West Seattle, Washington
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.
2:28 PM: If you’ve seen the police presence on Atlas Drive and, below it, in/around the 5900 block of Beach Drive – officers are searching for at least one suspected prowler/burglar. More to come.
2:38 PM: Our crew has arrived in the area and learned from a sergeant at the scene that the suspect(s) abandoned a car that’s been confirmed as stolen. A K-9 team is searching on Atlas and we can’t get close enough to verify, but the scanner described the vehicle as a silver Honda CR-V. Police also have found a knife believed to have been dropped by the/a suspect as they fled downhill from Atlas to Beach.
2:52 PM: A suspect is now in custody, found on Beach Drive (photo added below):
ADDED 5:37 PM: The car was towed to the SPD evidence facility in SODO. Thanks to James for the photo:
New information today about the crab-truck crash that closed the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct for hours on Monday (WSB coverage here): Seattle Police say the driver is expected to be cited for negligent driving – going too fast and making an “unsafe lane change” toward the south end of the elevated section. Fine: $550, says SDOT, whose Commercial Vehicle Enforcement section is taking the lead on the investigation; so far, we’re told, it appears to have been strictly driver error, not a problem with the truck’s load. What happened to those spilled boxes of crab? Basically, SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb told us, it had to be discarded – either to garbage or compost – once it had fallen onto a roadway, there’s no way to verify it’s safe enough even to donate, let alone sell; the city is “not in the business of subjecting someone to (potentially) contaminated goods.” And, unlike the fish-truck crash that blocked southbound 99 almost exactly one year ago, salvaging the load was not a priority – clearing the road was. “Our efforts were centered on just getting (the truck) off (the roadway),” Whitcomb stressed. This incident was a big test of the plan the city announced last August, four-plus months after the fish-truck crash exposed glaring flaws in coordination between city agencies like SDOT and SPD, among other things.
P.S. Guard-rail repairs will close the right NB lane at Monday’s crash scene for a while tonight, starting around 7:30 pm, per WSDOT.
A head-turning sight along the Lincoln Park shore this morning – thanks to the texter who shared photos of a Seattle Police Mounted Patrol officer. The police horses are based here in West Seattle, a few miles east, alongside Westcrest Park in Highland Park.
5 PM: Just got a phone call from a reader who says her 120 bus to downtown has a possibly lost child on board, a toddler-age boy who was on the sidewalk on the north end of Delridge. The driver brought the child on board and police apparently will meet them downtown. If you know of someone looking for a child in that area, be sure they call 911.
8:24 PM: Commenter and e-mail have confirmed that this is resolved, adding: “Child and family are fine. Thanks to SPD and and Metro for resolving this so quickly.”
As previewed during Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s visit to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network last night (WSB coverage here), the new police-staffing survey was reviewed by a City Council committee today.
The video above shows the meeting of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee, chaired by West Seattle-residing at-large Councilmember Lorena González. While Herbold isn’t a member of the committee, any councilmember is welcome to join any committee meeting, so she was there today to bring up some questions.
First, the report itself – you can download the slide deck here. Previews published last Friday mentioned that it calls for SPD to add more officers, but the numbers are just part of what was discussed.
SPD and city-budget managers who led the meeting offered frequent caveats that the 120+-page report – which was made public months later than expected – doesn’t necessarily reflect current staffing levels or philosophies. For example, they said, the concept of “responding to Priority 1 calls within 7 minutes, 90 percent of the time” might deserve a further breakdown – splitting up types of what are now considered Priority 1 calls, between what’s happening now (like a burglary in progress) and what could probably wait (someone who died at home). Also, what about Priority 2, 3, 4 calls – are the current labels for each type of call really the way SPD views and wants to respond to it?
Also, as Herbold had mentioned last night, SPD has a goal of splitting its time between proactive duties and reactive duties. The report, it was pointed out, calls investigations “proactive,” but that might not be how SPD sees them. Councilmember González said she agreed with Herbold that this is a key point of analyzing and evolving SPD operations. Herbold said that some granularity in staffing assignment, such as bicycle patrols, might help boost the proactivity.
Meantime, the briefers said, while SPD might choose to maintain the scheduling of three 9-hour shifts in each day, the overlap might be worth changing – if they overlap an hour instead of a half-hour, that “could provide better coverage.”
In all, the report was described as more of a “jumping-off point” than a blueprint for where SPD should be going. And in the meantime, it’s “hiring at an aggressive rate, a fast clip,” the councilmembers were told; Herbold said more use of civilian personnel might help with the challenges posed by the time-consuming process of getting sworn personnel on board.
What’s next? SPD managers said they want to come up with their own model for staffing and deployment.
