West Seattle, Washington
That police car with rollers going on southbound California just north of Alaska tonight was there as part of a warrant-related police operation at the Corner Pocket bar. After getting a tip, we went there and found police at the bar’s basement door; a sergeant on scene told us it was one of two West Seattle locations at which they were “coordinating” service of a warrant he described as “drug-related.” The other location, we learned, was a residence northeast of Morgan Junction. Our research into warrant and court records has not yet yielded further details; we will be following up.
Three Tuesday night police responses that might have caught your eye:
WESTWOOD – DOUG GOT HIS BIKE BACK: Since our Monday morning Crime Watch reader report from Doug, whose bicycle was stolen from atop his car outside his North Delridge home when he stepped back inside to get his child, the story played out in comments – including some sightings. This one at Westwood Village from “West Seattlite” on Tuesday night, plus police assistance, got Doug’s bike back. (The thief, however, is still on the loose.)
That was around 7:30 pm. Then, two sizable police responses in the 9 pm vicinity – we heard about them too late to check out firsthand, but did get some info from police:
TRIANGLE – FIGHT: This one brought a big response to the Fauntleroy/Alaska gas-station vicinity. Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams explains that two officers in the area saw a fight in progress; when they moved in, two people ran from them. They found one person “involved in fighting with the 2 suspects who ran off, but he was somewhat uncooperative.”
ADMIRAL – STREET FIGHT: This started as a confrontation between people walking across California SW by West Seattle High School and people in a car. An argument turned into an assault when one of the street-crossers got hit in the head. Seattle Fire was called to treat the wound. The alleged attacker wasn’t found, says Lt. Williams, but police had a potential lead on his identity.
If you saw the big police response in the 4700 block of California SW this past hour – here’s what happened: A “person in crisis” situation inside Talarico’s, according to Seattle Police. The man was subdued by the time officers arrived, and the private ambulance in our photo was called to take him to Harborview Medical Center for an evaluation.
No injuries otherwise, police said.
5:37 PM: New information today about how police tracked down the 29-year-old burglary suspect arrested at Hiawatha Playfield last night (WSB coverage here). He remains in jail, bail set at $10,000 during a hearing this afternoon. And probable-cause documents say an alert neighbor is to thank for helping track him down.
We reported last night that the burglary was in the Alki area; it actually happened near Me-Kwa-Mooks Park. The residents told police they were only away for about 20 minutes when someone broke in around 3 pm, stealing jewelry and two rifles. A neighbor gave police a description of the car, including its Oregon license plate, which was quickly traced to a rental company. Just after 5 pm, the neighbor called 911 to say the car was back at the house. While headed there, police saw it at Admiral and California, then in the Starbucks parking lot, where the driver jumped out and ran south.
As we reported last night, a wide-ranging containment/search operation ensued. Then around quarter past six, a resident called 911 to report someone was hiding in his yard. An officer spotted the suspect walking east on SW Lander shortly afterward; a foot chase ensued, and then the suspect “got into the prone position near the playfields,” at which time he was taken into custody.
His last known address was in Federal Way, according to the police report, but the narrative says he took police to “where he stored the stolen guns” – three guns were recovered at an address near 2nd SW and SW 122nd in North Burien. The suspect is due back in court Wednesday, by which time charges could be filed.
1:53 AM: The suspect is out of jail after posting bond.
12:04 AM: Police have been dispatched to check out a report of four suspected gunshots near Me-Kwa-Mooks Park off Beach Drive. Along with hearing the dispatch, we’ve also received reports by phone and via Twitter. Too soon to know if they’ll find evidence of gunfire, but if you heard it and haven’t called 911 yet, please do, because the more reports they receive, police have said at community meetings, the better their chances of finding out what did (or didn’t) happen.
12:26 AM: No word yet if officers found anything. All we know otherwise is that there have *not* been any reports of a gunshot victim in the area.
5:52 PM: Thanks for the calls and texts about a police response and search in Admiral, primarily toward the east side of the business district. We’ve just arrived to find out more.
5:56 PM UPDATE: This apparently is related to the burglary we reported in our previous story – a suspect being sought in relation to the Ford with OR plates, which is in an Admiral business parking lot. Police believe the suspect is on foot and might be armed.
6:13 PM UPDATE: The search continues, including a K-9 team. The car was found between the Admiral Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins, where there’s still a heavy police presence. You might be seeing police blocks away from here, too, in all directions – the containment and search are spanning a wide area. We don’t have a description of the suspect yet.
