West Seattle, Washington
From last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct, last one until September:
CAPTAIN’S BRIEFING: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis opened with the declaration that a “grandiose state of car prowling is happening in our neck of the woods” – The Junction, Highland Park, and South Park are the hardest-hit spots right now. He implored people to PLEASE not leave ANYTHING in their cars – if thieves stop scoring stuff, they’ll stop trying. “We don’t want to make it lucrative for these guys to keep doing what they’re doing.” Without naming names, he mentioned that some prolific suspects have been caught. “We want to keep the pressure up throughout the whole summer.”
He said the shots-fired issues are under scrutiny as well. “Some of them have a nexus toward certain houses, or friends that they visit … these guys are riding cars, coming from (different areas, north to east to south) … if you hear it, make sure you call it in, so we can get the appropriate types of response out there.” Arrests tend to “make a lot of that activity go away,” he said. “Timely and accurate reporting is the key to a lot of this stuff … sometimes we don’t get the information until maybe the next day, which is not good enough … it’s a lot harder than … right when that stuff is happening. Load 911 up so they can get all that good information out to our officers.” He said that things in Puget Ridge/Pigeon Point had quieted down – traffic-wise as well – after emphasis patrols. One PR resident verified that. Capt. Davis said that with the 4th of July approaching, there’ll be some fireworks/gunshots confusing, but still call it in. “Sometimes we get there and it is fireworks … sometimes we get there and we find shell casings … exercise due diligence, make that 911 call.”
Next topic, burglaries: Read More
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports to share this afternoon. First, posted by SPD Blotter‘s Jonah Spangenthal-Lee:
A complaint about a sleeping passenger on a shuttle bus Wednesday led police to arrest an armed felon with a stolen handgun.
Officers Michael Sudduth and Todd Wiebke boarded the bus in the 1600 block of Harbor Avenue Southwest around 3:15 PM, approached the slumbering suspect and asked him to leave. The man waved them off and went back to sleep.
Officer Wiebke once again tried to rouse the man, shaking his shoulder, but the man stirred only stirred enough to roll over onto his side, revealing a handgun in his waistband.
Officers quickly arrested the man and took his gun. Although someone had tried to destroy the gun’s serial number, officers were still able to decipher it, leading them to discover the weapon was reported stolen last year in Kent. Police also learned the suspect is a convicted felon, unable to legally possess firearms.
Police booked the man into the King County Jail for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property.
The suspect, 28, is still in jail as of this hour; we’re checking to see if he has a bail hearing this afternoon, and will update with any additional information. (4:59 PM UPDATE: His bail is set at $75,000. His last known address, as listed on documents submitted for the hearing, was in White Center; the jail register shows this is his fourth booking in just under a year, following bookings for drug cases, an assault case, and at least one failure-to-appear warrant.)
Second, a followup to the case of the missing art, reported here last week – art that was supposed to be shipped back to local artist Rebecca Woodhouse after a California exhibit instead was labeled with someone else’s name; that person picked it up and did not respond to repeated inquiries, so police considered it theft (yes, state law says that can include misdelivered items).
Rebecca tells us finally heard from a relative of the man who picked up her art – and learned he’s been in jail since a week after the art was picked up on May 16th. This week, the detective on her case retrieved it and got it back to her; one box had been opened, she said, but the artwork was intact and undamaged.
10:03 AM: Thanks for the tips about a big police response at Cal-Mor Circle in the 6400 block of California SW. Officers responded to a report of a gunshot in the building. No reports about any victim(s) so far. But SPD confirms SWAT is being called out. We are at the scene and working to find out more.
10:16 AM: Some of the building’s residents have been evacuated. Also, police are closing off the California/Fauntleroy intersection.
10:29 AM: Avoid the area – California is blocked off between Holly and Graham, Fauntleroy about one block each side of California, and the side streets you’ll be detoured onto are mostly one lane because of parking on both sides.
By the way, if you’re seeing/hearing the helicopter, it’s TV, not law enforcement.
10:42 AM: To be clear (in response to questions in comments), there is no one “on the loose” or being sought here. Police have confirmed that the person they are focused on, who they believe fired a shot, and who they’ve apparently had contact with before, is in his apartment. Again, please stay away from California/Fauntleroy because police have it blocked off until this is resolved.
