concern, but here’s one: The state is doing a survey of urban radiation levels, with a chopper that will be based out of Boeing Field over the next couple weeks. No, they say, it has nothing to do with the quake/tsunami-related nuclear trouble in Japan – they’re taking baseline readings of “normal” levels as part of a project that started two years ago. Seattle-based Local Health Guide explains the plan here; the state’s own webpage, with even more details, is here. Flights are scheduled to start next Monday, and so far we do not have a schedule of when, or even if, you might see the chopper here.
4:36 PM: The second time we heard the approaching Chinook today in West Seattle, we were someplace we could get a photo – outside, at Alki’s Bar-S Playfield, covering the West Seattle Little League regular-season-ending barbecue and Snack Shack ribboncutting (full story on that later). More than one person in attendance joked that WSLL must have booked a flyby for the occasion. Several others from around West Seattle have e-mailed or otherwise messaged to say this was low enough to rattle their home – as our photo attempts to show, low indeed. No concrete info on what they’re doing, but the last notable flyover on Memorial Day eventually was confirmed as training, according to our pal Patty at Roosiehood.
5:17 PM: Elizabeth solved the “mystery” pretty fast. As was noted in our morning preview, the Museum of Flight had an all-day helicopter event – and she confirms that the Chinook was part of it, sharing the closeup shot above as it landed at Boeing Field.
We’re not sure exactly what the mission/destination is/was, but just in case you wondered if you were hearing things – yes, two military helicopters (Chinooks, we think) flew over Fauntleroy and points east a little while ago, and then one headed back west – that’s the one we got on video. Before they headed this way, we had seen the two over Vashon, headed north, and Twitter talk includes Eastside sightings too. (And thanks to Howie for mentioning a forum discussion at MyBallard.com.)
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Patty at Roosiehood, one of the other neighborhood sites that reported on the chopper flyover last night, talked to the Army today and learned it was just a training flight.
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