day : 24/07/2009 14 results

Details: How police found the South Park murder suspect

We have more details now directly from Seattle Police regarding how they found and arrested the South Park murder suspect tonight, within hours of publicly identifying him as 23-year-old Isaiah M.K. Kalebu and publicizing photos. The updated news release we just received says:

Preliminary reports indicate that a Metro Bus operator who had knowledge of the suspect description contacted the Seattle Police Communications Center with a possible suspect sighting at NE 65th Street and Sandpoint Way in North Seattle. This occurred at around 6:30 p.m. North Precinct patrol officers saturated the area and searched for the suspect. Officers located the suspect and his dog in Magnuson Park. The suspect surrendered to officers without incident. He is in custody and en route to Seattle Police Headquarters for questioning. He will ultimately be booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Murder. The suspect was with his pit bull at the time of apprehension. The dog has been released to the care of Seattle Animal Control.

These photos of the dog were also made public by police earlier:

It’s been less than a week since 39-year-old Teresa Butz was stabbed to death after a man – allegedly Kalebu – broke into her home where she and her partner were asleep and attacked them; Butz’s partner survived and is out of the hospital. Just last night, hundreds of friends and neighbors gathered for a candlelight memorial at South Park Community Center, close to Butz’s home. We do not yet know how police have tied Kalebu to the crime but we will be adding more information as we get it; we’ll be checking into court records and any other background, too. He may have West Seattle ties – commenter Cheriberri, in the comment section of our previous report, says he was a classmate at Denny Middle School in the mid-’90s. ADDED 8:47 PM: The system we use to get court documents is down for the weekend but the top-level state online records are available round the clock and we have found a King County case in which Kalebu was due in court earlier this week, on a case dating back to April, with charges listed as including domestic violence and harassment. (Update: Slog has details of that case – the victim was Kalebu’s mother.) That’s one of 13 court cases listed for him dating back as far as five years ago. There is also a Pierce County case filed this month in which a domestic-violence protection order was sought against him (by the aunt who died in this fire days later; at least one media source says Kalebu will be questioned again in that case). Most of the other cases against him listed in the top-level statewide court records were also from Pierce County. 12:22 AM UPDATE: Kalebu was booked into King County Jail at 10:35 pm. He’s being held for investigation of five potential charges, including murder and attempted murder.

Update: South Park murder suspect in custody

8:16 PM UPDATE: Police have issued the official announcement confirming the suspect’s arrest. We’ll be publishing a separate item next.

UPDATE: 6:57pm: We’re working to confirm a report that the South Park murder suspect has been arrested.  This comes about an hour after the Seattle Police sent these photos and this press release.

Those photos and this news release just in from the Seattle Police.

SEATTLE – Seattle Police homicide detectives have identified a suspect in the July 19th South Park murder/attempted murder case. Probable cause exists for police officers to arrest Isaiah M.K. Kalebu (DOB: August 1, 1985) for Murder. Kalebu is six feet tall with a slim build. Detectives and officers are searching for him at this moment.

Kalebu is believed to be armed with knives and is considered extremely dangerous. Citizens recognizing Kalebu should call 911 immediately. He may or may not be accompanied by the dog pictured. Kalebu is the same individual captured by surveillance video that was distributed earlier today. There are no other suspects wanted in this investigation.

Here again is the video release from earlier today.

Another Admiral restaurant-in-progress update: Brickyard BBQ

The question came up in the WSB Forums this week – when is Brickyard BBQ opening in Admiral (2310 California)? We brought you first word of the planned restaurant back in mid-April. To answer the WSBF question, we checked back with co-owner Don Kriley, who says that – like nearby Porterhouse – they’re hesitant to set an exact date, because they’ve still got some inspections to go through, but they’re hoping to open in “two, three weeks” or so. Another Forum question: What style of barbecue? Answer: Texas. Hours will be 11 am-10 pm for the restaurant, lounge open later. No website to point you to yet, but it’s “in development.”

Seattle City Light says it’s stepped up streetlight replacement

Last February, we reported on the “burnout backlog” – thousands of Seattle City Light streetlights awaiting repair. In February, there was word of a plan to speed it up by moving up some spending. Now, a progress report – read on:Read More

West Seattle Weekend Lineup: Hot stuff ahead

(Thursday night photo by David Hutchinson)
Not the weather so much – the forecast for the weekend is downgraded to “warm” from “sizzling” (that’s still expected early next week) – but hot events aplenty. The original “King Kong” is the second West Seattle Junction Outdoor Movies on the Wall presentation Saturday night – last week’s debut was a hot (free!) ticket so arrive early; the Alki Art Fair hits the beach all weekend; outdoor music at Alki this afternoon, Cafe Rozella tonight, Highland Park Improvement Club‘s big rummage sale and a free showing of “Wizard of Oz” near Westwood Village on Saturday afternoon — plus remember if you’re going downtown for tomorrow night’s parade, there’s an extra Water Taxi run back to West Seattle at 11:30 pm … more than 50 events in all, ahead in this edition of the West Seattle Weekend Lineup, brought to you by Skylark Cafe and Club … here goes!Read More

City says West Seattle needs more trees – want some?


