West Seattle Blog... » Helicopter http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 28 May 2015 00:50:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 HELICOPTERS: Why Guardian One was (briefly) over Gatewood/Sunrise Heights; why a TV helicopter is over Admiral http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-guardian-one-was-briefly-over-gatewoodsunrise-heights/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-guardian-one-was-briefly-over-gatewoodsunrise-heights/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:46:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311552 helicopterwatch.png11:46 AM: Our area’s only law-enforcement helicopter unit, King County Air Support (Guardian One), spent a few minutes over Gatewood/Sunrise Heights a short time ago, and now we know why. They tweeted that they happened to be in the area, so jumped in to help Seattle Police with a response to a situation described as a “fight” in the 3700 block of SW Webster. According to a neighbor, also via Twitter, police are still there, but they’ve said the situation is under control. When a Guardian One pilot/tactical flight officer spoke to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network last month (WSB coverage here), they mentioned that they do monitor emergency radio while they’re in flight, and if they happen to be in the area of an emergency call, they might turn up even without having been requested, so that’s what happened here.

11:51 AM: Unrelated but also involving a helicopter over West Seattle, and also bringing in texted questions – the KING/KOMO-shared TV helicopter is in the Admiral area right now because the governor of Alaska is visiting the Polar Pioneer oil rig at Terminal 5.

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UPDATE: Why Guardian One helicopter was searching here http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-the-guardian-one-helicopter-is-over-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-the-guardian-one-helicopter-is-over-west-seattle/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 16:57:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309472 helicopterwatch.png9:57 AM: Police and helicopter are searching east of California/Andover. We don’t know yet what the crime was but the person they were seeking was described as a white man in his 30s, black hair, blue jeans. More to come.

10 AM: Police report one person in custody near 35th/Andover. Whatever the incident was, it started at California/Hinds.

10:21 AM: We caught up with police there to find out how this started. They describe the man as being in crisis (added: “throwing things into the street, kicking cars and generally screaming obscenities” was an initial report) and say his behavior was what led to a police call; they didn’t call for Guardian One but the helicopter happened to be nearby and offered to come help them track the man down. (The pilot who recently spoke to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network – WSB coverage here – did say they monitor many frequencies when up, and sometimes self-assign this way.) The man is being taken to the hospital by private ambulance for a mental-health evaluation.

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Helicopter over Fauntleroy: Investigating possible burglary http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/helicopter-over-fauntleroy-investigating-possible-burglary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/helicopter-over-fauntleroy-investigating-possible-burglary/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 04:51:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308808 If you’re noticing Guardian One over Fauntleroy southwest of Morgan Junction – while it’s in the same area of the fire, it’s not because of the fire. It’s a possible burglary. We had just returned from following up at the fire scene when we heard the call about a possible burglar at a house in the 6700 block of Fauntleroy (where the road just reopened, barely a block from the homes that burned), and the helicopter is helping in the search.

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VIDEO: Guardian One helicopter pilot/Tactical Flight Officer @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/video-guardian-one-helicopter-pilottactical-flight-officer-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/video-guardian-one-helicopter-pilottactical-flight-officer-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 03:27:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308557

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One isn’t always just up over somebody’s neighborhood in the middle of the night.

This week alone, members of its crew made two appearances on the ground in our area. One happened today at White Center Heights Elementary (the photo above is from its landing), and we’ll have that story on our partner site White Center Now later tonight.

First – last night’s presentation and Q & A at the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting at the Southwest Precinct, featuring one of the county’s pilots, Deputy Hersh Hoaglan:

That’s our video of his presentation, in which he explained everything from who’s in the helicopter to what really happened that recent night the county’s loudest helicopter was heard making repeated passes over the area. Highlights ahead:

Deputy Hoaglan, wearing his olive-green flight jumpsuit, exhibited a dry wit: “So you hear the helicopter over your house … and you wonder if an axe murderer is out there. 99.999% of the time, that’s not the case. Actually, I’ve never been to an axe-murderer call.”

The helicopter goes to all kinds of calls, he explained. The unit has 1 sergeant and 4 deputies. To become a pilot, you have to go through TFO training – tactical flight officer. So deputies in the unit are cross-trained as both pilots and TFO’s (that’s the deputy in the chopper that does the work with the cameras, talks to the radio dispatchers, etc.). KCSO Air Support is also one of two hoist-equipped non-military units and that takes them around a wide area for up to 25 missions a year – they have 10 hoist operators/rescue specialists assigned to the unit as an ancillary duty.

