Update: West Seattle helicopter search, for a well-known suspect

helicopterwatch.pngThere’s a search under way right now northwest of Morgan Junction – we’re not entirely sure how it started, but it sounds like they are looking for a known burglary suspect, and vandalism involving a motorcycle is part of what’s been discussed on the scanner. A K-9 team is assisting in the search, and it sounds like the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One is on its way. 12:05 AM UPDATE: We’re monitoring the scanner – no progress to report but as commenters note (and as we can hear in the distance), the helicopter has arrived in West Seattle to join the search. 12:39 AM UPDATE: As discussed in comments, the chopper has left. No indication if there’s been an arrest. We have a message out to police; if we don’t get official information in the next few hours (regarding the suspect status and the nature of whatever incident touched off the search), we’ll continue pursuing it later in the morning.

ADDED 8:45 AM WEDNESDAY: From Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct:

Last night at 1125 pm, patrol officers attempted to stop a vehicle at California/Findlay driven by Skyelar Hailey and arrest him for his outstanding warrants. He ran from the vehicle which rolled into another car (parked) and then cutting through yards, knocked over a motorcycle damaging it. Despite K9 and Guardian One searches Skyelar escaped. The vehicle he was driving had three passengers who apparently drove away while officers were chasing Skyelar on foot. The parked vehicle was also gone.

We have reported on Skyelar Hailey, an 18-year-old with a long criminal record, here before – in fact, he is to be sentenced this Friday in a case we wrote about exactly one week ago. We were planning to be in court for that and will be checking on how this incident will affect that scheduled hearing.

62 Replies to "Update: West Seattle helicopter search, for a well-known suspect"

  • rockmama76 April 21, 2009 (11:59 pm)

    The helicopter is circling around the 44th/45th and Findlay/Juneau area- there were K-9 units in our driveway about 10 minutes ago… I guess now I know why there were patrol cars speeding up and down our street. Yikes!

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:01 am)

    WSB, I love you! I am lying in bed, awakened by the sound of a helicopter seemingly buzzing my house (south of the Junction by a few blocks) and I logged in expressly to find out what was up.

    I am extremely creeped out to think that some vandal/burgler is walking around my neighborhood looking for a hideout right now.

    I’m on 45th & Brandon – am I wrong that the search is there?

  • WSDude April 22, 2009 (12:02 am)

    Go get ’em Guardian One! We hope you get them. It seems this is happening more frequently, kinda sad and a little annoying!

  • steveedz April 22, 2009 (12:02 am)

    Here we go again, I’m right underneath it.
    Sounds like the DMZ over here. Think I’ll watch Apocalypse Now to get my mind off…
    oh wait.

  • Ian April 22, 2009 (12:02 am)

    Nice scoop! I hear the helicopter now, moments after picking this entry up on Twitter.

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (12:04 am)

    Ryk – I don’t know how far north they are but the numbered street has been mentioned. It all started in the 5600 block of California, according to what we heard when we first “tuned in” – after one of the responding officers screamed by our house (westbound Thistle to northbound California), siren and all. That’s California/Findlay, checking a map, just a block south of Brandon, so makes sense – TR

  • HMC Rich April 22, 2009 (12:05 am)

    The chopper is circling low from about California and Juneau, Raymond to 45th approximately towards Fauntleroy and California give or take a few blocks.

  • G April 22, 2009 (12:05 am)

    Yep, police have the street blocked off on Graham between 46th and California, helicopter spinning overhead. They’ve been looking for about 10-15 minutes, hope they find whoever they are looking for.

  • tj April 22, 2009 (12:05 am)

    Hey neighbors… stay in your houses! Call in your dogs and cats! =) And call 911 if you see someone (other then the police) running through your yard.

  • stephanie April 22, 2009 (12:08 am)

    cop car stationed at 46th and findlay. go get em

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (12:09 am)

    Ian – we usually post about breaking news on Twitter before here on the main site — (a) it’s quick and (b) some things are not worth an entire story here – they might be a quick observation, or a mention of a call that ultimately doesn’t pan out. But as we’ve noted before, you don’t have to join Twitter to see what we’re posting – we have a “widget” in the lower section of the right sidebar that you can check at any time, and/or you can always look at
    Not much radio activity right now so whatever you guys in the neighborhoods are seeing will be the best info, as it often is with situations like this – TR

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:09 am)

    Thanks so much, TR. We are between Brandon & Findlay and based on your comment and RockMama’s comments, it does seem like we’re right in the middle of the activity.

    I’d rather be in the middle of, oh, I dunno – a peace march? a lemonade stand? a music festival?

    Do average burglers merit police choppers or only the truly scary ones?!