6:22 PM UPDATE: We now have a partial description – white man in his 30s/40s, dark jacket, blue jeans, white sneakers. The car – reportedly a rental – was found with some items in it, but police won’t elaborate on whether it’s loot from the burglary. A tow truck will be taking it to SPD’s evidence lot shortly.
6:38 PM UPDATE: And now, a suspect is in custody at Hiawatha Playfield. Police tell us they believe it’s the person they’ve been seeking in relation to the burglary.
7:25 PM UPDATE: Photo added, from the WSHS/Hiawatha driveway south of the playfield, just before police took the suspect to the precinct for booking. A soccer team was at the field when the suspect turned up there, by the way; they quickly moved to the sidelines and everyone was OK, if a little startled.
11:31 PM UPDATE: The suspect, 29 years old, has been booked into jail, held for investigation of burglary and firearms violations. He does not appear to have a felony record, at least not in this state. Since he was booked before midnight, he’s likely to have a bail hearing tomorrow, and we’ll find out more about the case then.
We start with a situation that’s been unfolding over the past hour or so:
ARREST: A big police response in the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) parking lot was related to what police would only describe as “an altercation” somewhere else. A man involved in it left the original scene and turned up near the store, where he was taken into custody. If we get any further information, we’ll update.
Now, three reader reports:
STOLEN CAR: Jonathan says this happened in the 2600 block of 44th SW:
Our green 1996 Honda Accord LX wagon was stolen between Thursday night & Friday morning; license plate AGM6929.
The windows are tinted, except the front passenger’s side window which is untinted.
The paint is a little more worn than in this photo from a couple years ago.
FOUND BICYCLE #1: From Susan:
This bike was abandoned by our house in the Genesee Hill area. The police have come to pick it and it is now in their possession. Please contact the SW precinct if you are the owner or have questions about the bike.
FOUND BICYCLE #2: No photo, but: “We found an older red mountain bike on Fauntleroy near Morgan Junction. We’d like to get it back to the owner, please email us at l_c_turner (at) hotmail (dot) com with make and model if you’re missing a bike. We’re also going to try to find the serial number and report the find to the police.”
We’ve received several questions about a police response at California/Alaska in The Junction. Went over to check; police were dealing with a person in crisis, who will be taken – via the private ambulance in our photo – to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“It is unfortunate what took place …”
That’s what a Kent Police Department commander tells WSB in response to our inquiries about what happened after that agency found a vehicle stolen in West Seattle and turned over to its owner.
We first reported two Fridays ago about that vehicle, stolen from local restaurateur Dan Austin (owner of WSB sponsor Peel & Press). Then last Thursday, Austin let us know that his car had been found by Kent Police (outside the Des Moines Goodwill, which is in Kent city limits) – but, as he put it in the report we published Thursday night, “Here is the weird thing, I have stolen mail and property in the car but the police wouldn’t take it. They said it was mine to deal with. I find this insane!!! I have a stolen bike and several pairs of glasses, electronics, stolen mail from all over and gym bags. What am I going to do with these??? I refuse to toss them because, as someone who just had my car stolen, I want to help people get their things back!”
Trying to deal with those things added insult to the injury of his car theft, which left him with a damaged vehicle and trashed interior that reeked of a variety of substances.
The items he most hoped to get back – the car seats for his young children – were gone. And there he was, stuck with piles of stuff, from the personal documents shown in the top photo – belonging to a variety of people including one person who, that paperwork said, had recently gotten out of jail after an arrest for suspected forgery – to mail, to eyeglasses:
At one point after Austin talked with the Southwest Precinct, Seattle Police were going to take possession of the items – an officer was there when we stopped by Austin’s house on Friday afternoon to take the photos you see in the story; we rushed over because at the time he thought they were about to be taken away.
Kent Police, however, were still in the loop, and according to the SPD officer, were arguing about what to do, so the Seattle officer left. And there was Austin, still in possession of other people’s stuff. Finally, he told us, a Kent officer was sent on Saturday and the items were taken away. “The whole situation still seems really messed up, and I wonder how many people never get their items returned because cops don’t want to take the time to inventory or retrieve it.”
We tried calling Kent PD on Friday afternoon, but were unable to reach spokesperson Commander Jarod Kasner. Today, we e-mailed him to ask about the situation, and he replied, calling it “unfortunate circumstances … Mr. Austin should not have beared the responsibility of re-contacting us in this situation; however, once we were re-contacted a Kent Officer responded to his location and collected the items that Mr. Austin had in his possession. We are reaching out to other police agencies in an attempt to locate the identified owners of the property that was collected.”
