Update: Major police response after fights on Alki

(Photo by David Hutchinson)
ORIGINAL 8:31 PM REPORT: We are on Alki checking into a sizable police presence, after tips came in about cruisers heading this way. One tipster says a fight had broken out, but right now there’s no sign of that – the police presence appears to be more a show of preventive force, including a double-digit Gang Unit contingent. We would recommend avoiding driving this way – some traffic was being diverted a block inland, past Whale Tail. 8:38 PM: We just talked to police. A series of relatively small fights brought them out in force to make sure nothing worse happens, since there are many people here celebrating the 1st night of summer vacation. 9:25 PM: We’re back at HQ and adding photos. David Hutchinson‘s image of the gang-unit presence (which had broken up by the time we left shortly after 9) is the most dramatic scene we saw. Before our arrival, he says, a young woman had been cuffed and placed in a police car; we have not confirmed any arrests but will follow up on this tomorrow. 9:45 PM: Adding one more photo, this one from Benjamin Hutchinson, with a little more of an overview of the crowd that was out earlier – about the same density we saw when arriving around 8:15:

At least one of tonight’s fights, according to David Hutchinson, happened near Pepperdock – which, you may recall, was where last year’s most serious Alki incident happened, the shooting on May 1, 2009 (WSB coverage here). 10:39 PM: Worth noting – one commenter points out the mayor’s announcement today of a “Late-Night Safety Initiative.” Here’s the official SPD announcement. While its focus is on Friday and Saturday nights, and primarily neighborhoods near downtown, it’s noted “this model will work in any neighborhood” and the announcement’s concluding line certainly resonates given what happened tonight:

The hope is that the additional uniformed patrols will encourage citizens from all over Puget Sound to visit popular Seattle destination points and do so without fear of harm.

66 Replies to "Update: Major police response after fights on Alki"

  • pam June 22, 2010 (8:47 pm)

    I had forgotten it was the last day of school when we went down at 5:30 to go for a walk. There were a number of squad cars and police out and about. There was a fight behind Pepperdocks at 6:00 which was broken up quickly – though we did see one young man jump up on top of a suv to get a better look at the fight. We left shortly after – too much excitement for me!

  • Mark June 22, 2010 (8:52 pm)

    It sure didn’t look like a “preventive force” when multiple patrol cars headed down Admiral around 7:40 with lights and sirens going.

  • Newnative June 22, 2010 (8:54 pm)

    That’s a shame, early today was really nice. Not too crowded, well-behaved kids and families.

  • JanS June 22, 2010 (8:56 pm)

    yeah, we just drove along the beach coming from downtown…and if they were there just to make a presence, it was a bit of overkill. We counted about 12 marked cars, and at least 4 unmarked cars with big burly guys in them. It was a bit slow moving, but not really too bad. Glad they nipped it in the bud.

  • clark5080 June 22, 2010 (8:58 pm)

    I saw four of those black unmarked police cruisers zooming for Alki while gassing up at the Safeway station in Admirial. Thought something big was up

  • ad June 22, 2010 (9:05 pm)

    Maybe this response was part of the new plan? Of course, this article says police will flood Belltown, but I think Alki would be considered a trouble spot.

  • WSC June 22, 2010 (9:05 pm)

    Not a good vibe there this afternoon. We thought it was just us so we left after a bit. Guess this confirms the radar.
    Great that we finally had sun & 70+ though!

  • ohwellmaybenot June 22, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    I walk everyday to get home after getting off the bus. While on the bus on Admiral, cop cars kept zooming by. While walking home past the crowds on Alki it was hard to find a place to even walk on the sidewalk because there were so many people! The cops were everywhere! Tooooooo much stuff going on.

  • Diane June 22, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    wow, so glad I stayed home; very peaceful top of hill

  • Kristina June 22, 2010 (9:18 pm)

    A number of families, including myself, finished our last day of school at Alki Elementary, and then walked down to the beach with our picnic stuff and had a beach BBQ. From about 3pm to 6pm, it was lovely….but then it got really crazy, and there were many police cars, several with sirens, tons of “young adults” milling together around Pepperdock, loud music pumping. I hope it won’t be like tht all summer – my seven year old wants to spend time on Alki and I don’t want to have to tell her that it’s not safe. (sigh) I love Alki and hope that the big police presence sent a strong message.