    Doors locked: check
    Big scary looking dog: check (shhhh he’s nice, don’t tell anyone)
    Family inside, safe: check
    Sound of helicopters: check :-(

  • rockmama76 April 22, 2009 (12:10 am)

    WS dude- a couple years back, I logged in to see why there were ‘copters overhead, and I see live footage of OUR alley, where they found a bank robber hiding in a shed a few houses down! Home alone with a baby and toddler, I was not amused.

  • CMSully April 22, 2009 (12:11 am)

    Pretty freaky times. We’re right in the epicenter, woken by the chopper. Not feeling so great about this in our little neighborhood…

  • Jersey Jill April 22, 2009 (12:11 am)

    Oh my gosh it is official we live in the hood, getto bird over head at 45th and Graham!! 46th and 45th blocked by patrol cars at graham!!! I feel like I am at Venice Beach California

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:13 am)

    Just turned on my front porch light (I figure bad guys are no likely to head into the light) and poked my head out – a police car stationed at 45th and Brandon. Still hearing the chopper.

  • tj April 22, 2009 (12:15 am)

    The bird….depends on the circumstances, such as the crime committed, evidence, witness accounts, time delays, person in question…. the bird could be up!

  • Connie April 22, 2009 (12:15 am)

    I’m thankful for the WSB too. I’m on 45th between Juneau and Raymond. Right before I saw the police cars, my dog was barking up a storm (not usual unless something is irritating him). Then the police were zipping up and down the streets shining their lights down the alley. Now the helicopter has been buzzing around for about 10 minutes. I hope it has a heat sensor and finds the crook!

  • cryslou April 22, 2009 (12:17 am)

    I love this blog…I am awakened by an annoying helicopter circling over my house on 44th&Juneau, login to WSB and I get all the info I need! I hope they find them soon!

  • rockmama76 April 22, 2009 (12:17 am)

    nothing has changed here- I can see the cruiser parked at 46th and Findlay… it sounds like the helicopters are fading away now? Not sure if they are expanding their search area, or calling it a night?

  • CMSully April 22, 2009 (12:17 am)

    Am i right to believe the chopper just flew away? Anyone see anything on the ground suggesting they got this guy?

  • Ken S. April 22, 2009 (12:17 am)

    Great coverage, WSB! It looks like a lot of us know where to turn for info on things like this. I’m on the 5900 block of 46th…. Ahhhh – I think the chopper just left. Back to sleep now.

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:18 am)

    RockMama, do I know you? This is Kristina. Anyway, a friend of ours is a detective on the SPD and he told us that the bank robber you mentioned hung out in a tree until the K9s and choppers went away, then he simply climbed down and walked away. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, they had a really good shot of him on the security camera and they found him relatively easily a few days later.
    But I was home with my preschool daughter (and a friend and her kids – was that you, H?!) and NOT happy about it. “Okay kids, um, off the swingset….let’s, um, watch TV! Yah, watch TV!” Sigh.

  • rockmama76 April 22, 2009 (12:18 am)

    Maybe they did- I don’t see the car at 46th anymore…

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:19 am)

    I hear the chopper off in the distance now, headed away….

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (12:21 am)

    I heard the chopper break away but didn’t hear a clear explanation why. There’s an unrelated search in the CD – maybe it had to help there – I’ll keep listening but if there’s nothing conclusive tonight (I will also ping my overnight contact at the precinct) we’ll definitely have a followup in the morning. Or, if any info comes in tonight, I’m usually on duty till about 4 am and we’ll add it here – TR

  • CMSully April 22, 2009 (12:21 am)

    Nothing says “Happy Midnight!” quite like a helicopter circling 250 feet above your roof. Here’s hoping they made an arrest. I think I’m still sleeping with a knife at my side in my groundfloor bedroom…

    Thanks WSB for the great coverage. Hopefully we’ll hear more soon.

  • CB April 22, 2009 (12:22 am)

    Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be a better community service to limit the amount of information about this ongoing search? This is all valuable information to the suspect who is hiding and monitoring the WSB twitter page on his iphone.

    Let’s keep the details to a minimum and let the cops do their job.

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:23 am)

    TR, I’m usually asleep at 10pm but tonight I am grateful for your late night hours. Thank you for getting us whatever info you can. It is VERY disconcerting to be in the middle of all of this. I think of this as a wonderful, peaceful neighborhood….

    The helicopter is slightly louder right now. Not overhead, but slightly louder than it was a few minutes ago…

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:24 am)

    CB, I would agree, except the helicopter is anything BUT stealth, and the cop cars had their lights on and flashing, etc. Our blogging is not notifying of anything that the suspect doesn’t know if he’s in sight/sound distance.

