Thanks to everyone who’s reported a helicopter seeming to be searching for something off the west-facing West Seattle shore. Don’t know yet what it’s up to, but wanted to let you know we’re trying to find out.
1:12 AM: No info so far.
We’ve received a few phone calls about unusual helicopter traffic today – and have heard/seen a few going over WSB HQ. Turns out there is a huge “emergency exercise simulating an aircraft accident” at Sea-Tac, going on for another hour or so. Participants include “eight evacuation helicopters, more than 175 emergency vehicles and 300 victim volunteers.” Airlift agencies that are participating, according to the summary, include “the U.S. Coast Guard from Port Angeles and Astoria, Oregon, U.S. Navy Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington Air National Guard – Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Snohomish County Sheriff, King County Sheriff, and Airlift Northwest.”
(Mostly cloudy by sunset – some drizzle, too. Photo by JayDee, from Upper Alki)
With the SPD promise of presence on Alki for potential last-day-of-school gatherings, we’ve been monitoring the situation since afternoon. Nothing major. We did see officers at the beach during our afternoon and evening drive-throughs. We ourselves had a bit of a close call just after sunset at Me-Kwa-Mooks, dodging a group of teens running back and forth in the street on Beach Drive. Not long afterward, the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter was over that same area for a bit and subsequently tweeted that they “assisted @SeattlePD near 56/SW Oregon with a large group of teenagers partying that took off into the woods. Patrol contacted them.” (Right after that, the helicopter headed north to Ballard, tweeting that they helped SPD handle “a large fight disturbance” at Golden Gardens.)
In case you also noticed the small yellow helicopter circling/hovering over Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy (almost directly over WSB HQ for a while, so we grabbed a bit of video), thanks to Shannon for noting in a Twitter discussion that it was a tour-company helicopter. (Photo added, shared by Rey via Facebook)
11:06 PM: The Guardian One helicopter is on the way to join Seattle Police in a Lincoln Park-area search. We’re still tracking down details but wanted to let you know that’s what’s happening, in case you see/hear the helicopter (or are seeing police on the ground).
11:15 PM: They’re looking for multiple suspects, one of whom was described as armed with a knife, last seen running into the north end of Lincoln Park. There’s a K-9 team in that area too.
11:32 PM: They’re still searching the park. Still no word on the nature of the call; all we know for sure is that there have *not* been any major-injury incidents in the area tonight.
11:47 PM: Basically the helicopter – which has been circling for a full half-hour now – is helping point police to just about anyone in the park/vicinity.
11:57 PM: Possible suspects found in the park, toward its central area.
12:06 AM: They’re still working to figure out if the possible suspects are who they’re looking for. And via multiple sources and bits of information, we believe this all started with a business robbery.
12:14 AM: Chopper has moved on – but the case isn’t necessarily closed yet. Their tweet confirms this is a robbery case:
Assisted @SeattlePD on search of Lincoln park for robbery suspects.
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) May 31, 2014
12:23 AM: Seattle Police add that it “started as a shoplift call in 7400 block of Fauntleroy – male suspect drew a knife and fled into Lincoln Park.” (That’s the mini-mart/gas station across from the north end of the park.)
10:59 AM: Just checked with Seattle Police; the Guardian One helicopter is helping them look for a domestic-violence suspect. That’s all we know so far; thanks for the texts about Westwood/Roxhill chopper sightings.
11:23 AM: No update on the search but the scanner indicates Guardian One is off to another case elsewhere in the city. On their Twitter feed, the helicopter crew describes the West Seattle assignment as having assisted in a case involving a “foot pursuit.” We’re also checking with Seattle Public Schools regarding commenters’ reports of shelter-in-place at Chief Sealth IHS.
11:48 AM: Still trying to get more info on the incident itself, and whether the suspect was arrested, but we did confirm with CSIHS by phone that the brief “shelter-in-place” has since been lifted.
12:15 PM: SPS spokesperson Lesley Rogers tells us Denny IMS and Roxhill Elementary also were in “shelter in place” for about 20 minutes, and that it was lifted an hour ago. (Added: An Explorer West MS [WSB sponsor] parent tells us they got word that school also took precautions for a similar amount of time.)
