2:19 AM: We’re hearing a chopper in the distance, and via Facebook/e-mail, we have a few other reports, from Westwood to Highland Park. Checking on it. (If you are seeing ground police activity anywhere in that area, let us know – sometimes that’s the main clue.)
4:39 AM NOTE: The helicopter left shortly after we published this. As for what it was doing – no reply yet from police, but whenever we do finally get info later this morning, we’ll add it to this …
11:38 AM NOTE: Heard back this morning from Lt. Ron Rasmussen at the Southwest Precinct, who couldn’t find any evidence it was related to an SPD case. So now we’re checking with King County Sheriff’s Office, to whom the lone law-enforcement chopper in the area (Guardian One) belongs, in case it was a county case that just happened to spill over here.
4:23 PM NOTE: We finally got a bit of information, but not much. King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart says it was a KCSO case – but he hasn’t been able to rustle up the information on anything beyond, an arrest was being made. Not a big deal, he insists.
Getting multiple reports of a helicopter over Arbor Heights/Roxbury – checking to see what it’s looking for. (And a moment after we published this – the chopper headed northward, away from the area. But we’ll still see if we can find out what it WAS here for. If we don’t get that info soon, we’ll check again with police later this morning.)
FIRST REPORT, 11:02 AM: Getting multiple notes about a helicopter over the Schmitz Park/Genesee Hill area. Checking right now.
11:16 AM UPDATE: It was definitely Guardian One, the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that assists with other agencies when needed/available, but KCSO spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart says it’s NOT an active crime scene: He says it was looking for a car involved in an “earlier incident in Burien.”
Just getting notes in multiple channels about a low-flying helicopter over North Delridge. Checking! 10:28 AM NOTE: Southwest Precinct says there’s no police search under way right now, so it’s not law enforcement …
If you’re in Westwood or Gatewood or Sunrise Heights and wondering about all the commotion – a search is under way after a crash. We’ve been listening to the search on the scanner – a K-9 is involved, and the Guardian One helicopter just joined in, too. According to Ken, one car hit two parked cars in the 7900 block of 30th SW (map), and the people inside apparently left the scene. 11:46 PM UPDATE: Scanner indicates police are still searching within a radius of at least a few blocks. 11:51 PM: The helicopter’s leaving but ground search continues.
Thanks to the tipsters who phoned in sightings of two unmarked helicopters in the Gatewood area in the last 30 minutes. We’re told they were not news helicopters and we have no word of police activity in that area. At the moment they have flown off as quickly as they appeared. We’ll post an update if we’re able to find out what it was related to. But it is likely unrelated to any kind of law enforcement or rescue activity.
Don’t yet know what it is – except it’s not TV news, and not Guardian One. 7:23 PM NOTE: No conclusions reached (we tried calling Boeing Field and couldn’t get a live person on the phone) – but do note there’s a disaster drill involving state ferries tomorrow.
(Thanks to Fritz for sending the photo)
On our way to the “heavy rescue” call at 29th/Trenton (map). Details as soon as we have them. 6 PM UPDATE: This is a two-car crash, one a flipped red SUV, the other a damaged black Volvo station wagon, according to our crew on scene. Looks like responders are tending to at least two people. 6:17 PM UPDATE: Police say it looks like one of the vehicles may have run the stop sign; they’re also checking on whether alcohol played a role. Both victims are being taken to hospitals by private ambulance, and no major injuries are reported. A dog was in one of the cars and got out OK but was so upset it bit a firefighter’s hand; the firefighter was treated at the scene. Fire vehicles will be clearing but Trenton is closed at that spot until the wreckage is cleared.
8:28 PM: The scene is long since clear, but we are adding that photo of the dog, and the following video with general scenes from the incident, both by Christopher Boffoli:
ORIGINAL 11:48 AM REPORT OF “MAJOR HEAVY RESCUE”: We are on the way. We have two reports that a car has crashed into a bank. More from the scene shortly. 11:54 AM UPDATE: We’re there – a car has crashed into the Westwood Village Bank of America. 11:59 AM UPDATE: Looks like NO major injuries, so far. Unofficial word is that this was an accident, not something deliberate. Here’s another of our cameraphone photos from the scene:
12:08 PM UPDATE: Seattle Fire spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen has given a quick briefing at the scene. She says two people are being taken to the hospital to be checked out – one, a customer who was at the ATM and dove out of the way – another, a bank worker. Injuries are NOT believed to be major. As for the driver, no injuries reported at this point. The car already has been backed out of the bank:
12:28 PM UPDATE: In case you were wondering – the bank IS closed TFN because of this. (We’ll check back again later.) 12:53 PM: A couple photos from Christopher Boffoli – firefighters, and photojournalists, in action:
ADDED 2:37 PM: Video from Christopher, with what Vander Houwen told us at the scene:
ORIGINAL 11:19 A REPORT: We’ve received a few calls about the chopper over SE West Seattle/White Center. Officers are after a woman described on the scanner as having a shotgun; it started in the 10700 block of 18th. More to come. NOON UPDATE: We’ve just talked at the scene with King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart. He tells us this began when residents interrupted a burglary in progress. They’re OK but three suspects — including the aforementioned armed woman – are being sought. 12:45 PM UPDATE: Our video of Sgt. Urquhart’s media briefing is back in house; uploading now, but in the meantime, the newest details – one suspect was caught, two on the loose. He says all three are believed to be teenagers. (added) Here’s the video (you can hear the helicopter/s in the background):
ADDED 11:14 PM: Two more suspects have been arrested, after a raid on a South Seattle motel, according to this KING 5 report.