  • CMSully April 22, 2009 (12:25 am)

    CB — I don’t think there was anything in this post that would give a tech-savvy burglar on the run a lead to escape. I think he could hear the helicopters without his iphone :)

  • rockmama76 April 22, 2009 (12:26 am)

    No, I don’t think we’ve met! I’ll never forget that last time- my youngest was tiny and my son wanted to go for a walk, and I heard the commotion and was like, now’s not the best time for that, sweetie.

    Everything is quiet now… hopefully they have their man?

    CB, if the perp is dialed in enough to be watching WSB tweets, I will be really impressed- this seemed small enough to share info with neighbors but perhaps I am wrong…?

  • rockmama76 April 22, 2009 (12:27 am)

    mmm… y’all have a point… the chopper kind of gave itself away ;)

  • Chica April 22, 2009 (12:29 am)

    CB– lol thats funny I’m sure the suspect is really going to be running and checking this site or for that matter twitter on the run thats funny! LMBO

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:29 am)

    Sorry, RockMama – I thought perhaps you were my neighbor friend who shared the experience with me. But like you, I will never forget that moment. There were K9s up and down my block and my alley, and there was a guy at the end of my block wearing a flak(sp?) jacket and holding a gun. I’m pretty sure my voice shook when I told my daughter it was time to go inside. Let’s hope that tonight’s episode ends as well…

  • cryslou April 22, 2009 (12:35 am)

    cop car in my alley behind 44th St off findley. cops are on foot.

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:36 am)

    Hmmm. Am I the only one obsessively hitting “refresh” on this page? I am currently WIDE awake.
    7am is going to come early tomorrow.

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (12:36 am)

    We’ve had this discussion multiple times before. But again: We didn’t share specifics of the perimeter. The situations in which police are concerned about the sharing of specifics are those such as SWAT team members surrounding a specific building. And, having done news for 30+ years, we’re acutely aware of the (unwritten) rules.
    That aside, not only was the helicopter a loud clue to police presence, they arrived with sirens blaring (including the one that passed our house).
    If anything, besides being somewhat reassuring (no, there wasn’t a mass murder that has brought all this police presence out), discussing some elements of the search may just mean more watchful eyes in more neighborhoods. And that, as police have told me again and again and again, is what helps them crack cases.
    Meantime, as mentioned before, I have a message out and will add anything I can find out, tonight or tomorrow.

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (12:48 am)

    Thank you thank you thank you to the WSB for giving us this forum. I do wonder which of my neighbors I’m talking to here, but the sense of community is strong. Thank you!
    I’m organizing a block watch for June 10 with Benjamin Kinlow from SPD coming out – my block will get invites soon. This is just another reminder that is a good idea!

  • CMSully April 22, 2009 (12:49 am)

    TR, thanks so much for following this.
    Rykrite, I’m right there with you. Wide awake… oh well, at least it’s draft week for the NFL. Go Seahawks, lots to read about :)

  • Shibaguyz April 22, 2009 (12:50 am)

    Thank you Tracy for always keep watch for us. It’s not a fun thing to wake up in the middle of the night with a helicopter over your home. We appreciate you and all of our neighbors chiming in here to let us know what’s going on.

    Go West Seattle!!

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (12:54 am)

    yes, a block watch is HUGE. SPD has also mentioned at the last four or five meetings we’ve been to, they have a new initiative to encourage block watches if a residential burglary happens and they discover the block does NOT have one … Better to organize something BEFORE criminals strike. Ben Kinlow’s crime prevention page on the Southwest Precinct website:

  • Misty April 22, 2009 (6:38 am)

    I’m not clear. Was the guy or gal caught?

  • Blockwatchmantra April 22, 2009 (8:30 am)

    Way to rock it, again, WSB & Community!

    Those who fret about details reported on WSB: Chica’s comment expresses my sentiment. But you know we DO appreciate your support for SPD and your ongoing concern and commitment to your corner of WS – always! Maybe just lose a wee bit of the rigidity and old-paradigm fears and assumptions about how to approach and solve complex real-time problems. Recalibrating to the techno-paradigm takes time…

    Hope this story ends with everyone safe and the bad guys are in the klinker. Looking forward to another of WSB’s stellar follow-up coverage.

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (8:45 am)

    Just got an update from Sgt. Jeff Durden at the Southwest Precinct. Short answer, no. Long answer, I’m adding to the post above, right now – TR

  • MargL April 22, 2009 (9:13 am)

    Argh. Why is this guy still on the streets? Why was he on the streets in the first place instead of being in jail held without bail?

  • CB April 22, 2009 (9:15 am)

    With the ability to post information instantly (WSB, Twitter) I think we need to be very careful how much information to give out during an ongoing police event. I seem to recall the terrorists who shot up that hotel in India using their PDA phones to get information from the press/etc.