10:57 AM: The person is in custody. The roads will be reopened shortly. No injuries reported.
11:18 AM: Bus reroutes (128, C Line) also lifted. We’re still at the scene waiting to ask police a few more questions.
11:23 AM: The person who was taken into custody will be taken to Harborview Medical Center to be evaluated. Meantime, the building’s residents are being allowed back into their apartments. We don’t know yet if a gun was found.
1:44 PM: We just checked back with SPD. So far, no gun or related evidence found, but the incident “remains under investigation.” (Also, we’ve added a few more of our photos from this morning.)
The Seattle Police Department is now accepting applications for the 2016 fall SPD Community Police Academy. The Academy will start on Thursday, September 8th and will meet once a week for eleven consecutive Thursday evenings, 5:30 – 9:30 pm, ending on Thursday, November 17th, 2016. Participation is free.
The Community Police Academy is an eleven-week program designed to educate community members about the operations of the Seattle Police Department, while also giving the Department an opportunity to obtain valuable feedback from the community. The purpose of the Community Police Academy is to increase understanding between the Seattle Police Department and the community members of Seattle through education and interaction.
Community participants will become familiar with various facets of the Seattle Police Department and gain insight into law enforcement’s role in the criminal justice system and the daily work of police employees. With increased understanding, Seattle’s community and police can work together and achieve realistic solutions to neighborhood problems relating to crime, fear of crime, and neighborhood decay. It is hoped that increasing community awareness will respond to some of the myths and images of law enforcement and provide a realistic view of police procedures.
If you are interested in applying, please go here. When filling out the application, please include a copy of your Driver’s License. Space is limited and applications are processed on a first come, first serve basis. The application deadline is Friday, July 29, 2016.
To apply, you have to be at least 18 years old.
Just in from Seattle Police, via SPD Blotter:
Police arrested a 16-year-old Friday in West Seattle after he reportedly showed off a stolen handgun to his friends before trying to ditch it near a school.
Just before 9:30 AM, police received a report that the suspect was showing off a handgun to a group of teenagers in the 8600 block of 24th Avenue SW and SW Cloverdale. According to a 911 caller, the suspect had flashed a handgun in his waistband, pulled out the clip and then pulled the trigger of the empty weapon.
Police notified nearby Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School about the incident and began searching for the 16-year-old. Within nine minutes of the initial call, officers found the gun stashed in some bushes in the 8400 block of 26th Avenue SW and discovered it has been reported stolen in Snohomish County. Police found and arrested the 16-year-old minutes later and booked him into the King County Youth Service Center for unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police investigated a report of gunfire at 15th and Roxbury after 5 pm tonight; we found out about it after a texter (thank you) reported multiple police cars heading south. Police say witnesses told them that two men exchanged words and “gang signs”; one fired a shot at a car, possibly an Acura, that subsequently took off. No injuries reported, and no arrests so far.
Thanks to the texter who tipped us about police with “armored vehicles” in the 8800 block of 14th SW. We got there just as they were wrapping up; turned out to be Bellevue Police again, saying they could only tell us they were “serving a warrant.” You might recall our report about BPD at another Highland Park location (9400 block of 9th SW) back in April; two days later, they announced that was linked to an “ID theft ring.” We just talked to BPD’s PIO and he said he does NOT believe this investigation is related to that one, but he can’t comment further than to say it was a “search warrant … safely completed” by Bellevue SWAT officers and “investigators.”
6:52 PM: We hope you won’t need this info, but in case you do, just tweeted by Seattle Police: “We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with the nonemergency line. Please call 206-583-2111 or 911 if you need assistance.”
11:18 PM: As of about an hour ago, the problem is fixed, SPD tweeted, so you can use the non-emergency line again – 206-625-5011 – if you need to. But if something is happening NOW, police always urge, call 911.
7:21 PM: A big emergency response is headed to the 6000 block of High Point Drive for an “assault with weapons” call. We’re headed there to find out more; updates to come.
7:38 PM: Seattle Fire has dispatched a chaplain; indications so far at the scene are that this might be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. SPD described the victim on Twitter as “a teen.”