Two aircraft are known as Guardian One when they’re up; one is a 1973 Jet Ranger that used to be a Grand Canyon tourist helicopter. The main search-and-rescue helicopter, Guardian Two, is a 1970 single-engine Bell UH-1H (Huey) – military surplus. “There’s nothing like being up against a mountain face in the middle of the night in a single-engine helicopter,” Deputy Hoaglan quipped. A second helicopter of that type is out of service right now and slated to get rebuilt this year, with the help of some grant money – new engine, new blades, and it will then be the main search-and-rescue helicopter.

During Q/A, he clarified a Guardian Two situation we covered here on April 5th because the noise woke/kept so many people up – the night they rescued a fallen hiker from Seattle in the Olympic Mountains. Hoaglan said they actually made three trips out to the Olympics – first with Guardian Two, but they had trouble finding the victim, came back, changed helicopters to Guardian One, found the hiker, then flew back here again, got the Huey (because of its hoist capabilities) and went back for the third time and rescued the climber. When they’re in the Huey, they’ll be louder over eastern West Seattle as they have to drop down lower to stay out of the way of Sea-Tac traffic.

Back to the basics:

KCSO is the only full-time law-enforcement helicopter unit in the region. The nearest one otherwise is in the Bay Area; Snohomish County “has crews available for callouts.”

The unit also trains to be able to drop officers onto vessels – state ferries, for example – if they need to. They can use an AirTep (looks like an upside-down umbrella).

Who pays for the air unit? King County pays maintenance and fuel and salaries, but the rest comes from grants.

What do they do? From the slide deck Deputy Hoaglan narrated:
*Support for patrol
*Handle patrol calls
*Visible presence
*LoJack/ProNet [tracking devices]

*Airborne Marksmen (they have not had to shoot from the air, he said, but they have trained to pick up a SWAT officer and deploy from area if need be)
*Fast Rope Insertion
*Hasty Tactical Team
*Pre-mission recons

If the President comes to town, he elaborated, they “fly the Secret Service around.”

Community events
*Contract city presentations [the cities that contract with KCSO for policing]
*Air Shows
*School presentations [like the one made today at WCH Elementary]

More about what they do: The helicopter has two cameras – a live feed to the officers on the ground is coming soon, possibly by midsummer, so the police will be able to “see what we see” from their laptops.

What constitutes a “typical” police call in which Guardian One gets involved? Say they’re up in Seattle – say, “Kent calls, we go down there and fly left turns until the situation is resolved – could be two minutes, could be an hour” – a full tank of fuel in the main helicopter lasts for up to three hours, the backup lasts two to two and a half hours.

The helicopter is based at Renton, not Boeing Field, though they fuel up at BFI, so if you see them land there, that’s why.

Sorry, no ridealongs, said Dep. Hoaglan in response to a question.

How fast can the helicopter go? Max speed with its new camera is 120 knots – almost 130 mph.

What do you do inbetween calls? Hoaglan’s on the day shift right now and “we do a lot of sitting behind a desk unless there’s a call.” At night, “it’s the opposite” – some admin work at the start and then they fly patrol, at least 4 hours a night – if nothing specific, they’ll fly “a quick racetrack” (pattern) around the county. They monitor the law-enforcement channels, “listen(ing) to a lot of radios at once … and if something comes up, we’ll just go. … If we wait until dispatch calls for us,” they’re behind.

What’s the maximum number of people they can carry? Depending on which helicopter, 4 to 6 people, but the more people, the less gas; the Huey can have “8 SWAT guys and all their gear in the back and 2 pilots up front.”

How do they know house numbers from the air? Map overlay.

What’s FLIR? Forward-Looking Infrared, which detects heat, Dep. Hoaglan explained. “In most cases we have it set for ‘white as hot,’ so the hotter something is, the whiter it will be.” At this point, he showed an Oct. 26, 2013 clip of a pursuit that started in Burien. (If you watch the video, you’ll see a spot of technical difficulty during the attempt to get audio to work.) Here’s the video he showed:

He also explained why police cars might look “hotter” on the FLIR – because an officer’s been driving around for hours, compared to the civilian cars on the street.