Commander Kasner also addressed Austin’s concern about being told that the two people found in his car wouldn’t face prosecution: “In this type of case we have to establish ‘knowledge’ that the vehicle was stolen. Arresting the suspect on his confirmed warrant allows us to investigate further and establish the required ‘knowledge/ aspect of the crime. The case was referred to the Detective Unit and it is anticipated that criminal charges surrounding the stolen vehicle will be filed.”
Overall, Kasner said, “It is unfortunate what took place and although I have not had an opportunity to obtain all the information, it appears that in this incident we did not provide the service that is expected or normally given. I would like to express that we take all crimes serious and we will be investigating why the situation was handled in the fashion in which it was. The information that will be obtained from our investigation, good or bad, will allow us to correct and change what is needed to maintain a high level of service, which is expected.”
Meantime, Austin tells WSB, “I am glad to hear that they acknowledge that this was not the way it should have happened. I am relieved to have the items under the control of the proper authorities. I would still like to know why the call was made to leave this stolen property with me … I still have a lot of respect for law enforcement but right now I have a lot of questions as well.”
SIDE NOTE: The oddest item we noticed, from everything Austin found in the car, next to somebody’s empty pill container:
5:56 PM: If you saw the big police response outside the Westwood Village McDonald’s around 5:15 pm – here’s what it was about: Officers spotted someone they knew had a warrant out for his arrest, related to an armed-robbery case, called for backup, moved in, and arrested him. We don’t have name/case information yet but will be watching the jail register.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Online records show the suspect arrested is 20-year-old Christian Demuth-Hebert. He also was cited for resisting arrest and obstructing police. He is jailed in lieu of $101,000 bail – the $100,000 is for the robbery warrant, which we traced to a case involving shoplifting turned violent at a store in Bellevue, which is also the city listed for his most recent residence. We haven’t found any West Seattle ties so far. The charging documents in that case say his record stretches back to at least 14: “Assault Third Degree and Theft Third Degree (2016, reduced from Robbery 2); Theft Third Degree (2015, reduced from Robbery 2); Vehicle Prowl 2 (2015); Theft Third Degree (2014), Escape Third Degree (2011) and Criminal Trespass (2011, 2010).”
After this double-take crash off the west end of the West Seattle Bridge on Saturday, with the pickup truck’s driver surviving unhurt, the top question was “how did that happen?”
While information about crash investigations isn’t always easy to get, we were able to get some followup details today from Seattle Police. Media-relations Det. Mark Jamieson told us the driver was given a citation for speeding – driving too fast for roadway conditions. The police report, he said, noted that the driver lost control, fishtailed into the inside jersey banner, and from there went over the railing, landing headlights-down in a backyard on SW Manning. Some debris hit a residence, but no one inside was hurt. The driver was not impaired, police determined.
After talking with Det. Jamieson, we checked with SDOT to ask whether the city bills people in incidents that result in damage to public infrastructure. While unable to comment on this specific case, since it’s just a few days old, SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero replied: “We make every effort to recover damage to public property due to traffic accidents. In most cases, if there is an accident report and the at-fault driver has insurance, we recover all our costs for the emergency response and the cost of the repair to the bridge. We have a special cost accounting system, set up in advance to accurately track the labor, material and equipment used to keep the public safe and restore the damaged infrastructure.”
10:21 PM: Via text and scanner, we heard reports of “shots or fireworks” in Riverview/Highland Park a few minutes ago. Police headed to the area to check them out and heard some after arrival; they’ve told dispatch what they heard sounded like “firecrackers.” Any time you hear what you think might be shots, by the way, police have said over and over at community meetings, they want you to call it in – the more calls they get, the better their chances of figuring out the location/source.
10:55 PM: Now police are off to check out another report, four possible shots heard in the 1000 block of SW Portland.
10:51 AM: Last night, we brought you first word that a short pursuit by Southwest Precinct officers in the South Park area resulted in arrests linked to robberies in West Seattle. Police have just released more information via this SPD Blotter post:
Eight suspects were arrested late Thursday afternoon in a stolen vehicle after a short pursuit by officers in South Park.
Just before 4:00 pm officers saw a silver 2006 Hyundai Sonata that matched the description of a suspect vehicle used in a robbery in West Seattle earlier that morning. The same vehicle description also eluded officers when they attempted to pull it over on Wednesday. Officers attempted to stop the Sonata, but it fled from the marked patrol vehicle. Officers attempted to pull over the car using emergency lights and sirens, but the driver of the Sonata kept driving at a high rate of speed until the driver lost control and struck a curb, causing the vehicle to stop near the intersection of South 96th Street and Des Moines Memorial Drive South.