7:42 PM: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith confirms that, and says the victim did not survive.
8:27 AM THURSDAY: SPD’s Det. Patrick Michaud confirms this morning that police believe the shot was accidentally fired. Final ruling will be up to the Medical Examiner, as always. The victim was a 17-year-old boy.
A few more details this afternoon about two incidents mentioned here late Saturday/early Sunday, after we asked Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith about both:
DELRIDGE SHOOTING: As reported here early Sunday, a man showed up at Harborview Medical Center saying he had been shot near his residence in the 4700 block of Delridge Way SW. Lt. Smith says the victim drives a “party bus” and reported parking it near his residence, then being approached by someone while walking home, and getting into an argument. During the clash, he told police, the other man pulled out a gun and shot him in the left thigh. No arrest so far.
HIGH POINT GUNFIRE: We originally reported on this late Saturday night. Multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunshots; police quickly traced it to the 6500 block of Sylvan Way SW, and linked it to an earlier 911 call in which someone said their neighbor had threatened to shoot them. Near the residence where that happened, Lt. Smith says, they found 14 shell casings from what might have been two different 9mm guns. No injuries; no arrests so far.
Thanks to Mike for the tip about the fire/police response at 53rd and Alki: We’ve confirmed with police at the scene that a car and motorcycle collided, and the motorcycle rider was hurt – not major injuries, though, and the rider is going to the hospital via private ambulance.
We don’t have details on circumstances – but Mike says witnesses were reporting that the driver made a U-turn in front of the rider, who couldn’t stop in time. Police were awaiting a tow before clearing the scene.
4:53 PM: In case you’re noticing a big police response at Roxhill Park right now: Police converged on the park after a report of someone seen with a gun. They are now talking with a group of at least half a dozen people. We have a crew in the area; not sure how much we will be able to find out, but in case you saw all this, that’s what’s happening. No gunfire reported.
5:01 PM: Just talked with police at the park: “Very realistic-looking pellet gun” is what caught the eye of the person who called 911. The group, most if not all teenagers, was questioned and released.
1:21 PM: If you’ve seen/heard the big emergency response to 42nd/Alaska, it’s an “assault with weapons” call. We’re en route, no details yet, except that the SFD response has been scaled back. More to come.
1:36 PM: A private ambulance was called to Jefferson Square; it and SFD have left and the SFD call on this has closed. A patrol car is still there and we’re hoping to find officers to ask what this was about. Whatever it was, apparently not major.
1:49 PM: Finally talked to officers and got a bit of information. The victim was a man who was slashed in the arm with a boxcutter. He couldn’t tell them anything about who did it or why.
3:36 PM: A commenter says the victim reported trying to stop shoplifters before getting slashed.
If you saw police activity in the Luna Park area late this morning, here’s what it was about: A resident of 30th SW came face-to-face with a burglar, and says police subsequently made an arrest. Here’s the report she sent us tonight:
This morning a man broke into my home – with my dog out and about. He used a beer bottle to smash open a window, reach in and unlock it. I’m by Luna Park Cafe.
He completely ransacked my home and must have been here for a while. He was quite brazen.
He set off my fire panic button, which is how I was alerted at work because the fire dept was on their way to my home. He then turned off and stole the system.
He stayed somewhere in the house while my landlord and firemen came in, but they didn’t check out the entire house. Shortly thereafter, I showed up and entered my home to find it destroyed and my dog frantic. I figured no one would be left in the house since the firemen had been there (not knowing they didn’t check the whole house) and ended up confronting a man in my bedroom. Luckily he left without a fight.. and apologized instead while picking up his (MY) things, when I told him to leave.
The SPD arrived quickly with K9 and caught him. Thank goodness for that panic button!
Please keep an eye out for your neighbors!
10:13 PM: Police are checking reports of possible gunshots heard just before 10 pm. We heard the dispatch sending officers to an area north of Madison Middle School, and we also received a message from someone several blocks north of that report. No victims have been reported, and we haven’t heard anything further on the dispatch, but wanted to make note. Police say they want to hear from anyone who thinks they hear gunfire – the more reports they get, even if your location/direction information is vague, the better the chance they can find evidence, if any.