    I know most criminals are dumb, thankfully. But I see a scenario where a very smart (dangerous) criminal could elude police using sites like this. Why not play it safe and keep this info to ourselves until the Police have finished their job?

  • Shibaguyz April 22, 2009 (9:18 am)

    Is there any way to get a photo of this guy along with a description of his car and the license plate?

  • Another Neighbor April 22, 2009 (9:38 am)

    I don’t know the car, but here’s his MySpace page:
    Whe he was harassing our neighborhood, he was always wearing long shorts (Nov-Feb) and dark puffy coat with a faux fur lined hood pulled up about his face.

  • Shibaguyz April 22, 2009 (9:42 am)

    thanks for the photo link! Isn’t there a booking photo the police could release to the neighborhoods so we could be looking out for him?

  • Note April 22, 2009 (9:51 am)

    It was just a matter of time for Skylar…hope he likes his cellmate.

  • Another Neighbor April 22, 2009 (10:02 am)

    Glad I don’t see Kelsie proclaiming what a great guy he is anymore. Sweet girl, I sure hope you’ve moved on.

  • Note April 22, 2009 (10:32 am)

    What a riot, his myspace page now says his mood is “infuriated”!

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (10:57 am)

    Note – that would be a change in the last hour because I looked before going out on a story from which I’ve just returned, and the mood at that time was something including “pissed.”
    Shiba – those photos are only released by SPD when they think it would help bring somebody in who is an urgent threat to public safety. I have already suggested it but am placing another call shortly to ask again. Otherwise, unlike some jurisdictions, booking photos are NOT routinely made public – the Department of Corrections will sometimes release photos if an adult suspect has served state prison time (different from county jail), not applicable here (so far). Even yesterday for example I asked Snohomish County if I could get booking photos of the three guys arrested for commercial burglaries including allegedly West Seattle Senior Center .. they don’t release such photos either. You pretty much have to go to court hearings and then hope the judge grants permission for photography (which we were planning to do for Friday’s scheduled sentencing, the status of which we are now checking on) … TR

  • Tyler Welch April 22, 2009 (11:00 am)

    Wow, I live in the area and slept through the whole thing , which is good and bad. Good because I got a full night’s sleep, bad because he could have been hiding in my yard and I was oblivious….One more reason to install laser cannons on my roof to thwart off the marauders that seem to be plaguing our neighborhood.

    WSBlog FTW…

  • JanS April 22, 2009 (11:25 am)

    this guy needs to go away for a long time. I hope the prosecuter is rethinking that slap on the wrist community service and probation thing. It’s obvious that neither will do anything to “help” this individual. What ever happened to our 3 strikes law? This guy’s a serial criminal, for sure….

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (11:34 am)

    I’ve just started a new story to track anything that happens today. Nothing revelatory except what prosecutors told me about how last night’s incident might affect the scheduled Friday sentencing. But I invite anybody with further discussion to pick it up there –

    Jan: I don’t believe burglary figures into 3 strikes. Armed robbery, assault, stuff like that.

  • Shibaguyz April 22, 2009 (11:40 am)

    Great info Tracy… thanks!

  • vlado April 22, 2009 (1:51 pm)

    If a photo of our serial offender becomes available, it would be great to post it in on the WSB. Sounds like he is working different parts of WS, and I sure would like to know what he looks like.

  • WSB April 22, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    I have been campaigning for it all day. Have been turned down twice. Still working other channels of appeal. On our other update (see link earlier in this thread), we now also have a link that someone else sent, with what is purportedly a school photo of him from a couple years ago.

  • Yoman April 22, 2009 (2:05 pm)

    WSB rocks…amazing that you had this up so quick. As for CB’s comment above, I disagree about keeping it all quiet until the police have done their job. By letting the community know what’s up, we can be on our toes, let the police know if we see anything, and stay inside. I was heading out to walk the dog last night when I heard all the sirens. I thought I would still go out, but when I read the WSB post, I stayed in–no need to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    So keep it up—you’re doing an AMAZING community service by letting us know what’s up in our hood.

  • rykrite April 22, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    CB, I think the difference between this and the India case is that there was nothing covert here. The police cars were not hiding – they were blocking intersections with lights flashing. The helicopter was waking people out of sound sleep – it wasn’t exactly sneaking up on anyone. The police had every intention of revealing themselves, and as citizens, we were trying to get information to understand, too. I don’t think that there was any risk in doing so.
    But if there is, I would love to hear from SPD. If someone involved in the case wants to respond, I’m certainly willing to listen, otherwise it’s just my opinion vs. another opinion.

Sorry, comment time is over.