Officers quickly arrested the eight individuals inside the car, which turned out to be a reported stolen vehicle from Kent. The Seattle Fire Department also responded to evaluate and treat the suspects that were exhibiting the effects of drug consumption. One of the suspects was transported to Harborview Medical Center from the scene and the remaining seven were transported to the Southwest Precinct. Three of the suspects were later transported to the hospital for drug related issues. The Hyundai was impounded from the scene.
Detectives responded to the Southwest Precinct and began their investigation. The suspects are believed to be involved in a series of robberies of convenience stores in West Seattle. The driver, a 19-year-old male, was later booked into the King County Jail for robbery and eluding. A 17-year-old male was later booked into the Youth Services Center (YSC) for robbery and drug charges, and a 15-year-old male was also booked into YSC for robbery.
The remaining suspects, two juvenile females and three juvenile males, were released to the custody of their parents.
We’re working to find out which robberies are believed to be linked to these suspects.
11:13 AM: Just talked with Det. Mark Jamieson at SPD. Two of the cases happened yesterday – a robbery at the 7-11 on Harbor Ave., and a holdup attempt at the 41st/Admiral Chevron. Detectives are still looking into others. The 19-year-old suspect does not appear to have a felony record, at least not in this state; he wasn’t booked into jail until early this morning, so his bail hearing might not be held today, but we’ll be tracking the case.
10:51 PM: The adult suspect won’t have a bail hearing until Saturday. Two juvenile suspects went to court this afternoon. Documents say one is 17 and an Admiral resident; he is accused of being one of two who allegedly held up the Admiral 7-11 twice this week – early Tuesday and early Wednesday. During the Tuesday holdup, the police report says, this suspect was wearing a mask, possibly a “white Halloween clown type.” His alleged accomplice in both robberies is a 15-year-old from Tukwila.
10:11 PM: Police and fire are responding to a house near 14th and Roxbury. It’s an “assault with weapons” call on the SFD log but we haven’t heard whether there’s a victim. We are hearing that police are blocking off traffic in the 14th/15th/Roxbury area, so please avoid that area TFN. More to come.
10:23 PM: Per scanner, police have gone in and determined there’s no victim. They’re now trying to sort out whether the call was a hoax.
FUGITIVE ARRESTED: What started as a Narcotics and Gang Unit “emphasis operation in South Park” last night wound up including the arrest of a fugitive wanted on a felony warrant from Oregon, according to SPD Blotter. The officers found a stolen pickup truck at 5th Ave. S. and S. Kenyon in South Park, then checked out a Jaguar parked nearby and found it “belonged to a wanted fugitive.” They “watched the vehicles until two men approached the vehicles and drove away. Detectives followed and SWAT officers made the stops at two separate locations. The stolen truck was stopped in the 5900 block of 1st Avenue South and the 35-year-old man was arrested for auto theft. Police stopped the Jaguar at 9th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury and arrested its 27-year-old driver, who had a felony fugitive warrant out of Oregon. Officers also recovered a loaded 9mm Glock handgun on the floorboard of the car. Detectives impounded both vehicles and booked both suspects into the King County Jail.”
Another stolen vehicle has been found, with a WSB reader’s help:
TRUCK FOUND: We reported on Sunday about the theft of Caleb’s truck. As noted in the comment section, Adam spotted it on Pigeon Point, reported it police, and mentioned it here. Caleb’s friend, who had sent in the report, confirmed it was recovered.
And a Crime Watch reader report today:
READER REPORT: Anonymous message: “Car prowl last night (in the 8800 block of) 36th Ave SW. Took a green wallet with all my credit cards, ID, etc. Police report done, but wanted neighbors to be aware. (Wallet fell out of my purse, apparently.)”
12:23 PM: Thanks for the tips – if you’re seeing police in North Delridge (we’ve heard 26th SW/SW Graham and the 5900 block of Delridge Way, as well as points west), they’re looking for someone they were trying to arrest in connection with a warrant, not a current incident. Apparently the suspect fled as police were moving in. Helicopter involvement too, tipsters are telling us.
12:33 PM: Our crew has arrived in the area and has confirmed the same thing – no info on what kind of warrant (except that it’s for a felony case). The ground search includes a K-9 team.