Texts indicate some in Arbor Heights noticed the Guardian One helicopter checking something out in the North Shorewood/White Center area in the past half-hour; we’ve published an update on partner site White Center Now but are mentioning it here too – King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates says they were looking into an assault case that was a disagreement between people who knew each other, and they’ve moved on.
7:03 PM: Just in case you see the law-enforcement helicopter overhead: The King County Sheriff’s Office has been over High Point for a bit assisting with a search – but the person that was being sought has been found. So, according to the scanner, the helicopter might be Alki-bound, where, in an unrelated incident, we’ve heard about a guns-drawn stop in the 1700 block and are trying to get details on that. Thanks for all the tips and texts – 206-293-6302 any time!
7:08 PM UPDATE: The High Point search that’s now over was for a missing child, Guardian One has tweeted. Still trying to get info on the Alki situation. Thanks to Mike and Steve for photos and to @ohwellmaybenot for tweeting this one:
— ohwellmaybenot (@ohwellmaybenot) May 1, 2014
ADDED 12:38 AM: We finally have been able to get a bit of information about the nature of the Alki response, thanks to Southwest Precinct Lt. Paul Leung. He didn’t have access to the full report, handled by an earlier watch – we will see if we can track that down later this morning – but it was a “gun call” (no shots fired that we know of).
While the officers did stop the vehicle that was reported to them, they did not find the gun that had been the subject of the original complaint.
King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support has just published the video – and dispatcher/pilot/officer audio – from this morning’s helicopter-assisted search following an attempted burglary in the 9000 block of 16th SW (map). We reported on this as it unfolded just after 1 am. We have also followed up with SPD, which tells us four teenage boys were arrested, three of them booked into the Youth Services Center, one “declined by YSC and released to Spruce Street because officers could not locate a parent/guardian.” No one is living in the apartment where the break-in attempt happened, according to the police report, and there was no sign anyone actually got in. A neighbor heard the sound of breaking glass and called police, who spotted suspects on the run as they arrived; Guardian One was nearby and asked to help. The incident report says one of the suspects had a felony warrant out for his arrest, on a recent “taking a motor vehicle without permission” charge.
1:21 AM: If you’re hearing a helicopter – Guardian One is helping with a police search in the 17th/18th/Henderson vicinity. Police were called by someone who heard glass break at a neighbor’s house. At least one suspect is reported to be on the run. More to come.
1:26 AM UPDATE: And it sounds like the search has ended, successfully.
1:40 AM: From Guardian One via Twitter:
Assisted Seattle PD with a burglary in progess in the 9000 blk of 16 SW. Four subjects were detained
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) April 11, 2014
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Guardian One’s video/audio (including dispatchers and officers) has been made public, and we’ve obtained more information about what happened. Here’s the followup story.
11:38 PM: Happened to hear this on the scanner – Guardian One was in the vicinity and volunteered to help check out a call police were en route to, a possible prowler sighting/possible shots heard in the 30th/Roxbury vicinity. Now we’re hearing that sheriff’s deputies told police the shots were in
White Center county territory to the south, involving someone firing a gun after an incident involving a car. No report of injury. The helicopter isn’t seeing any evidence of a prowler so might not be around for long.
ADDED 12:10 AM: A texter on the county side of the line says deputies are still out looking for evidence of the reported gunfire, in the 28th/104th vicinity.
ADDED 12:31 AM: Our texting tipster adds that deputies did find shell casings in that area. But still no indication of any shooting victim or damage. The deputies arrived on the scene quickly, he says, because they were in the area for canvassing related to the ongoing search for the Roxbury rapist.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB, added 9:37 pm)
8:32 PM: On the way home from a meeting, we have spotted Guardian One circling north of High Point. Not sure yet what’s going on, but we’re checking.
8:40 PM: One commenter reports what appears to be a search in High Point.
8:45 PM: Tweet from Guardian One confirms it.
9:18 PM: Found the house on which police had converged, along SW Juneau a couple blocks east of 35th; added a photo. Commenter “Soul Cat“ adds some context.