We still don’t know where they were from or where they were headed, but we sparked some discussion on Facebook by noting this late-in-the-day flyover involving two double-rotor choppers (Chinooks, we believe) – and then Jeff J was kind enough to send in his iPhone video of the sighting, so we’re sharing.
First we were talking about it on Twitter, after a military-sounding helicopter went right over WSB HQ in Upper Fauntleroy. Now we’re hearing that chopper activity is continuing in the Alki area. Checking to see what’s going on. (On Twitter, those who saw the chopper before dark said it was a Chinook, and at least two people have mentioned a pole protruding from it.) 6:31 PM: Nothing that Seattle Police know about. Checking with other agencies. 7:09 PM: Got an answer from the US Coast Guard. Someone reported a possible “surfer in distress” – instead, it turned out to be “logs and debris.” (And if you saw the water mid-afternoon, you would have seen lots of those afloat today; we noticed it while in the Alki area mid-afternoon.)
Getting multiple reports – checking into it now. There are no serious-injury incidents on 911 anywhere in the area, and there’s nothing obvious on the scanner at the moment. 12:10 AM NOTE: Still haven’t had any luck nailing down an official account of this – afterhours contacts are inconsistent unless there is a MAJOR crime (and chopper/K-9 doesn’t necessarily portend “major,” no consolation if the search is in your neighborhood, of course) — comments and this WSB Forums thread have some pieces, though. SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Lt. Steve Paulsen says the incident involved an “ex-boyfriend assaulting ex-girlfriend.” The suspect is in custody.
King County Sheriff’s Office says this is what it’s about: A bail bondsman was trying to arrest someone – which they have the authority to do, per Sgt. John Urquhart – and the would-be arrestee ran off. Now KCSO is involved. So that’s what we know about the search for now; thanks to everyone who’s sent tips/questions. 4:23 PM UPDATE: The helicopter seems to have left the original search area, which we have confirmed on scene is 16th/102nd, on the south side of the main White Center business district.
ORIGINAL 1:29 PM REPORT: Thanks for the tips about a helicopter search – we’ve headed in that general direction (Arbor Heights) and are making calls to law-enforcement agencies – details as we get them. 1:34 PM UPDATE: Seattle Police Det. Mark Jamieson says that Guardian One and SPD are helping with a King County Sheriff’s Office search involving someone who fled a stolen car. The call apparently started in the White Center area (17th/Roxbury) but we’re seeing the helicopter over the 11100 block of 35th SW in Arbor Heights. 1:53 PM UPDATE: Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart tells us the suspect is now in custody, as of just a few moments ago.
Mentioned it on Twitter but just got a phone call so better put a line here too: Guardian One – the King County helicopter that assists Seattle Police and other agencies when needed – is over Harbor Ave checking out a report of possible suspicious activity at a “boat yard,” per the original dispatch we heard on the scanner a little while ago.
We were away for the keyboard covering the West Seattle HS-Chief Sealth HS game (final: WSHS 26, Chief Sealth 8, details and video to come) and are just getting the reports about a helicopter over eastern West Seattle for a while. Seattle PD isn’t reporting anything significant on its media alerts, so we’re checking. It’s been quiet for a while till this crazy week but a reminder we haven’t issued for a while, if you see something notable and you don’t see news of it pop up here quickly, PLEASE call us – 206-293-6302 – that will reach us wherever we are and we can get on the case if we’re not already. All our other contact methods are here but the phone’s always the fastest and we answer 24/7. 2:52 AM NOTE: Haven’t dredged up anything yet. Been listening to the scanner the last few hours and nothing noteworthy lingering in West Seattle. In the WSB Forums, member “newcarissa” reported asking a police officer who said there’d been “a liquor-store robbery down the road” – if so, that would be White Center, and we’ll check with the Sheriff’s Office over the weekend too.