Another insider note: The helicopter seldom uses the light, as it’s a tipoff to the suspect on the ground that s/he’s been seen.

Hate the noise? The new camera allows them to fly higher, which means a bit less noise.

Want to know more about King County Air Support? Here’s an info-laden webpage. And you can watch dozens of videos via its YouTube channel (when they post video from an incident we cover, we add it to the story when it’s available, as was the case with this one last weekend).

A few other notes from the WSBWCN meeting:

MORE ABOUT THE HIGHLAND PARK ARREST: Sgt. Joe Bauer from the Anti-Crime Team mentioned the “pawn-shop hunch” arrest from last week, saying the suspect was arrested for burglary and car theft, and was found with meth as well as equipment often used by car thieves. As police usually say, Sgt. Bauer noted that this arrest could solve other cases.

NEW PRECINCT COMMANDER: Capt. Pierre Davis spoke to the group for the first time since the Block Watch Captains were among the first to hear a month ago that he was returning as precinct commander – a role he had filled temporarily a year earlier, before he was appointed to lead the East Precinct. He had high praise for the WSBCWCN, saying they’ve “got it down to a science.” For neighbors in West Seattle, “you guys are the world’s best tattletales.” He exhorted people to “bombard 911″ with information so resources can best be assigned. He said police are involved in a “whole lot of operations right now” that he couldn’t talk about and is hopeful that will cut the recent spike in several areas. “If you see something, say something,” was his request.

Speaking of which, a tip:

HOW TO GET THROUGH TO A LIVE PERSON ON THE NON-EMERGENCY NUMBER: Sometimes people get stuck in the automated tree – so if that happens to you – after you call 206-625-5011, press 2, and then 8, advised Community Police Team Officer Erin Nicholson.

The Block Watch Captains Network usually meets on fourth Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, at the precinct. Between meetings, keep up with the happenings via wsblockwatchnet.wordpress.com.

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VIDEO: Suspect arrested after South Delridge/White Center search with police, deputies, helicopter http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/police-sheriffs-helicopter-search-in-white-centersouth-delridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/police-sheriffs-helicopter-search-in-white-centersouth-delridge/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 07:56:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308312

(Aerial/infrared video of last 7 minutes of the search, ending with arrest)

12:56 AM: Thanks for the texts – a search that’s under way seems to be spanning both Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdictions, with locations including the 26th/Roxbury vicinity. Working to find out what/who they’re looking for.

1:05 AM: Per scanner, deputies have taken a suspect into custody; at some point this included pursuit of a vehicle that the suspect ditched.

1:23 AM: Guardian One has explained via Twitter what it was about:

3:51 AM: Just added atop the story, Guardian One’s video of the last 7 minutes of the search, as they spotted the suspect hiding in the 9600 block of 24th SW and talked the ground officers (including a K-9 team) in.

P.S. Guardian One’s pilot is the guest at next Tuesday’s meeting of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network – bring your questions – 6:30 pm at the SPD Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster).

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Call it ‘Guardian One 101′: West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network to feature law-enforcement helicopter’s pilot http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/call-it-guardian-one-101-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network-to-feature-law-enforcement-helicopters-pilot/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/call-it-guardian-one-101-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network-to-feature-law-enforcement-helicopters-pilot/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 05:22:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308009

(WSB photo from 2014)
You’ve probably seen – or at least heard – it in your neighborhood – our area’s only law-enforcement helicopter, Guardian One. You might have questions about how it works with local police departments, when it gets involved, how it gets involved, and why. Now you have the chance for answers! the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network has just announced its special guest for next Tuesday’s meeting (April 28th):

Our special guest will be Deputy Hersh T. Hoaglan, pilot of the Guardian One helicopter!

Guardian One is a familiar sight over West Seattle, helping Seattle Police from the air to apprehend suspects. Deputy Hoaglan, from the Air Support Unit of the King County Sheriff’s Office, will share with us in detail what he does, how the tools and technology work, and what he sees from the air. He’ll also talk about some of the searches that he works on with Seattle Police.

Bring your questions and take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Guardian One. Should be a very interesting evening!