  • Mark June 22, 2010 (9:22 pm)

    Thanks Seattle police. You are awesome. PLEASE profile potential gang thugs and deal with them appropriately.

  • gtothen June 22, 2010 (9:27 pm)

    I thought everyone knew to stay away from Alki today as last day of school is always CRAZY. My kids always think I’m so mean for not letting them go – all their friends from all WS schools go down there.
    This article helps back me up!! Thanks again WSB.

  • AlkiMom June 22, 2010 (9:28 pm)

    Was part of that Alki Elementary Group… After 10 years living on Alki, police presence is the best way to keep things calm and positive. Want a peaceful time? Come anytime except sunny Fridays and Saturdays 3pm – nighttime in June- mid July. Every other time of the day and year is lovely… I and my neighbors have noticed this pattern over the years.

  • Babs June 22, 2010 (9:33 pm)

    I rode my bike down there around 4pm, it was a nightmare trying to ride on the bike path. I saw 3 cops walking together on the path too. The pot people were down there getting sigs for their ballot deal too. Had no idea it was the last official day of school. That explains it.

  • Alki Resident June 22, 2010 (9:46 pm)

    Im already worried about what my kids might encounter since school is now out,as the sun heats up,more kids will flock down here.I really hope we dont have another shooting like last year near Pepperdocks.The shooter ran right past my son who was at the whaletale park.Its unnverving hearing all the sirens today heading towards the resturants.Had to round up my kids via cell phone just to make sure theyre safe.Im greatful for all the police response today.Hopefully itll make the punks aware were not going to tolerate this.

  • Jill June 22, 2010 (9:47 pm)

    AlkiMom, I hear you. I don’t even live down there, but it didn’t take long to figure out when not to go running there. Such a bummer, I’m all for the “overkill” police response if it nips that sh** in the bud (I won’t hold my breath). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not crowds in general I’m bummed about, it’s the ones made up of people who have motives other than having a fun time at the beach.

  • AlkiCabCompany June 22, 2010 (9:50 pm)

    It’s just that there were no parents. It was ALL kids with no supervision. The cops were there but they were out numbered..then they decide to call in more cops after things got crazy.

    I packed in in early cause the vibe down there was too weird. Not an adult in site. Scary.

  • Greg June 22, 2010 (9:51 pm)

    Kudos to the Seattle Police for doing this. If gang violence occurs on Alki with this type of presence being demonstrated on a moment’s notice, then those losers need their heads checked.

  • JH June 22, 2010 (9:57 pm)

    Well AlkiMom, unfortunately today is Tuesday, and it wasn’t a peaceful time!

  • Neighbor June 22, 2010 (10:01 pm)

    We had just arrived when the first fight broke out with our 2 yr old son to get ice cream at Pepperdock. At first there were just police hanging around on the corner just watching. Then when the fight broke out the crowds gathered and cops came flying in from everywhere. Then another fight and people started running. Brining back last year’s shooting, we took off. Nearly getting hit by a police car flying at ridiculous speeds around the corner. When we left, there were 6 police cars trying to get thru traffic. Its such a shame that in our gorgeous neighborhood on sunny days, we experience a completely different kind of Alki- one you second guess enjoying on a perfectly wonderful night.

  • Here June 22, 2010 (10:02 pm)

    I hope they will be using preventative force down in Lincoln Park for keggers tonight….

  • zooma June 22, 2010 (10:05 pm)

    It was GORGEOUS down there today… and the fire pit was awesome — chicken, brats, hotdogs, lots of yummy salads, salsa, smores… no place like beautiful Alki on a sunny day! We had a great time and it was time to go anyway when the police action started. Our kids even got to ride the fun little rental pedal cars up and down the boardwalk. I am thankful the police have made a strong presence down there, as I refuse to let the very few punk/thugs take away my little slice of heaven, Alki beach. Way more nice families, kids, and just plain normal people wanting to enjoy the summer at the beach, with maybe a few rotten eggs to smell things up a bit… I wouldn’t have wanted to be anyplace else this afternoon. We were part of the beach BBQ with young kids just out of school for the summer (Alki Elementary no less). We had a great time.

