West Seattle, Washington
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.”
2:55 PM: Police are in High Point right now searching for someone believed to be related to an incident they described on Twitter as starting with a “dispute/fight between drivers on the West Seattle Bridge.” One person was hurt and treated by Seattle Fire in The Triangle.
3 PM: We are near the scene a few blocks east of the High Point Library as more police continue to arrive.
3:01 PM: A person police were looking for is reported to be in custody, having emerged from a residence into which they say they saw the person go.
3:09 PM: Police were looking for a “mid-’90s Crown Victoria” and traced the car here, a lieutenant tells us.
He confirms they took one man into custody and that they believe he is “party to aggravated assault.”
3:14 PM: Talked to Southwest Precinct Capt. Pierre Davis near the scene. He says it apparently began with a “fender-bender” on the bridge; one person was attacked, and somebody showed a gun – possibly a rifle – before taking off, and that’s when they started tracking the suspect vehicle. He confirms there might have been others involved. (Added 9:48 pm – A reader texted this photo of the incident, which was at the east end of the westbound bridge – we don’t know what role in it the person seen outside the red car played:)
4:04 PM: That’s why police are still in High Point. If you’re heading home from work or elsewhere, the center of activity has been near 29th/Raymond, and you might find closed roads. SWAT is involved, too.
4:54 PM: More arrests, per this SPD Blotter report just published:
Officers arrested four men in the High Point neighborhood Wednesday after a motorist was injured in a suspected road rage incident on the West Seattle Bridge.
Witnesses called 911 around 2:15 PM and reported that a group of men had stopped their vehicle on the westbound side of the West Seattle Bridge, pulled a motorist from his vehicle and assaulted him and then fled. Witnesses also reported the suspects had been armed with a rifle or shotgun during the incident.
The victim, who chased after the suspects in his own vehicle, also called 911 following the assault provided information about the suspects.
Officers found the victim, who suffered a bloodied nose, and immediately called for Seattle Fire Department medics to treat his injuries.
Police found the suspects’ red Ford Crown Victoria in the 6000 block of High Point Dr. SW and surrounded a home. The four suspects eventually surrendered to police and were taken into custody for assault.
When Mayor Murray‘s Find It, Fix It Community Walk comes to the Westwood/Roxhill area next Monday (here’s the map and schedule), it will end at Roxhill Park, which got some extra cleanup attention today:
Southwest Precinct Community Police Team officers were joined by participants in an SPD-coordinated city summer youth employment program.
This area on the south side of Roxhill Park has been the scene of unauthorized camping as well as illegal dumping.
Items found and trucked away included a wheelchair, bicycle, sleeping bags, clothing, and furniture, as well as this drum set:
On site were CPT officers Jon Flores (above) and John O’Neil (below, talking with local community advocate Amanda Kay Helmick):
The cleanup ran from about 9:30 this morning until noon. The Find It, Fix It Walk starts at the Longfellow Creek P-Patch next Monday night at 6:30 and will head east, through Westwood and then to Roxhill.
A week ago, they shared the stage before the West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade:
This week, Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine plan separate appearances at two major West Seattle events.
Wednesday, the mayor will be at the 34th District Democrats‘ monthly meeting, 7 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW). The group’s official announcement says he’s set to spend an hour with the group, speaking and answering questions, 7:15-8:15. The meeting also will “consider additional endorsements for the August Primary Election, discuss the upcoming Casino Night fundraiser,” and more. Here’s the full agenda; here are the endorsements the 34th DDs have made so far. Before the meeting, an informal social hour at 6:30 pm will offer information “about the District’s hardworking local service non-profit organizations. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by renowned local chef Marvin Rosete and beverages will be available.”
Thursday, the county executive, who chairs the Sound Transit board, will speak to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch meeting about what West Seattle would get from ST3, which will be on your ballot in November. Here’s how to make a reservation for the luncheon, which starts at 11:30 am Thursday at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW).