Meeting schedule (Come early, stay late!)
Tuesday, April 28, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
At the SW Police Precinct, 2300 SW Webster Street (at Delridge Ave SW, next to Home Depot)

6:00-6:30 – Arrive early for light snacks, socializing and networking with each other while we set up the room!

6:30-7:00 – Introductions, announcements.
7:00-8:00 – Deputy Hersh T. Hoaglan | Air Support Unit | King County Sheriff’s Office
8:00-8:30 – Feel free to stay after the meeting to continue your discussions.

Hope to see you there! Everyone is welcome, even if you aren’t a Block Watch Captain!

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Helicopter search after 7-11 robbery http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-crime-watch-helicopter-search-after-7-11-robbery/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-crime-watch-helicopter-search-after-7-11-robbery/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:14:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307918 helicopterwatch.pngSeveral people are asking this morning about a helicopter search in eastern West Seattle early today. Here’s what we’ve found out: Guardian One helped Seattle Police try to catch a man who robbed the 35th/Avalon 7-11 around 2 am. According to the police report we’ve obtained, the clerk was mopping the floor when the robber approached him from behind and placed the barrel of a handgun against his neck, ordering him to empty the register and give him all the money. After the clerk complied, the robber grabbed six packages of cigars and ran out of the store – dropping the cigars in the process, but not the money. The clerk summoned police immediately; they searched on the ground with a K-9 and from the air with Guardian One, but couldn’t find the robber, whose track ended in an alley near the golf course, several blocks east. No description – we’ll add it if we get it.

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UPDATE: About that loud helicopter early this morning… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/about-that-loud-helicopter/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/about-that-loud-helicopter/#comments Sun, 05 Apr 2015 09:20:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306219 helicopterwatch.png2:20 AM: We haven’t confirmed it yet but are checking into whether it was Guardian Two, the King County Sheriff’s Office‘s military-surplus second helicopter. That’s what the similarly loud, military-style helicopter passing by two weeks ago turned out to be, returning from a rescue in the South Sound, and a few hours ago, the KCSO Air Support Unit tweeted that G-2 was headed out to hoist an injured climber in Jefferson County. When on approach to Boeing Field, they fly low to stay out of Sea-Tac’s path, we were told. If we get confirmation, we’ll update.

11:04 AM: As noted in comments below, a followup tweet has added a little more information.

9:29 PM: And here’s what the rescue was all about.

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UPDATE: Why Guardian One helicopter was over Arbor Heights http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/why-guardian-1-was-over-arbor-heights/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/why-guardian-1-was-over-arbor-heights/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 19:40:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305962

(Thanks to Sherry for the photo)
12:40 PM: Thanks for the tips (206-293-6302 any time) about the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter over Arbor Heights. It was gone by the time we got there to look, and nothing was detectable via the scanner, but King County Air Support has just tweeted that they were helping look for a stolen car, and that the car was found.

ADDED 2:20 PM: We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. BJ Myers for a few more details. Among other things, this explains why we didn’t hear anything on the scanner:

Early this morning, a deputy on his way to another call got an indication on his in-car LoJack sensor that a stolen car was in the Arbor Heights area. The deputy wasn’t able to follow up on the alert, so Guardian One came out today with their LoJack sensor and located the stolen vehicle dumped near SW 102/26 Av SW. A detective came out and recovered and processed the vehicle for evidence. It was stolen from Seattle.

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UPDATE: Sunday morning helicopter over south West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/sunday-morning-mystery-helicopter/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/sunday-morning-mystery-helicopter/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 15:49:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304668 helicopterwatch.png8:49 AM: Some are asking, so here’s all we know: Heard the helicopter long before we saw it, to the south of where we are (Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood). Sounded military. We stood outside waiting for a glimpse, finally got it as it passed, eastbound, to the south of us, over Arbor Heights. Hard to tell on a gray morning but it looked private, not military. (If you got a clearer look, let us know!)

9:50 PM: After much discussion in comments throughout the day/evening, we’ve learned that it was most likely the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit‘s second helicopter, Guardian Two, headed back in from the South Sound. It’s a UH-1H military surplus helicopter, which would explain the loudness.