Thanks to Daniel for the photo from Sunrise Heights; we were in Morgan Junction when we spotted the four choppers approaching from the southwest (checking to see if our Flip video is worth using). It was a Washington Army National Guard flyby for the Mariners’ pregame, per TV. ADDED 6:23 PM: Here’s our (distant – Flip doesn’t zoom) video:
ORIGINAL 8:27 PM REPORT: Getting messages about the chopper over The Junction and beyond. We’re still checking to be sure but chances are it’s a news chopper for the West Seattle High School-O’Dea game at West Seattle Stadium. Will update with whatever else we find out. Co-publisher Patrick is at the game (tweeting it at @wsblive – halftime was O’Dea 18, West Seattle 7) but it’s impossible to tell from there – choppers have such strong cameras these days, they can shoot from very high. There’s nothing on 911 in terms of fire/medics which bolsters the theory, but we’re also checking with police. 8:33 PM UPDATE: Confirmed from a friend who works at KING5, it’s their chopper, covering the game. As our friend notes, their chopper will be out somewhere every Friday night – so on Fridays, if you hear a chopper before 9 pm or so, it just might be for football, but thanks again to everyone who checked in via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter – you just never know. 9:15 PM SIDE NOTE: Longer story to come, but the game just ended – O’Dea 39, WSHS 7.
Checking now to see if we can find out what it’s doing. Let us know if you’re seeing police on the ground anywhere. 9:46 PM UPDATE: This one might remain a mystery. Lt. Ron Smith at the Southwest Precinct says law enforcers don’t have anything going on that he or dispatch is aware of. As for news choppers, unless there’s a prescheduled evening event (like 4th of July fireworks), they’re usually in for the night long before dark. 9:55 PM UPDATE: Justin from Capitol Hill Seattle says via Twitter that a mystery chopper, not police, is buzzing THAT neighborhood right now. Hmm. 11:35 PM UPDATE: Lt. Smith says police have checked with FAA and learned that it’s a private company doing infrared photography. We may have more on this momentarily. ADDED 11:43 PM: Talked to the FAA. BCRA is the company that had permission for two flyover periods “around Seattle” tonight (the other one was before dark) – and the work apparently involves infrared photography regarding “air barriers”; found out a little more here. As the old saying goes, you learn something new every day. And night!
ORIGINAL 2:39 AM REPORT: The law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One is involved in a search in Highland Park right now, as are at least two K-9 units and other police — we know they’re looking for one suspect, but don’t know yet what it is that he’s being sought for — we’re monitoring via scanner, where it appears they’ve been discussing the Riverview Playfield area (map) as well. 2:49 AM UPDATE: “One in custody” is the report on the scanner, so the search is over. (The chopper led the ground crews right to the suspect with one of its specialized nighttime tracking capabilities.) 3:45 AM UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith confirms this was related to the 1:32 am “motor vehicle accident” call on the 911 log at Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way (map) – he explains that before officers arrived, there was a report “a driver from an involved vehicle fled from the scene.” The “adult male” suspect who was subsequently arrested was booked, he says, for hit-and-run.
We promised we’d let you know as soon as we found out what last night’s helicopter-over-Alki police search (original WSB coverage here) was all about – and Seattle Police media-unit Officer Mark Jamieson has just provided details: At 2:12 am, a call came in from the 3000 block of 59th SW, where somebody saw “two males” who “hopped a fence,” followed by the sound of something crashing. A few minutes later, Seattle Public Schools security answered an alarm at nearby Alki Elementary, and then came a report that the possible suspects were seen running westbound on Stevens (just west of the school). The helicopter was available, so it, and K-9 officers, joined the search. The suspects were described as 2 white males, around 16 years old, wearing dark clothing. Around 3:05 am, the search was called off; police went back to the school and found a broken window on the south side of the school, but it hasn’t been determined yet whether entry was actually made and whether anything was taken.
ORIGINAL 2:47 AM REPORT: Heard Guardian One over our house a few minutes ago, heading north – and in fact, we’ve just received a few notes and a call that the chopper is searching over Alki, and that there’s a ground search too. Haven’t heard exactly what happened but “two white males that jumped (a) fence” are being sought, and the chopper has reported not seeing any hot spots “around the building.” The caller said she’s seeing the activity close to the Alki Tully’s. More as we get it. 2:55 AM: We should mention, for potentially a bit of reassurance, there have been no aid calls in the area, so nothing injurious related to this; we’d been listening to the scanner even before the first phone call of the chopper over Alki (plus several Twitter and Facebook reports too) and hadn’t heard anything dramatic. 3:05 AM: Sounds like Guardian One is “clearing out.” If we’re not able to get any details on the incident here in the wee hours, we’ll update – as always – whenever the details DO become available. 4:05 AM: **NOT** related that we know of, but if you’re still awake in the Alki area after all this, there’s now a fire engine responding to 62nd/Alki for a “rubbish fire” (as real-time 911 puts it). 12:19 PM UPDATE: Just got the details from SPD media officer Mark Jamieson: A break-in or attempted break-in at Alki Elementary. Will post all the details in a separate item in a few minutes. No arrests.