9:33 PM: New information via WSB’s Christopher Boffoli and Katie Meyer: Christopher confirmed at the scene that it was a narcotics warrant – adding his images shortly. Katie reports that scanner traffic indicated at least two people in custody.
9:42 PM: We have been chasing reports of a helicopter for half an hour and have finally found Guardian One over the Greenbridge area. We have just found sheriff’s deputies to ask on the ground – they say it’s a “possible armed robbery suspect” from a White Center business.
10:19 PM: Commenters say the chopper’s gone – we left the area it was circling (the wetland just west of Greenbridge) in hopes of finding the reported robbery target, described as a produce stand, but didn’t see anything on the ground along any of the main business streets. Will follow up with KCSO tomorrow.
10:41 PM: Via Twitter, the Guardian One team says the suspect they were seeking was not found. Description: “… male … about 5’9″, wearing a red hoody, blue jeans, wearing a black beanie.”
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says, “(Last night) at about 8:40 pm at the Best Roasted Corn Stand on the corner of SW 98th and 15 Av Sw: A male suspect walked up to the stand, displayed a handgun and demanded money. The suspect also demanded the employees cell phone. The suspect fled on foot. The suspect spoke to the victim in Spanish. He was described as a Hispanic male, skinny, about 5’8″ tall, mid 40′s and was wearing a red sweatshirt, blue jeans and a black beanie. The victim has seen him in the area before.”
One more early warning – as first noted here last week, White Center Heights Elementary is due for a special visit by the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One around 1:25 this afternoon, as part of a special project kindergarteners have been working on. The North Highline Fire Department will be there too. WC Heights is at 6th SW and SW 100th, so Highland Park’ers might notice this too.
4:24 PM NOTE: We’ll publish a separate story here later but photos and video are up right now, if you’re interested, on our partner site White Center Now.
That’s a WSB file photo of the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One – which helps in other jurisdictions too, including Seattle – and next Thursday afternoon, you just might notice it over south Highland Park and Greenbridge. White Center Heights Elementary PTA president David Sonsteng sent early warning of the plan. Kindergarteners are “working on their community-helpers module in class,” he explains, so Thursday (March 13) 1:25 pm-2:25 pm, they will “get to meet some of these community helpers.” In addition to Guardian One, they’re scheduled to meet KCSO Deputy BJ Myers (who’s based out of the downtown WC storefront office), a fire engine from the North Highline Fire District, and an ambulance from AMR. We’ll remind you again that day, but if you might be anywhere near the area, store away the info. (The school is at 10015 6th SW.)
(TOPLINE: Suspect in custody, 2 1/2 hours after crashing stolen vehicle and breaking into his former home)
(Thanks to commenter Koleah for the photo)
9:11 PM: Just in case you’re wondering … we’re hearing it right over us but not sure yet what it’s up to.
9:21 PM UPDATE: Sounds like the search involves a suspected stolen car.
9:27 PM UPDATE: As noted by commenters, this is centered southwest of The Junction. From scanner, sounds like the vehicle’s been found.
9:34 PM UPDATE: Also sounds as if they believe they know where the suspect is. A K-9 team is joining the search.
9:51 PM UPDATE: No word of arrests yet. But the helicopter is moving on.
10:01 PM UPDATE: This isn’t resolved yet but might go on a while. We have a crew back in the area to see if they can find out anything more.
10:19 PM UPDATE: We talked to police in the area. Despite some neighbors believing they heard a shot, police said there have been no shots fired – the sound was likely the crash through a fence from the start of all this, which is centered in the 4800 block of 47th SW. Here’s how Guardian One describes it via Twitter:
Located stolen car in west Seattle. It ran from SPD and crashed. Suspect ran into a house.
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) February 1, 2014
In response to a question, the Guardian One tweeter followed up with “drove through a fence trying to back away from officers.”
10:45 PM: Here’s the stolen vehicle, a Tahoe – thanks to the neighbor who pointed us to it:
(This and subsequent photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
You can see the fence through which it crashed – beneath the vehicle.
11:25 PM UPDATE: We’re back in the area to check on the situation. The block where this is happening (4800 block of 47th) is now blocked off with yellow tape. A K-9 officer is in the area.