12:14 AM: We haven’t reached police to determine whether they found evidence of gunshots, fireworks, or none of the above – but commenter Mike reports seeing fireworks in the area.
12:57 PM: We’re getting word of a big Seattle Police response near Highland Park Way and Holden right now – you might see the Guardian One helicopter helping with the search too. SPD tells us it’s a foot pursuit of someone who ran from police, a possible suspect in a package theft. We’re on the way to find out more.
1 PM: We’re not there yet but hearing via scanner that the suspect might be in custody.
1:14 PM: About all we can verify is that the search is over – helicopter left and police cleared just as we were running up – had to park on the other side of Holden and traffic was too jammed for an easy crossing. Will follow up shortly with media relations in hopes their system has the info.
12:35 AM: If you’re seeing/hearing Guardian One in the White Center/Highland Park area – there’s a search under way related to a shooting reported at 15th and Roxbury.
12:41 AM: In medical communications between emergency personnel, the victim is described as a man around 40 years old who has been shot once in the leg. At least one armed suspect was reported to have fled eastbound along Roxbury. The victim is about to be taken to Harborview via Seattle Fire Medic 32.
1:43 AM: As we noted in comments, this is the third 15th/Roxbury shooting in less than a month, all involving someone getting shot in the leg. The ground search was still under way as of our quick check of the area a little while ago, with both SPD and KCSO involved. The 15th/Roxbury gas station/mini-mart appears to have been the scene, at least judging by the stringing of crime-scene tape (photo added above).
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Summary and added info from King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West:
On Saturday morning just after midnight we responded to a shooting at the White Center Mini Mart at 1505 Roxbury.
When we arrived we found a 40 year old Seattle man on the east side of the building shot in the upper thigh. Witnesses said there may have been a verbal altercation between the victim and 3 males just prior to the shooting and it is believed one of the males shot the victim.
The 3 were last seen running from the scene and were described as:
#1. Black male, late teens to early 20’s, approximately 5’10”, stocky build, dark smooth skin, a 4”afro, last seen wearing a dark blue Adidas jogging suit jacket, dark colored jeans and white tennis shoes.
#2. Black male, late teens to early 20’s, approximately 5’10”, thin build, with a “short afro,” last seen wearing a black and white checkered flannel shirt that appeared to be insulated, dark blue jeans and red tennis shoes. He was also wearing green and yellow billed baseball cap.
#3. Black male, late teens to early 20’s, approximately 5’10”, thin build, “short afro,” last seen wearing a dark colored sweater, pinstriped grey or beige khaki’s and white tennis shoes.
The victim was taken to Harborview in serious condition.
8:21 PM: Thanks for the tips. Guardian 1 is helping look for several people reported to be in Schmitz Park. We do not know why yet but will be there momentarily to look for officers to ask on the ground.
8:27 PM: We just arrived at Admiral Way park entrance; 3 SPD cars here. Looking for officers to get info.
8:34 PM: A park visitor reported seeing someone with a gun. But the person who called 911 was gone and didn’t give a description. No gunfire, no victim(s). The ground and air search turned up nothing, so it’s over now.
First update is from a mayoral announcement this afternoon:
NO PUBLIC-SAFETY LEVY, SAYS MAYOR: Tax-watchers have long voiced suspicion that a city public-safety levy was on the horizon. Today, in an announcement about how SPD’s new North Precinct would be funded, Mayor Murray announced outright that he would not be proposing a public-safety levy this year or next. The announcement says that’s because the city’s Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) income remains “strong.” Read the announcement here. (It does not mention the funding plan for additional SPD hires the mayor recently promised.)