  • Bob Loblaw June 22, 2010 (10:17 pm)

    Hold on. There’ a kegger at Lincoln Park? I HATE not being one of the cool kids who gets an invite :-(

    • WSB June 22, 2010 (10:24 pm)

      For those who mentioned last day of school last year, I dug this out of our archives:
      Not quite so dramatic. Or more likely we just didn’t get there in time. Thanks by the way to JayDee, who lives near Alki and was the first to e-mail us about major siren activity, just as we were about to head out of the house anyway to take a break from writing other stories – that determined which way we headed, especially when other notes started coming in – TR

  • Alki Resident June 22, 2010 (10:20 pm)

    Jill-Im hopeing the right people dont hesitate to come down here whenever they want.The police are definitly focusing on the beach this summer,and shove people out at the crack of 10:30 every nite.Theres alot of nice kids that come down here but theres also a sense that kids from other areas are coming down to stir things up.My two older daughters were laying next to a group of kids today in the sun and next thing you know both of their shoes had been stolen right from under their noses,so they walked home barefoot.The group was asked about it,they denied it then walked away laughing,no class.

  • casey June 22, 2010 (10:51 pm)

    Yay!!! We live a couple blocks from the beach, and were around last year for that shooting. We’ve lived her for the last 10 years and it’s steadily being getting worse.

    Thank you Seattle PD.

  • casey June 22, 2010 (10:51 pm)

    Oh PS – none of the above keeps us away from our beach!

  • 4thGenWestSide June 22, 2010 (10:57 pm)

    It was great to see the police presence tonight. Keep up the good work! And McGinn wants to CUT BACK on police? I’m questioning more and more why I voted for him.

    • WSB June 22, 2010 (11:01 pm)

      Just one clarification on that. Next year’s budget is of course still to come but in the midyear cuts, what the mayor did is put on hold the previous planned hiring of 21 additional police that were called for in the neighborhood policing plan. So while the force is holding steady at its current size, it will not grow in the foreseeable future.

  • Alkimom June 22, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    JH- yes you are right, it is not Friday or Saturday, but it is the last day of school for Seattle Public schools.

  • AlkiCabCompany June 22, 2010 (11:19 pm)

    if responsible adults avoid Alki then it will be like today..just a bunch of kids running around with no adults. So it doesn’t make sense to just never go to Alki and give them the beach. We should make our presence known and let them know it’s our beach too. I wonder if all this wouldn’t have happened if there were more adults around. Lord of the Alki Flies..I tell ya.

  • Traci June 22, 2010 (11:21 pm)

    Thumbs up for the police presence!

  • Mike June 22, 2010 (11:44 pm)

    I recommended it last year. Lots of big 70’s 4×4 pickups blasting country music. The kids will leave.

  • JustAnObserver June 22, 2010 (11:56 pm)

    Just remember not to jaywalk.

  • Noelle June 22, 2010 (11:57 pm)

    A new West Seattle Tradition?

  • Brad June 23, 2010 (12:13 am)

    I walked Alki from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight. I figured it was the weather that brought everyone out…didn’t realize today was the last day of school. There was definitely an unusual amount of police activity, but mainly what I noticed was a lot of smiling faces. Teenagers, adults, kids, more teenagers, beachcombers, sunbathers, volleyballers, rollerskaters, skateboarders, bicyclists, kayakers, restaurant patrons, signature gatherers, dog walkers, cruisers, tailgaters, tatoo models, subwoofer afficianados, and lots and lots of walkers, all with smiles on their faces. (Well, some weren’t actually smiling, but I think that’s because they were concentrating so hard on looking cool, posing, sucking in their stomach, etc.)

  • Garden_nymph June 23, 2010 (12:20 am)

    Kudos Seattle police.

  • Islewrite June 23, 2010 (12:43 am)

    Here’s a bit of history for newcomers and young whippersnappers. Summer has always provided action at Alki. It’s just that guns add an extra layer of weirdness, whereas in my youth, fisticuffs were more popular. Ah. The summer of ’69: Woodstock, the Tate/LaBianca slayings, and this…all in one week.


  • BaconFat June 23, 2010 (5:50 am)

    Good for Alki! It’s amazing that the cops show up before any shootings or murders. Bummer for Belltown residents

  • k June 23, 2010 (5:59 am)

    thanks SPD. please keep up the presence and pressure on the gangs.