11:38 PM UPDATE: Just talked again with police – lots of new information. They say the suspect is in the house – and that he used to live there. He broke a window to get in tonight after driving the stolen car to this neighborhood; the people who were inside, who know him but are no longer on friendly terms, according to police, got out safely. Police also confirmed something we thought we’d heard in scanner traffic earlier – that the stolen vehicle turned up via signal from Lojack. One more thing – contrary to what we were told at the scene earlier, now they ARE investigating what they describe as the possible accidental discharge of a gun, but no one has been shot and no one is hurt. Still a developing situation.
11:42 PM UPDATE: Police report they have the suspect in custody.
8:50 AM SATURDAY: This is now on SPD Blotter – but nothing new beyond the information we learned at the scene just before the arrest.
10:54 AM: Thanks to Lola for pointing in comments to the video posted from Guardian One – what was happening while this coverage was starting last night. Will post it separately shortly but for starters, see it here.
(VIDEO ADDED 11:08 PM: KCSO video of part of the operation)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:17 PM: If you’re seeing police in Highland Park, there’s a search on for possible car-theft suspects who were pursued northbound from the White Center area by King County Sheriff’s Office deputies. We understand Guardian One is on the way or there now. The search area includes 14th and Trenton, according to radio communications. One possible suspect is described as a white male about six feet tall, shaved head and black hoodie, last seen going eastbound on Trenton; the car apparently has been abandoned in the area.
8:36 PM: Our crew in the area says the helicopter is still assisting in the search.
8:44 PM: Added a photo. One person has been found and is being questioned, according to a commenter and our crew on the scene.
9:10 PM: Chopper has left. No other updates.
10:02 PM: KCSO’s Sgt. Cindi West tells us this all started in Burien, around 12th/136th. The car was indeed stolen; it first caught a deputy’s attention because it had plates with two different numbers. Followed to Highland Par, five people abandoned the car and ran; three are in custody, including the driver. She says most if not all are “known” from other cases. Seattle Police worked with deputies to make arrests, she says, including a K-9 team.
11:55 PM: Note that we have added video uploaded by the KCSO Air Support Team – a five-minute stretch of time during which suspects were found in Highland Park. The audio suggests a Taser was used on at least one.
Saturday night, readers in the Highland Park and South Park areas messaged us about a helicopter; it wasn’t a mystery for long, because shortly thereafter, the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One crew tweeted that it was the resolution of a pursuit involving Burien Police. Checking their feed just now while investigating a NEW helicopter report (Delridge area, noontime, gone before we arrived), we discovered they’re sharing the Guardian One view of the pursuit via video uploaded to YouTube (if you can’t see the embedded version above, go here). When the video begins, the chase is headed north – then the suspect’s car U-turns and heads south.
3:33 PM: We asked KCSO for more on the incident. From Deputy Charlie Akers:
A deputy was behind a car in the 12800 block of northbound 509. The car was traveling about 15 MPH under the speed limit and was weaving across the roadway. Believing the driver was DUI, the deputy tried to stop the car and the chase was on. Before the Guardian 1 arrived, the chase exited the freeway and went down surface streets. The driver also evaded spike strips that were deployed. A PIT maneuver was used when the lead deputy believed the driver was slowing down to do another u-turn down a on-ramp in the wrong direction. A 26 year old Burien man was taken into custody for investigation of Felony Eluding. It did not appear to the deputies on scene that the driver was DUI. The case was sent to detectives for follow-up and filing of charges.
5:10 PM: Just because we have received tons of calls and texts: Police have an operation under way to the south that has drawn TV helicopters. They have been hanging over West Seattle just in case anything happens with said operation. It’s NOT a current West Seattle crime or incident.
6:06 PM: As far as we can tell, this didn’t pan out, and the choppers should be gone.
11:01 AM: We’re getting questions about the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter over downtown White Center. In case you’re seeing it and wondering too, here’s what we published on partner site White Center Now: KCSO says the search is for someone who broke into a car and stole a purse. Deputies are searching on the ground too, and were seen in the 14th/96th vicinity.
11:56 AM: Search is over – per @kcsoairsupport, they didn’t find the person they were looking for.