Second update is a followup on a story we reported earlier this week:
911 CENTER RENOVATIONS FOLLOWUP: On Wednesday, we reported on the renovations that SPD says have temporarily reduced the number of lines they have for dealing with 911 calls. We couldn’t find information about the project online, so we asked the city’s Finance and Administrative Services Department. Spokesperson Julie Moore explained that no bidding information was available online because “this project did not go through the traditional bidding process. We used the Job Order Contracting (JOC) process, which per RCW 39.10.420-460, allows the City to issue work orders directly to a JOC prime contractor for facility and utility construction projects not exceeding $350,000.” FAS is handling part of the project, while the equipment is being handled by SPD. So Moore is speaking only for the construction work, which she explains “is secondary but necessary to prepare the space for the main intent of the project – replacing the existing 38 dispatch and eight training/back-up consoles with new consoles and equipment. Additional equipment upgrades include large display monitors and software upgrades, all in collaboration and with support from King County E9-1-1, Seattle IT and several City and County service providers. The work is contained in the main call center/dispatch room, training room and nearby hallways on the 2nd floor of the West Precinct Seattle Police Department 911 Communications Center. FAS’ portion of the project is estimated at $348,000 and is being completed by Saybr Contractors, Inc. (a WMBE firm).” She says the scope of the work includes:
· Revise electrical to support new consoles.
· Replace static-dissipative carpet.
· Add new grounding to meet current radio system requirements.
· Add wall supports and electrical for new wall-mounted monitors.
· Add supervisor/chief dispatcher platform.
The first phase of the work updated the training area, and Moore says that was finished by March 11th. What’s under way now, updating the main call-center area for 38 new consoles, started on March 14th and is supposed to be done by the end of May. In the meantime, Moore says, 911 calltakers have been “relocated to the Fire Alarm Center co-located with the City’s Emergency Operations Center/Fire Station 10 at 400 S. Washington St.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Since we talk about crime/safety issues often, we also often hear about people’s experiences with calling for help when something happens. Often the discussion is about interaction with calltakers/dispatchers and why they seem curt sometimes; we’ve covered community-group discussions about how 911 works and best practices for citizens calling something in (you can find that info online here).
But lately, anecdotally, we’ve heard more about people being on hold waiting to talk to someone – and today, we’ve found out a likely factor: SPD’s Communications Center – “the primary answering point for all police, fire, and medical emergencies within the city limits” – is not in its usual quarters.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Gunfire was the first thing our area’s top law enforcer brought up as tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting began.
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis opened the meeting with his crime-trends briefing, as usual. “As of lately, there’s been a lot of shots-fired incidents, there’s reasons behind it … it is alarming,” and community members “are quite tired, and I don’t blame them one bit.”
Once shots are reported, “we do take them very seriously, our officers go out and investigate … if there’s physical evidence that can be confiscated and taken to a lab, we do that .. there’s a whole unit that does that to see if there’s a nexus between different areas of the city (and other cities). … There’s shots-fired evidence we can link to various crimes throughout the area.” According to Capt. Davis, gangs and drugs are what’s most often involved “and we’re quickly putting together the pieces as to who’s who.”
He mentioned one particular trouble spot – a mile-plus of 16th SW, from the 6900 through 9000 block. South Park (which also is served by the SW Precinct) is being plagued by gunfire incidents, too, and so, he said, patrols have been stepped up, even including SWAT officers and the Anti-Crime Team. But they can’t patrol around the clock, he warned: “Obviously these individuals are smart enough to know if you’re shooting when police are around, you’re probably going to get caught … I wish I had enough officers to have out there 24/7 but that’s not the case.”
A resident of 21st SW in Puget Ridge spoke up at this point to say she had heard gunshots for three nights.
11:28 AM: Thanks to the person who tipped us about this (text/call 206-293-6302, 24/7): The guns-drawn police response in the 9400 block of 9th SW in south Highland Park is a Bellevue Police case, with Seattle Police assisting. We were told at the scene that it involves a Bellevue warrant related to auto theft. That’s all we know so far, but we’re checking with BPD and will update later if we find out anything more.
6:37 PM: We just heard back from BPD’s public-information officer, who says, “I can confirm that investigators with our Department’s Special Enforcement Team (SET) were in that area investigating a vehicle theft and serving a search warrant on a residence.” Officer Seth Tyler added background on the SET, saying that it “addresses specific types of repeat crimes with an innovative, proactive approach. The team targets prolific, active criminals in an effort to lower the overall rate of reported crime. The team conducts plainclothes surveillance of targeted areas and surveillance of known active criminals and then coordinates with the King County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that arrested suspects remain in custody. Additionally, SET works frequently with the investigative units of other agencies to help address multijurisdictional offenders.”
ADDED THURSDAY: More info from Bellevue PD – we’re publishing a separate followup.