West Seattle, Washington
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.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The 34th DDs also heard from three candidates in the 7th Congressional District race – King County Council chair Joe McDermott, the group’s primary-election endorsee, who came in third and will not be advancing to the general, and the two candidates who will, State Sen. Pramila Jayapal and State Rep. Brady Piñero Walkinshaw. Video of all three, later in our story.
First, the panel (update: here’s the video):
On the policing panel were activist Bobby Alexander, retired judge and Office of Professional Accountability auditor Anne Levinson, Seattle Community Police Commission executive diredctor Fe Lopez, White Center Community Development Association executive director Sili Savusa, and King County Sheriff John Urquhart. Moderator was the 34th DDs’ state committeeman Chris Porter.Read More
Thanks for the tips about a big police response at the AM/PM store at Delridge/Orchard. We just went over to find out what was happening. We’re told two people got into a fight right outside the store; one was hurt and had to be taken to the hospital. No robbery involved, just a fight/assault, police say. The store is closed temporarily while officers talk with witnesses inside and outside of the store, but the gas station remains open.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:09 PM: In West Seattle Crime Watch today:
CAR THIEF, ARRESTED: We received a couple questions about police in Highland Park around 3 am. Just in from SPD Blotter, the details:
On August 4th, at approximately 2:00 am, Officer Bryan Grozav took a report of a stolen 2006 Subaru Legacy. As he was leaving the scene after taking the report, Grozav saw the stolen Subaru driving on South Roxbury Street. The officer attempted to follow the car, but it quickly drove off. About 10 minutes later, Sergeant Tamara Floyd saw the Subaru on Roxbury driving at a high rate of speed. The Subaru was emitting a strong odor, caused by the driver burning the clutch.
At about 2:40 am, Officer Sam Specht was in the area of 9th Avenue SW and SW Trenton Street when he noticed the strong odor of a vehicle’s burning clutch. The officer saw the stolen car drive into an alley near 11th Ave SW. The officer located the unoccupied stolen Subaru in the alley and requested a K9 team to respond and additional officers for containment.
K9 Officer Mark Wong and Police Dog Ziva responded and began to track from the stolen car. They tracked the suspect for several blocks until they reached a garage with an open door in the 1000 block of SW Portland Street. Officers entered the garage and found the suspect hiding behind the door. The suspect was arrested without incident.
The vehicle’s owner responded to the scene and took possession of his Subaru. The 37-year-old suspect was later booked into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft.
(added) Just took a quick look at the suspect’s history; this is his fourth time in King County Jail in just under a year.
(back to original report) Our next report is also from Highland Park:
STOLEN CAR, FOUND: Trina shared photos of this Honda Accord, saying it “has clearly been stolen and dropped on my block”:
She continued, “The car looks like it’s been hotwired; the driver’s door has been cracked like they went for a joy ride and dropped and ran. The car is at the 7900 block of 5th Ave SW. It’s been there a couple days and no one on the block knows about it.” As soon as we saw the photos, we looked up the license plate via SPD’s @getyourcarback Twitter feed of Seattle stolen-car reports – and there it was, stolen July 31st. Whether stolen from West Seattle or elsewhere, we don’t know, as @getyourcarback still does not include any sort of location information (we’ve begged!), which is why reader reports are so important. Meantime, we asked Trina to let police know, if she hasn’t already … and if you know whose car this is, let them know it’s been found!
STOLEN VAN: Frank‘s 2000 gray/green Honda Odyssey van was stolen in The Junction last Sunday night/Monday morning. WA plate APT5575 – call 911 if you see it.
FOUND BIKE: Lori found this in her yard along an alley near 27th SW/SW Elmgrove:
ADDED 1:22 PM – BURGLARY: Just in from Cynthia:
I am in the 7800 block of 39th Ave SW – Gatewood; break-in, back door – broke glass in door; white male, plaid shorts and tool belt. Happened around 11:45am…. took off out back down the alley.
Police have been notified.
11:08 PM: Thanks for the texts about suspected gunfire heard near Lincoln Park; we are just uphill and with windows open, we heard it too. Per scanner, police have been dispatched to check the area. If you saw anything, be sure to let them know. No report of any victim(s) so far; two people have mentioned hearing a vehicle “peeling away,” and we’re just now hearing on the scanner that someone by the ferry terminal has told police they believe the suspected shots came from “the woods.”
11:24 PM: In case you see Seattle Fire Engine 37 has been dispatched to Lincoln Park but the call isn’t related to gunfire, it’s a request for help in “extinguishing a campfire.” Also via scanner, police are saying they were told that “a group of high-schoolers was partying in the park” and “scattered” about the same time the gunfire was heard.
12:25 AM: We’ve confirmed with Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams that casings were found. No injuries reported. No other details right now – he’s busy with officers working some other incidents (not related that we know of, but we’re checking; thanks for all the tips).
2:04 PM: More info from Lt. Williams: “Thirteen .40 caliber shell casings recovered. No known injuries or damage.” The gunfire was believed to be associated with a “party” in the woods at Lincoln Park.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:50 PM THURSDAY: We often publish photos of bicycles found around West Seattle, likely stolen and dumped. Most of the time, those photos are from readers. Tonight, the photos are from Seattle Police. Detective Scotty Bach says, “On Monday, we arrested a couple of criminals in a stolen vehicle. They had these two bicycles which were likely stolen near the Morgan Junction.” He’s hoping to find the owner(s): “To claim, email email@example.com – I will need the owner to provide a police report number, serial number or receipt of purchase.”
UPDATE, 10:26 AM FRIDAY: Det. Bach says this report has led police to “the owner of the red Cervelo. The bicycle was stolen from a vehicle in the 7400 block of California Ave SW. We are still looking for the owner of the white Pinarello.”