First, we’ll start by saying that WSB’s usual policy is not to identify suspects until/unless they are charged, but every story is evaluated on a case-by-case basis – as it was when we worked in “big media” – so sometimes we may digress from that policy. This is one such case: Ryan J. Cox is in jail again, as of about an hour and a half ago. He is the man arrested twice in the past 10 months in connection with serial graffiti vandalism around West Seattle that usually involved a three-word profane, anti-gay slur. Both times, the charges were dismissed because he was found incompetent to stand trial, and he was sent to Western State Hospital for evaluation for possible civil commitment. (We went to Mental Health Court for the most recent hearing on January 20th – here’s our report.) Exactly what happened at Western State in both cases is not a matter of public record because of privacy laws; we had heard recently that Cox indeed might have gotten out fairly quickly after that January hearing, but could not confirm it. Then we received this reader Crime Watch report via e-mail this morning:
I want to remain anonymous, but my tire was slashed this morning by a mentally unstable male this morning on the 4200 block/Raymond St. at 6:40 this morning. The police collected the knife and the male after I did an ID of him. According to police he has a “record” here in West Seattle for malicious acts and graffiti. I had a brief encounter with him in my alley yesterday morning, and this morning at the same time he slashed my tire (he saw me get in my truck yesterday)…I am very concerned for the safety of myself and others. Am glad I wasn’t “on time” this morning. It is only considered and misdemeanor, and is circumstantial as I hear my tire go and looked out to see him walking away, but did not “see” him slash my tire, although it is completely flat, there is a slash and the knife was 10′ away in tall grass.
Everything he wears is baggy, white jacket with blue stripes on sleeves, haven’t seen him with his hood down, gray baseball cap, blue jeans, tennis shoes, a backpack, dark blue, and what looks to be a medium-sized shoulder bag black. Blue umbrella..I would keep my eye on him. For everyone’s safety. he looks to be in his late 30’s and of Hispanic ethnicity. (medium colored skin, graying hair, short) about 5’9″.
I just wanted to let you know as I feel I should let someone know as I appreciate West Seattle, have lived here for a long time and feel our safety can only be helped in numbers and watching out for each other. I consider this person dangerous given the circumstances that I see him for the first time yesterday morning and the very next morning at the same time my tire is violently flattened…
Though the description didn’t sound exactly like Cox, the rest of the circumstances sounded similar enough that we started checking around – and have now verified, he was indeed arrested; the King County Jail Register shows him booked on a property-damage charge as of 9:11 this morning. What happens now? We will be checking with the City Attorney’s Office, with whom we spoke extensively in connection with the previous cases, and will add to this story as we find out more. (Side note: The challenges authorities face under current law in cases like this were well-detailed in this report last weekend from our citywide-news partners at the Seattle Times.)