Sent tonight by Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, a message for you:
In the wake of the recent officer-involved shootings across the country and the most recent tragedy resulting in the deaths of several law enforcement officers in Dallas Texas, we again find ourselves heartbroken and shaken to the core.
But in this time of bewilderment, shock and sadness, we find ourselves humbled and blessed to have a fantastic Seattle community that will not only continue to partner with their officers, but will also provide comfort, understanding and continuing dialog with hopes of strengthening the bond between their officers and the community.
Since the occurrence of the aforementioned incidents, our West Seattle community to include our local West Seattle media, has again shown us why they are world class. The undying compassion, support and partnership exhibited to your officers is and continues to be second to none. Your West Seattle officers are truly humbled, blessed and privileged to serve all of you who have chosen to be the guardians of your guardians.
With the utmost pride and admiration, we thank you!
Capt. Pierre Davis and your West Seattle Officers
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole reiterated this afternoon that SPD officers are working “in pairs” until further notice, in the aftermath of the murders of five officers in Dallas. She and Mayor Ed Murray appeared this afternoon with community advocates to urge peace:
Shortly before that mid-afternoon event, she published an update on SPD Blotter. Here’s an excerpt:
… I have ordered our officers to carry out their duties in pairs. This will not prevent us from responding to calls for service, nor will it prevent us from safeguarding the lawful expression of 1st Amendment rights. We will work tirelessly to ensure that the conversations that must happen in response to recent events, happen without violence and with a shared commitment to justice for all. ….
The mayor published his own statement here.
As promised, we followed up today on the case of the man arrested in North Delridge for allegedly firing what police described as an “assault rifle” on the 4th of July. We just obtained probable-cause documents from this afternoon’s bail hearing for the 29-year-old suspect, whose bail was set at $50,000.
The documents say he is a resident of the apartment in the 4100 block of 25th SW where witnesses say they saw him “shooting a long gun into the air,” an officer wrote in the report. As mentioned in yesterday’s SPD Blotter report, the shots were first heard by officers who were behind the DSHS building in the 4000 block of Delridge at the time, around 11:20 pm on the 4th, describing what they heard as “6-8 rapid-fire gunshots.” They were advised via radio that 911 calls had come in, too. When they got to the building, one officer “took up a position” behind it, their partner did the same in front, and the officer in the rear saw the suspect leaving the building shortly thereafter, “holding a long gun in his right hand.” The officer ordered him to put it down, but the suspect “ignored (the) orders and instead turned and ran back inside the building while still carrying the long gun.” Several minutes and repeated “orders” later, the officer writes, the suspect and nine other people left the apartment; police got a relative of the building’s owner to give consent to a search, and inside, they say, the found “an AK-47” (SPD photo at left), subsequently finding “16 spent 7.62mm casings (which they) photographed and collected” from the front yard. The report adds that the suspect “admitted to firing the weapon … stating that he fired off some celebratory rounds into the air while some fireworks were set off.” They then discovered, checking his record, that he had multiple felony convictions.
The report does not say anything about the gun and its ownership beyond the “AK-47” and “long gun” description. That information might be part of charging documents, which prosecutors could file as soon as tomorrow, before the suspect is due back in court. Online court files indicate he also lived at the 25th SW address at the time of his most recent felony conviction, a drug case dating back to the fall of 2007.
Police are looking for the driver suspected in a hit-and-run that allegedly started with a suspected car prowl. They tell us the victim saw what appeared to be a car prowl in progress in the area (39th SW and SW Oregon), tried to stop it, and then was hit by the suspect making a getaway in his own car. The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening – he’s on the way to the hospital in a private ambulance. We heard only a fragment of a description of the suspect’s car – silver – but will be following up. (Added: Silver or gold older Camaro.)
Thanks to Nicholas for the tip: Police arrested a man in North Delridge after he was reported to have been “seen firing numerous rounds from a rifle up into the air,” in the 4100 block of 25th SW, Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams confirms. He says officers found the rifle and “spent shell casings … in the front yard.” No damage or injury reported; the suspect was expected to be booked into jail.
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.)