12:27 PM: Our ground crew says the search was centered toward the park end of SW 96th, east of 14th SW. They took the relatively rare opportunity to get a clear photo of Guardian One – which assists other law-enforcement agencies at times, including Seattle Police, which doesn’t have its own chopper – in case you aren’t familiar with what it looks like (sometimes handy in order to distinguish between law-enforcement and TV choppers).
3:52 PM: Update from KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West: “The suspect from (this incident) was arrested near 102 and 8th SW after being spotted prowling cars in Steve Cox Park.”
12:19 AM: Several passes over WSB HQ so far, in fact. Don’t yet know why.
12:29 AM: The chopper has finally moved on. Still a mystery!
12:34 AM: And now they’ve tweeted:
Over Lincoln Park helping patrol look for a sexual assault suspect
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) October 4, 2013
11:02 AM UPDATE: Checked with Seattle Police, who say they have NO reports of any attack in the park or anywhere in the area, nor any other incident that would have brought the helicopter. It assists many law-enforcement agencies but is operated by King County Sheriff’s Office, which in turn is now checking to see what the call was about.
11:32 PM: Thanks to everyone who has texted and e-mailed about a helicopter that’s apparently over White Center/Highland Park right now. Not sure yet what’s going on but we’re checking. There was a Seattle Fire dispatch to the 9400 block of 15th SW and the arriving engine reported via scanner that there was no patient at the scene plus “all the deputies and police have gone somewhere else.” If you’re seeing the law enforcement response on the ground, county or city, please let us know! We’ll continue to sleuth.
MIDNIGHT: Guardian One, the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that assists other agencies too, says via Twitter that it was “over White Center assisting with a robbery call.” No further details.
7:28 PM: Thanks to everyone who tipped us about Guardian One circling over Myers Way just south of Roxbury (map). It’s a King County Sheriff’s Office search, according to a Seattle Police officer who told us she could only say they’re “looking for somebody” and SPD is assisting. We’re trying to reach KCSO to find out more.
7:42 PM UPDATE: Just talked to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West, who says the search started with a report of a domestic-violence situation at a supermarket on 1st Avenue South in Burien; a plainclothes detective happened to be there, saw the male suspect on the run, called for backup, got in his car and followed the suspect, whose vehicle was determined to have stolen plates. The suspect abandoned the car and fled in White Center, and was believed to have made it to the Joint Training Facility vicinity, which is where the helicopter was searching. No word of an arrest yet, Sgt. West said, and she also didn’t know about the domestic-violence victim’s condition/status.
8:34 PM UPDATE: Sgt. West says the suspect’s not in custody yet but they did determine that not only were the plates on the car stolen, the car itself was stolen too.
1:09 PM: Thanks to Danny McMillin for the photo of four military helicopters spotted passing Alki and Admiral within the past half-hour or so; we’ve seen Twitter mentions of sightings elsewhere around the city but don’t know yet if there’s a particular occasion, a VIP, or … ? We’re still checking around; please let us know if YOU have a clue!
1:21 PM: Could be a coincidence – but this is Boeing Family Day up at the factory in Everett, and the Chinook is Boeing-built.
8:31 PM: Still no official info. But an Alki Beach visitor got them on video:
The clip is by Ben Slivka. If we find out anything more about the choppers tomorrow, we’ll add an update here.
New way to try to find out what that helicopter’s doing overhead: King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support on TwitterJuly 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm | In Helicopter, West Seattle news | 14 Comments
(Photo tweeted today by @KCSOAirSupport)
Sometimes when a helicopter’s hovering, it’s TV – three of the four major regional TV stations have helicopters, and staff them into the early evening hours on weekdays. But sometimes, especially if it’s after dark, it’s Guardian One, the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that assists other law-enforcement agencies too (including Seattle PD, which does not have its own helicopter). And now there’s a new way to try to find out what Guardian One is up to if you suspect it’s what you are seeing or hearing: A new Twitter feed, @KCSOAirSupport. Even if you are not a Twitter member, you can still access that via the Web, or better yet, we’re adding it to the mix in the Twitter box on the WSB West Seattle Crime Watch page, so that you can check there.
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.”
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