In case you heard what sounded like possible gunshots just after 8 pm – police have been investigating but so far, no victim and no word of any gunfire evidence found. We’ve heard from people in North Delridge and Puget Ridge who called 911 to report what they heard (police have said again at recent community meetings, that’s what they want you to do, even if you’re not sure what you heard or which direction you’ve heard it from). Just mentioning it in case you heard it and were wondering.
Exactly two months ago today, Mayor Murray announced two “safe lots” would be set up for RV/vehicle campers within one month, one in Ballard, and one at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. As we’ve been reporting, the local one is more or less on hold. And we’ve continued to learn more about the situation, including the latest community-council briefing by Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. Asked about the West Seattle RV-camper situation at Thursday night’s Alki Community Council meeting, he explained a site we’ve been asked about lately, on the west side of Myers Way a few blocks south of Olson:
RVs that are awaiting the “safe lot,” said Lt. Smith, are “staged” at the Myers Way spot. (At another recent meeting, he had said police had found nine RVs eligible for the future “safe lot,” which is more than were at Myers yesterday/today.) He explained that the campers there “turned out to be very cooperative” and have been cleaning up – they’ve used city-supplied garbage bags for that. Some RVs in the area have been towed, though – making the distinction between “cooperative” and towable, Lt. Smith said, “”If it’s a criminal enterprise, they’re not homeless, and that’s our interpretation unless we’re told otherwise.” They’re not towing those who seem to be truly homeless, but they are offering services. “If they’re honestly trying to make an effort, we’re going to provide every service we can. … I hate to paint all of them with the same brush – you meet a broad spectrum of people living in the RVs, as you do when you’re walking down the street.”
But SPD is still wondering when the “safe lot” will be cleared to open – they’re waiting on “downtown” to give the word. The Human Services Department told WSB three weeks ago that it’s waiting until it can benefit from “lessons learned” at the Ballard lot, which did open a month after the mayor’s declaration. But that lot is maxed out, Lt. Smith noted, with 16 RVs at last check determined to be the most it could hold. That’s about how many we counted, taking a quick look while passing through Ballard last weekend:
That’s less than half what the city had originally said they’d hoped the Ballard lot would hold.
Meantime, some at the ACC meeting thought RV residents might need some help with how and where to store their belongings, and offered ideas – Lt. Smith suggested they talk to both the mayor and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Meantime, the SW Precinct’s Community Police Team remains the primary point of contact for the local RV/encampment issues.
2:59 PM: Thanks for the tips about the police activity south of Fairmount Ravine, including SWAT officers. So far, all we’ve been able to find out is that they’re serving a warrant – that’s what we learned at the scene. What kind of warrant, we haven’t been able to find out yet, aside from that it’s not any kind of active just-happened-crime type of incident – we’ll update with anything more we do find out.
6:17 PM: We’ve just learned from police that this was a “narcotics search warrant” case. We may yet find out even more, but for starters, that’s an added detail.
Car prowls remain our area’s biggest crime problem – we hear that every time someone from SPD speaks at a community meeting, and we see it in the reader reports we receive and publish. So tonight, the Southwest Precinct is sharing a “crime prevention bulletin” one-sheet with advice on preventing/deterring/reporting car prowls. Click the image above, or go here, for the full-size PDF version; use the Share This button below to e-mail or otherwise circulate it.
P.S. Questions/concerns about crime in your neighborhood? Bring them to the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the precinct (2300 SW Webster) next Tuesday, 7 pm.
Just back from checking out a tip (thank you!) about a major police response at 11th SW and SW Barton, where officers tell us they are investigating another case of gunfire. A bullet fired from somewhere outside a house (not the one in the photo) went through a wall, reportedly into a bedroom. No one was hit or hurt. That’s all they could tell us so far; we’ll look for the report tomorrow to see what else they find out.
12:45 AM: Once again, police are investigating reports of possible gunfire on Puget Ridge. We’re hearing about it via text and scanner. No injuries reported but possible damage.
2:46 AM: We haven’t been able to reach police to find out if any evidence of gunfire was found, nor has anything we’ve monitored indicated one way or another. One call has been classified as a “disturbance.”
4:45 AM: Police are reported to be investigating gunfire in North Delridge. We heard from one person who heard something that sounded like shots around quarter till 4, and now a second person who says police found shell casings near Cottage Place and SW Edmunds [map]. No reports of injuries. We’re checking and will add anything more we find out.
5:22 AM: Police were gone by the time we arrived; we stopped by the precinct and confirmed that the original dispatch did come in with word of damage to vehicles in that area, as our second tipster mentioned, but we’ll have to get the official report later for further details.
12:47 PM: Just obtained the report from SPD. It says damage was done to three “party buses” (photo below) and a window at their owners’ residence, and “several” shell casings were found.
The owners told police they didn’t know of anyone who would target them but they did hear two males arguing out back before it happened. A nearby resident had told dispatchers of hearing three shots and seeing a red Cadillac SUV leaving the area. Police obtained surveillance video that might have recorded it.