(October 2008 photo of trees-in-waiting at city yard in West Seattle)
From the Department of Neighborhoods, via Junction-based Southwest District coordinator Stan Lock:

Did you know that West Seattle is one of the areas in the city with the barest residential and street tree densities? Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ (DoN) Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) is currently accepting applications for this year’s Tree Fund*. All it takes is organizing a group of your neighbors to plant street trees in your neighborhood together. You put in the volunteer time; DoN provides the trees!

Wait, there’s more! To increase local food security and expand the tree canopy on private properties, we are testing a pilot expansion this year. All NMF Tree Fund participants who plant street trees with their neighbors have the bonus option of selecting one free cherry or apple tree to plant on their private properties. You can help bring more trees to West Seattle streets and private yards!

For more information on the Tree Fund and to download an application, visit our website at: But act soon! DoN is accepting applications through August 21.

* NMF Tree Fund works in partnership with Seattle Department of Transportation, Office of Sustainability & Environment, and local community organizations.

New West Seattle dads’ group forms, first meeting August 4

Just announced:

Announcing a group for new dads in West Seattle (old dads are welcome, too). You’re invited to come meet other new dads to talk about kids or parenting, swap tips and war stories, or just grab a beer and meet new people. This is totally informal. No agenda or affiliation, no particular structure just yet.

First meeting: Zeek’s Pizza in Morgan Junction, Tuesday, August 4 from 7pm-9pm. Come for dinner or just stop by to say hi. No kids this time, please! We can talk about ideas for involving kids and spouses later on. RSVP to Andrew at

WSB Followup: Cost of redoing leaky waterproofing at
Myrtle and Beacon Reservoirs — $4.1 million

When WSB broke the story July 13 about hundreds of leaks in the waterproofing “membranes” atop the new concrete covers at Myrtle Reservoir in West Seattle and Beacon Hill Reservoir, Seattle Public Utilities told us they had not yet calculated the cost of redoing those membranes. They stressed that they expect the cost eventually will be someone else’s responsibility – depending on where the fault is found to lie – but in the meantime, the city has to front the money to get the work redone. The faulty membranes are being removed now, and a “hot asphalt” process will be used instead. SPU’s Andy Ryan has just sent us the information on the costs, as he had promised they would do as soon as “change orders” were complete:

We now have an estimate on the cost of removing and replacing the waterproof membranes at the Beacon and Myrtle reservoirs — about $4.1 million.

As you reported last week, once liability for the waterproofing problem has been established, Seattle Public Utilities will be seeking recovery of costs from our vendors.

We have not yet established the cause of the breaches in the waterproofing material, nor have we fixed responsibility for the problem. As we told you last week, that determination will likely be part of a lengthy legal discussion between SPU, the project designer and the contractor. To reiterate what we said last week, we do not believe SPU is responsible for any of these problems.

Overall, Seattle’s $150 million reservoir covering program is about $15 million under budget.

Please allow us to emphasize, again, that the water in the reservoirs is safe. We have a comprehensive water quality testing program, regulated by Washington State Department of Health, that confirms that there are no water quality impacts from the waterproofing problem. In fact, at Beacon and Myrtle the water is much better protected, and the water quality even higher, than in Seattle’s old, uncovered reservoirs. The state Department of Health is fully informed of these issues and believes our water is safe.

Construction work on the Beacon and Myrtle Reservoirs is expected to be completed by the end of November. Until the work is completed, the two reservoirs will remain fenced off, as has been the case with our open reservoirs.

Our first priority is getting the waterproofing done right on these projects, which will be serving Seattleites — as reservoirs and parks — for at least the next 100 years.

Our original story on the waterproofing leaks stemmed from neighbors’ e-mails to WSB, asking why the project – which they had thought to be complete – “was being dug up again.” (We also published a followup later in the week.) Earlier this week, we asked SPU why we hadn’t seen activity at the site for several days; Ryan and reservoir project manager Stephanie Murphy explained that the crews are removing the membrane material at Beacon right now and scheduled to resume work at Myrtle in early August.

Video: “Person of interest” identified in South Park murder

Just in from Seattle Police – that video and this update:

– Seattle Police homicide detectives have developed a ‘person of interest’ that they believe may be connected to the brutal double stabbing that occurred on July 19 in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood. A 39-year-old woman was killed in the attack. The surviving victim, a 36-year-old woman is recovering from her injuries.

