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.