  • Rick June 23, 2010 (7:10 am)

    Yo! Bob Loblaw, the keggers were usually behind the horseshoe pits if memory serves me correct. But don’t ask me what I had for lunch yesterday.

  • coffee June 23, 2010 (8:09 am)

    I have to say if I hear one more time, “my child never does X” I am going to scream….

  • a concerned WS parent June 23, 2010 (8:38 am)

    What is going on around Alki? We would like our beach community back. These gangs need to go somewhere else- not welcome!!!! It is unfortunate that the police presence need to be there- but if this is what it takes- I hope it will continue.

  • Kristina June 23, 2010 (8:46 am)

    I love Alki, and I go there all the time, year round. And I should clarify – I’m not afraid of teenagers, or their music, or whatever. What I don’t like is gangs showing up in their colors, the knowledge of a shooting last year, and fights breaking out. In our group there were maybe 14 responsible adults (fabulous people! :-) ), so we weren’t lacking that. But I felt like if our children got 50 feet away, it wasn’t safe. I HATED that feeling. Next time at 6pm I’ll be heading home, and that makes me sad. If we want to roast s’mores, we should be able to do so in full safety, without worrying about gang activity. Another poster was right – it’s guns that freak me out. Fist fights? I’ll just step away. But guns? I don’t know how to deal with stray bullets, and I don’t want to find out. Kudos to the SPD for stepping up – maybe they really can take care of this.

  • Huindekmi June 23, 2010 (8:46 am)

    The other ‘last day of high school’ tradition has also occurred. The other night, kids drove through the neighborhood egging cars. Just like clockwork.
    Gee, isn’t vandalism fun?

  • KT June 23, 2010 (8:48 am)

    I wonder if there was ANY police presence on the beach before the troubles started (and I don’t mean a police car crusing through)? It seems like the same story every summer.

  • M S June 23, 2010 (9:46 am)

    here we go again…

  • alki_resident June 23, 2010 (9:55 am)

    Living on Alki… Well, I should have done my research before making the purchase. I look outside my windows on a sunny day, and literally see kids standing on top of moving cars, dancing. Stereos so loud that my double-paned windows vibrate. Exhausts from cars and motorcycles rivaling the stereos. People racing in cars/motorcycles. Drunks stumbling. Kids fighting. We heard the gunshots last year. The cars cruising back and forth, and forth and back. And you know what? Almost NONE of those incidents goes recognized. No cruising violations cited, no noise pollution tickets, the drunks keep on stumbling, and the kids keep on stunting and racing – without consequence. When this Summer’s shooting(s) occur/occurs, we can only hope the police presence on Alki’s drastically improved. Alki’s a playground, with no rules. I remember years ago when a child was run over by a man on a motorcycle (who was doing stunts) – he didn’t do time. The drunk who drove his Porsche into the sound, off of Alki, escaped legal recourse. When will the police start recognizing and penalizing this behavior down here – it would seem many people get a free pass on Alki.

  • Elizabeth June 23, 2010 (10:12 am)

    The mayors office and the councilmembers are responsible for having the Policemen’s hands tied for not being able to arrest the 200+ crowd of gangmembers.

  • HolyKow June 23, 2010 (10:18 am)

    They need to get our the SPD Darth RV (mobile command center) and park it down there, let the air out of the tires until October and have a steady stream of uniforms and bike cops milling about.

    Thanks would be a start to keeping this BravoSierra in check….


    • WSB June 23, 2010 (10:35 am)

      Darth RV was firebombed last year & was dying before that anyway.

  • tincanrocket June 23, 2010 (10:25 am)

    Thanks SPD and Alki residents. Together we can keep things safe and enjoyable for everyone.

  • mk June 23, 2010 (11:00 am)

    Why are these gangs allowed to congregate? They obviously don’t have good intentions. This is a place for families and kids who respect and appreciate Alki. Thanks to the Seattle police. Personally, I think stricter action should be taken with the ones who could care less about our community. This type of action would not be tollerated in places like Kirkland, Bellevue, or Madison Park. Keep up the good work SPD and let our Summer be safe and sane. and don’t let a few ruin it for everyone else.