Detectives have uncovered surveillance video of a man that they are now calling a ‘person of interest’. Detectives say that the identity of the man is unknown and they need your assistance to identify him. At this point in the investigation, he is being sought for questioning only. His hair may be shorter than depicted in the attached video. He may or may not still have the brown and white pit bull with him. Detectives believe that the man may frequent South Seattle, as well as Auburn and Federal Way.

Detectives have previously released a sketch of the person they believe responsible for the crime. The suspect is described as a black male, 20-30 years old, 5’10, with a medium brown complexion.

Anyone with information regarding this individual is urged to call the Seattle Police Homicide tip-line at 206 233-5000. Those wishing to remain anonymous are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800 222-TIPS (8477) or text TIP486 with your information to CRIMES (274637).

Last night, friends and neighbors gathered outside South Park Community Center to remember the murder victim, Teresa Butz; here’s our story and photos. Meantime, here again is the previously released sketch mentioned in the police statement above:

West Seattle wildlife: Return of the marmot!

The original photo of this (apparent) marmot, as identified by WSB’ers after the sighting was shared June 19th by Jennifer from a neighborhood near The Junction, was so memorable that somebody even turned it into a LOLcritter (as noted recently in the WSB Forums). She e-mailed again this morning with this new photo and words of thanks:

It was fun reading all the comments and learning what he is. Here he is again–taken this morning in about the same spot. We’ve seen him a handful of times now. He lives in our laurel hedge.

1st “Band Jam” tonight: 5 marching bands, 1 West Seattle field

FumikoB shared that video of the Seattle Schools All-City Band in last Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade; its lineup includes West Seattle musicians and director Marcus Pimpleton, who leads the acclaimed music program at Denny Middle School. Tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex (east of Southwest Community Center) you can see ACB and four other bands outside the parade environment – in a sort of warm-up for tomorrow night’s Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown. It’s a unique event dubbed Band Jam: ACB, the Denny Marching Band, Rainbow City Band, Pacific Northwest Drumline, Cranbrook Girls’ Bugle Band (from BC). Free! Gates open at 6, performances start at 7.

Two West Seattle women vie for Miss Seafair tomorrow night

Before tomorrow night’s Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown (tip from veteran parade fan, you need to stake out your spot along 4th Avenue early in the day), the new Miss Seafair will be announced, and two West Seattle women are in the running. Sivona Lingle (right) represents the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival, and Keili Geller (left) represents the Alki Community. Keili is a junior majoring in communications at the University of Hawaii Manoa (Honolulu) and attended Hope Lutheran School in West Seattle through 8th grade; in 2007 she graduated from Bellevue’s Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart High School. Sivona is currently attending the University of Arizona; she was Hi-Yu Senior Court Queen 2007-2008 (since many Miss Seafair events run concurrent with Hi-Yu commitments, the festival enters its preceding year’s queen; 2008-2009 queen Margo Femiano will represent Hi-Yu in Miss Seafair next year) . Regardless of who is coronated as Miss Seafair tomorrow night (see all the participants here), they’ll all be riding in the parade, where you also will see the West Seattle Hi-Yu float – decorated with lights, since this is an evening parade. P.S. If you’re going to the parade, note that an extra King County Water Taxi run has been added, 11:30 pm, from downtown to West Seattle.

Update: Homeless encampment still at T-107 Park

(T-107 Park photos taken this morning by Christopher Boffoli)
Correction to a report we published about half an hour ago: The homeless encampment that calls itself Nickelsville is still at Terminal 107 Park (map) – the site from which they have finished clearing the last of their items is the 2nd SW/Highland Park Way site they started leaving last night. We’ll be checking with the Port of Seattle to see what it’s planning to do, since T-107 Park is on land owned by the port, which is reported to have sent reps last night to tell the campers they couldn’t stay. They were under orders to leave the state-owned 2nd/HP Way site by this morning.

MONDAY NOTE: Over the weekend, the Port of Seattle published its official statement, which says it expects the process of evicting the encampment to take about a week.

“This is about Teresa”: Memorial for South Park stabbing victim

By Kathy Mulady
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

A big crowd filled the grass field in front of South Park Community Center Thursday night to remember Teresa Butz, killed in her home Sunday morning by an intruder.

Butz (left) was remembered for her remarkable laugh and ever-cheerful outlook. Some called her an angel, others remembered her love of baseball.

Co-workers, neighbors, friends and even those who had just heard about the tragedy, lit candles, shared stories and celebrated her life.

Beth Yockey Jones, a West Seattle woman who used to live next door to Butz, organized the event.

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