Just published on SPD Blotter by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee – news that a West Seattle murder case dating back to 1984 is now closed. 36-year-old Michael Vanderpool was shot and killed in an alley in Highland Park. An SPD detective reviewing cold-case files this summer – who says, “We want to make it clear to suspects, we never give up” – tracked down witnesses and determined who the killer was. Read the whole story on SPD Blotter here.
9:21 AM: If you’ve noticed police near/inside Lincoln Park this morning – we’ve just found out what the search is about. We started looking into it after a texted tip (thank you!) about police near 47th and Othello. We were unable to get more information at the scene but just reached SPD media-relations Det. Mark Jamieson by phone; he tells WSB, that’s where a resident reported seeing someone break into a neighbor’s house. They told police they saw someone come out of the house “carrying something” and then heading into the park. Officers called for a K-9, who picked up a track and has been helping search – no word of an arrest so far, but as of just before 9 am, according to scanner traffic, they’re still searching.
3:39 PM: Just checked with SPD. No arrest in this case so far. (If you have any info – it’s 16-334518.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Ryan Overland‘s family is struggling to make sense of the crash that killed him.
The 39-year-old man who died after a bizarre motorcycle crash Saturday night (WSB coverage here) was so experienced, they say, there must have been some factor beyond rider error. They are hoping witnesses will come forward.
Police tell us only that the investigation is ongoing. The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad spent hours at two scenes related to the crash on Saturday night: Mr. Overland was found on S. Spokane Street north of East Marginal Way. He had fallen from the elevated roadway above – the ramp from Southbound Highway 99 to the westbound West Seattle Bridge. After his fall, his riderless motorcycle continued onto the bridge and finally stopped against the median, on the shoulder of the left lane. WSB commenters described the startling scene.
His family says Mr. Overland died at 1:30 am Sunday, about six hours after the crash. He did not live in West Seattle but was headed to visit a friend who lives on Alki. That’s according to his brother Casey Knox, who tells WSB that Mr. Overland worked as a cancer-research scientist in the private sector: “He loved what he did, always trying to make a difference in the medical field.” The family is raising money for funeral expenses via GoFundMe.
Trying to find answers is even more of a challenge. Says Knox: “We have had little-to-no contact with the police, as they haven’t received too much information about the incident, other than what was present. Trying to find out information seems impossible, but, I think this will help provide closure to many of us that were close to him. We all know how great of a rider he was, very defensive and always aware of his surroundings.” Knox says his brother taught him how to ride, and they both had traveled that same route any times before.
If you have any information that might help the investigation, TCIS detectives are at 206-684-8923; you can refer to the SPD incident number, 2016-328892.
9:56 AM: Thanks for the tips. In addition to the regular closure of California between Alaska and Oregon for the weekly West Seattle Farmers’ Market, half a block of Alaska west of California is also closed – for a police investigation. It involves someone who died by the bus stop on the south side of Alaska; the Medical Examiner has just arrived for the body. Police will tell us only that the person who died was male. This started with a medical call about an hour ago. That’s all we know so far – more as we get it.
10:08 AM: One thing we can say – this is not a homicide investigation. While the official cause of death and ID will come from the Medical Examiner, they’re already here to remove the body – which wouldn’t happen this soon if it were a crime investigation. The tape has come down and SW Alaska has reopened.
If you’re wondering what Seattle Police are doing in Schmitz Park … they are investigating the discovery of a body not far from the Admiral Way entrance. The person was reported to have a gunshot wound but police and the Medical Examiner (who just arrived) are investigating to confirm whether it’s suicide, and when it happened – the person clearly had been dead for a while, as there was not a major medical callout, just one SFD crew, which has long since departed. Our crew at the park talked to officers but there’s no further information about the person who died. We did confirm that the park remains open.
1:57 PM: Sorry it took a while to find out why the helicopter was over Morgan Junction, but Guardian One itself just solved the mystery, tweeting – after leaving the area – that it was helping SPD with a car-prowl suspect who has since been “detained in Lincoln Park.” We’re now seeing police along Fauntleroy toward the park’s north end and hope to ask them for a little more information. (P.S. Thanks for all the texts and calls.)
2:10 PM: Just talked with police by the park. They tell us it was reported as a car prowl in the 7000 block of California SW and they tracked the suspect to the park. (Our photo was taken as they placed him in a police vehicle.) Guardian One wasn’t called out specifically for this – but happened to be in the area and asked if they’d like some help. Police are still looking for possible car-prowl loot the alleged prowler might have ditched in the area.