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VIDEO: Two overnight incidents with Guardian One responses http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/heard-the-helicopter-heres-what-guardian-one-was-helping-with/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/heard-the-helicopter-heres-what-guardian-one-was-helping-with/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 08:05:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=303628

(ADDED: KCSO aerial video from search that followed Delridge/Trenton incident)
1:05 AM: The Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter was just over eastern West Seattle for a bit, and now we know why. They tweeted that they were helping Seattle Police look for suspects who ran from a stolen car. The search was focused near 18th and Graham. A K-9 team has been helping on the ground, but no luck finding the suspects so far.

2:18 AM: Guardian One is back because of a separate incident, this one at Delridge/Trenton. It drew a large police/fire response because of an apparently false report of “three people stabbed.” So far, they have found one person with a “small laceration” on a finger. Police had been called to the same area for a similar report earlier tonight.

8:05 AM: We’ve added, above, the aerial video from the second incident, Delridge/Trenton, that’s since been posted on the KCSO Air Support YouTube channel. (What you hear over it is the same audio we heard via scanner at the time, SPD on the ground and the helicopter deputy.)

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Update: Helicopter over High Point, police search on ground http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/helicopter-over-high-point/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/helicopter-over-high-point/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 06:44:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=301113

10:44 PM: Thanks for the tips – the Guardian One helicopter is in West Seattle now, in the High Point area, over Graham/Lanham. Not sure yet what it’s about – they seem to be focused on a vehicle – we’ll add what we find out.

10:55 PM: Officers are searching on the ground, too – one tells us this involves “stolen property.”

(Police at the Calugas Apartments in High Point)
11:01 PM: Guardian One appears to have moved on. We’ve heard on the scanner multiple times that this involves law enforcement from Mercer Island as well as SPD. Not sure how much more we’ll find out tonight.

11:06 PM: Guardian One’s Twitter account confirms:

11:32 PM: Photos added.

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Update: Police search after ‘lewd conduct’ reported near Chief Sealth IHS http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/police-search-after-exposer-reported-near-chief-sealth-ihs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/police-search-after-exposer-reported-near-chief-sealth-ihs/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:16:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300890 11:16 AM: Thanks for the tips about the helicopters. A police search is under way in the Chief Sealth International High School vicinity after, per SPD, a man “reportedly exposed himself (near Sealth) … and ran off.” Police add that they are “evaluating conflicting witness statements.” Earlier this morning, a significant police presence was visible in the area, following the three incidents reported by students yesterday. No description available yet, so we don’t know if this incident matches any aspect of the “flasher” report a few blocks east of Sealth on January 26th.

11:47 AM UPDATE: Just as we were on the phone with police seeking more details, they tweeted this:

There is some partial description info, Det. Drew Fowler told us: White man, 20s, gray shirt, black boots.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Police search in South Delridge http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-search-in-south-delridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-search-in-south-delridge/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 21:11:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300779 1:11 PM: SPD is searching in the Delridge/Trenton area for a possible burglary suspect. That’s what the heavy police presence is about. More as we get it.

1:14 PM: You might soon see/hear Guardian One in the area to help with the search. No official description from police.

1:23 PM: Partial description of the suspect: Buzzcut, 20s, gray backpack with yellow trim. A neighbor says police also said the suspect was described as white or Asian.

3:18 PM: The search ended without word of an arrest. We now know the burglary was in the 8800 block of 22nd SW.

ADDED FEBRUARY 17TH: Aerial video from the search, available via this new YouTube channel:

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Guardian One’s third West Seattle/White Center visit of the night http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/guardian-ones-third-visit-of-the-night/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/guardian-ones-third-visit-of-the-night/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 05:56:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300360 9:56 PM: Guardian One is in the area for the third time tonight. This time we’ve heard it’s a call near 20th/Delridge but don’t have details yet. Earlier, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Twitter timeline, the helicopter assisted with calls described as a hit-run search in West Seattle and a robbery search in White Center.

10:44 PM: We couldn’t find any police activity in that area but Guardian One’s subsequent tweet says it was helping with “a robbery north of White Center.” Fragments of scanner traffic lead us to believe it was a store robbery, not a street robbery, but we’re still trying to confirm with police. No helicopter visible in the area (or anywhere else as we drove back north along 16th, and then onto Delridge, from there).

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: Delridge 7-11, per comment.

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