  • autumn June 23, 2010 (11:12 am)

    I walked our dog down to Alki last night to check on my teenaged daughter, what I noticed was a complete lack of parent/responsible adult presence. It felt like the cops were milling about just waiting for something to happen, with a confrontational stance/ attitude.
    What if we had a parent patrol, or adult mentors who hung out at Alki? Instead of viewing large groups of kids as the enemy maybe we should get to know and befriend them. Kids, teens, need adult guidance and mentorship.

  • Civik June 23, 2010 (11:24 am)

    KT, there was definitely police presence before all the evening crap. Was with my kid at whale tail when the kids and definitely gang members were gathering.

    There were police patrols through the area while we were there.

    We went home well before it started to boil over because I figured it would regardless of the police presence.

  • McSpadeen June 23, 2010 (11:29 am)

    The police need to start running plates for warrants…that’s what they do in Kirkland. That way you arrest the clowns before they start trouble.

    McGinn is a clown!!

  • Dave June 23, 2010 (12:31 pm)

    I avoid Alki on a warm, sunny days like the plague as it’s a magnet to the low rent, high violence crowd. Give me a cool drizzly, overcast day and it’s a beautiful, relaxing place to hang out. I agree 100% that SPD isn’t doing all they could be doing down there to keep the peace.

  • John June 23, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    SPD wasn’t doing anything. I walked by when three of them were sitting on a bench drinking softdrinks talking about women. Tax money at use. FTP.

  • STHO107 June 23, 2010 (3:21 pm)

    Thanks to the SPD for a great job! I have lived across from Whale Tail Park for 40 years and although this last day of school looked like it was going to be a terrifying night for me and my neighbors, the police were right there breaking up gang activities. Thank you, thank you!

  • Schmoopie June 23, 2010 (3:59 pm)

    I was down on Alki with my teenagers, right after school let out, trying to enjoy the sunshine. We had our ice cream, and all got out of there as the crowds swarmed in. There were way too many people down there!

  • Russ June 23, 2010 (7:29 pm)

    My son, an honor student and WSHS varsity football player was one of the OBSERVERS of the fight that resulted in the arrest.
    He and others in the crowd were randomly maced by one of the officers AFTER they had subdued the participants.
    I am under whelmed, livid, and looking into my rights regarding this unprovoked assault.
    If you were there, or a loved one was injured or assaulted by the SPD, I urge you to step forward and demand a formal investigation into the behavior of involved officers.
    Additionally, when you CHOOSE to live adjacent TO A PUBLIC PARK, you can expect that people will attend the facilities on nice days.

  • Jill June 23, 2010 (9:22 pm)

    Russ I’m sorry to hear what happened with your son, but I’m not buying the “people who choose to live there should expect that” stance. No one who lives anywhere should have to expect their neighborhood to be trashed by non-residents intentionally causing harm.

    Now that I read others’ posts about not letting troublemakers take away the beach, I am rethinking my position about avoiding it. Thanks for that point of view. AlkiMom, that just sucks about your daughters’ shoes. Such a pointless thing and so maddening.

  • Jill June 23, 2010 (9:31 pm)

    Oh, and to add to my previos post, Russ, if it’s a public park that’s being overrun by thugs, why should I as a taxpayer have to “expect” that? Not a chance.

  • Maureen June 23, 2010 (9:41 pm)

    In addition to dealing with Alki Beach activity, the Police were having to deal with over 100 teens who swarmed Whale Tail Park, fighting all over the place, then only disbursing when the Police arrived. As soon as the Police left, they came back and started fighting again. Thanks to the Police, the group finally went away. I am glad the Police were there to help out.

  • KS June 24, 2010 (4:09 pm)

    Agreed Mark, The gang unit black cop cars were SpEEEEding so fast up admiral with sirens ablaze and even driving in the oncoming lanes. For no reason. There was no need to freak everyone out and almost cause accidents at the admiral junction.

  • Alki Homestead June 25, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    There were about 1,000 kids down here on Tuesday. Thankfully, the police made a presence (overkill or not — at least they were here). Those of us who live here year round welcome police presence on the last day of school, especially after last year’s shooting. We’ve come to expect huge parties every night around Whale Tale in June; however, haven’t heard as many this year. Police have been around much more frequently at night with megaphones telling kids to leave. Thankfully, they do. Thanks SPD.

Sorry, comment time is over.