Sorry we didn’t have information while it was happening, but we now have messages out to police to ask what was up – literally and figuratively – with the helicopter search that several people have reported hearing over eastern West Seattle in the 2-3 am vicinity this morning. Will add information here as soon as we have it. 7:20 AM UPDATE: Just spoke with Officer Renee Witt in the Seattle Police media unit. She says two calls brought significant officer response to West Seattle early this morning, though it looks like the second call is the one that brought out the helicopter. First, there was a business burglary in the 6000 block of 35th SW; Officer Witt says a door was kicked in, a K-9 team joined the search, and the report indicates that some suspects were arrested. (We hope to get more on that later.) Second, there was a call from the same address involved in the SWAT team response weekend before last; the caller reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area. That’s what Officer Witt says brought out Guardian 1 – the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that is also used to assist Seattle Police when necessary – though ultimately police believe the call may have been false. No arrests in that one, though there was an aid response to the same vicinity around 5 am today – no word yet if it was related. 9:58 AM UPDATE: And we have MORE information now – directly from the Southwest Precinct. Just spoke with Sgt. Jeff Durden, who says that Guardian One WAS deployed for the aforementioned business burglary, and here are more details on that: The business hit around 2 am was the convenience store in the 6300 block of 35th. According to Sgt. Durden, “three to four males were seen kicking in the door … and throwing items out of it.” Responding officers set up containment, called in K-9 and the helicopter, and eventually two suspects were arrested, a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man, and officers “recovered bags full of merchandise from the store.”
There’s a search under way right now northwest of Morgan Junction – we’re not entirely sure how it started, but it sounds like they are looking for a known burglary suspect, and vandalism involving a motorcycle is part of what’s been discussed on the scanner. A K-9 team is assisting in the search, and it sounds like the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One is on its way. 12:05 AM UPDATE: We’re monitoring the scanner – no progress to report but as commenters note (and as we can hear in the distance), the helicopter has arrived in West Seattle to join the search. 12:39 AM UPDATE: As discussed in comments, the chopper has left. No indication if there’s been an arrest. We have a message out to police; if we don’t get official information in the next few hours (regarding the suspect status and the nature of whatever incident touched off the search), we’ll continue pursuing it later in the morning.
ADDED 8:45 AM WEDNESDAY: From Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct:
Last night at 1125 pm, patrol officers attempted to stop a vehicle at California/Findlay driven by Skyelar Hailey and arrest him for his outstanding warrants. He ran from the vehicle which rolled into another car (parked) and then cutting through yards, knocked over a motorcycle damaging it. Despite K9 and Guardian One searches Skyelar escaped. The vehicle he was driving had three passengers who apparently drove away while officers were chasing Skyelar on foot. The parked vehicle was also gone.
We have reported on Skyelar Hailey, an 18-year-old with a long criminal record, here before – in fact, he is to be sentenced this Friday in a case we wrote about exactly one week ago. We were planning to be in court for that and will be checking on how this incident will affect that scheduled hearing.
Since nothing fills our inbox as fast as a more-than-fleeting helicopter sighting over West Seattle, we wanted to take the chance to give you ADVANCE WARNING about helicopter activity that’s planned tomorrow and may be visible from southeast West Seattle and White Center/Top Hat. The announcement comes from the Seattle Fire Department, about training tomorrow at 9401 Myers Way S (map here; Google Street View image below):
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The Seattle Fire Department and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will conduct helicopter emergency operations training at the City of Seattle Joint Training Facility [9401 Myers Way S; map] on Wednesday, April 15. The drill will prepare both agencies to work together in the event of a regional disaster.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office UH-1H Bell “Huey” Helicopter is equipped with a rescue hoist, which will be used to practice lowering and raising teams of four firefighters onto and off of the roof of a training building. They will also test their skills at lowering equipment onto the roof. The techniques practiced in the drill will help prepare both agencies for special rescue operations including fires in high rise buildings, emergencies aboard ships or other hard-to reach locations and for delivering equipment and resources in the event of a major earthquake or other natural disaster.
Time frame, you ask? Early afternoon in particular, since the media’s been invited to photograph this around 1:30 tomorrow. P.S. Just heard on the Mariners broadcast that this Saturday is the Salute to Armed Forces, with pregame activity starting around 5:30 pm – a flyover is mentioned in the promotional blurbs, and those tend to have West Seattle in the flight path to Safeco – last year, we briefly caught the choppers on video.
Got a few notes very early Sunday about the area’s law-enforcement helicopter, Guardian One, spending some time over the Delridge Triangle area. WSB Forum members launched a discussion and we have added a little more information this morning – the call started with King County Sheriff’s Deputies who say it involved a report of a “fight in progress” – here’s the entire WSBF thread, in case you haven’t already read it there.
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