Video: Beach Drive murder discussed @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

ORIGINAL 7:42 PM REPORT: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council seldom draws citywide media coverage, but a crew from channel 7 dropped in tonight to hear what Seattle Police had to say – and what citizens wanted to ask – about the Beach Drive murder case. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen spent about half an hour talking, and answering questions. We have it all on video so you can see for yourself if you couldn’t be here; topline for starters – no breakthroughs to report, but Capt. Paulsen reiterated that if there was something the public needed to know to be safer, they wouldn’t hesitate to share it, and that the department “is putting everything we have” toward solving the case. The only bit of information about the case itself that he revealed, in response to a question, is that they do believe Greggette Guy was killed at or “very close to” the lower level of Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint, during “evening” hours (the night before her body was found half a mile north). The meeting is still under way; more to come.

ADDED 9:36 PM: Added the video atop this story. It begins when Capt. Paulsen started speaking about the case, after spending about a minute and a half discussing other crime trends (major topline: car prowls are down dramatically), but otherwise is unedited, running 26 minutes, until no one had any more questions and he yielded the floor. Along the way, you will hear him address a few unrelated questions, including one about the recent Westwood Village gunfire (bottom line, no one arrested yet, but the Gang Unit is handling the case, and they don’t believe it was a random occurrence). (Still more to add from the meeting, re: other topics. P.S. We have created a coverage archive for all stories about this case, while it remains unsolved – find it here, with, as always, newest stories first.)

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: In case you can’t view the video, we have transcribed Capt. Paulsen’s opening statement about the Beach Drive case, before he invited Q/A, which focused on safety questions overall. Read on for that and notes from the meeting’s other speaker, an insurance-fraud expert with some eye-opening insights into car theft:

The transcript of everything Capt. Paulsen said before taking questions:

“I would love to be able to explain or answer questions – because we take these so seriously, as this type of crime .. we hold a lot of stuff close because our goal is to have the most professional, detailed and complete investigation, our goal is to get this person and to see it successfully through the court system.wth that, I don’t want to compromise the integrity of the investigation. That is also very important for you.

I can tell you, I’ve worked out here in WS since 2005, your West Seattle parks are safe – they do get a little busier in the warmer months, obviously … but we just did a check on what is the crime rates over on both the parks over on beach drive .. i think a lot of you saw those numbers posted … … very low numbers … i think a … I am comfortable in telling you those parks are safe. In light of the tragic homicide … One of the things i have done is thrown some extra patrol cars down in the area, it’s not so muc going to catch somebody or anything, but … this type of crim causes a lot of fear and we want to subside that fear by having this presence down there for you all. .. Trying to think what else I’d like to say in regards to that ..

If there was something that you needed to know that as our public, our citizens out here in West Seattle about your safety that you needed to be concerned about because we’re not expressing anything to you about the details – just know if there was something that I was concerned for your safety as a community, we would tell you, trust me, we would tell you, we would take steps to make sure you were all safe, hopefully you can kind of read between the lines of my cryptic messaging on that, so …

From there, he mostly sought to reassure questioners who wondered about the safety of walking on the beach, and whether there were any “personal safety devices” he would specifically recommend (no).

He also noted that he was moved and impressed by the 75-plus turnout for the walk and vigil on Sunday night (WSB coverage here), as a symbol of the fact Beach Drive neighbors are banding together. (Read Beach Drive Blog‘s thoughts on the situation, here.) And he reiterated two things you’ve heard here before over and over again, but can stand to be repeated again:
*Don’t hesitate to call 911. Don’t even bother trying to remember the non-emergency number. “Please just use 911,” he said.
*Get involved with Block Watch. Organize one if you don’t have one. (And join the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, which meets again next Tuesday – follow the link to its website to watch for details.)

Keeping an eye out in your neighborhood was also a theme of the group’s guest speaker, Scott Wagner of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

He had a long list of insurance-fraud crimes that might affect you – with a focus on cars. He talked about the 10 most-stolen cars – here’s the slide he put up with the current list:

Wagner declared that it would take him “about thirty seconds to steal one of these cars.” And he said those are often the models you’ll see “cruising your neighborhood,” since criminals tend to steal them to commit other crimes.

Some car thefts, he said, are springboards for other scams, such as stealing their vehicle-identification numbers, “cloning” cars – using one VIN for multiple stolen cars that are similar in appearance – etc. If you’re in the market for a used car, you can check its VIN at his organization’s website,, he said.

If you’re selling, don’t fall for scams such as someone claiming they will have the money to buy the car as soon as an insurance settlement comes through. If you have questions and concerns, his organization has a hotline, 800-TELL-NICB (though it’s not a substitute for calling police, he said).

And if you happen to see a tow truck in your neighborhood, maybe even picking up a neighbor’s car or an abandoned car, don’t assume everything is legal and above-board – write down the time and the tow company’s name, Wagner suggested, because it might not be, and if a detective or fraud investigator comes around later asking if you saw anything, the information might be helpful.

Current top trends in car-theft include odometer fraud, component theft and resale – airbags are the biggest, according to Wagner, with GPS and DVD players right up there – and thefts of xenon headlights.

He discussed some high-tech equipment that’s circulating among auto thieves, but acknowledged it’s not very common.

UP NEXT FOR WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: After a quick vote at the end of the meeting, a nominating committee is in place to come up with a slate of officers for the volunteer group’s next election. Meantime, its next meeting will be April 17, 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct as usual, and president Richard Miller says the guest speaker will be from the Parks Department.

36 Replies to "Video: Beach Drive murder discussed @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council"

  • Rhonda Porter March 20, 2012 (8:11 pm)

    Sharing the video would be much appreciated!

    • WSB March 20, 2012 (8:25 pm)

      Meeting just ended. I’m packing up and headed home, will get it on the site soon as I can. – TR

  • Aman March 20, 2012 (10:33 pm)

    Thank you for posting the video of the meeting. I didn’t attend the meeting. I did view the entire video though. Had I attended the meeting I would have asked how Ms. Guy was murdered. The public has a right to know.

  • Beach Drive Resident March 20, 2012 (11:41 pm)

    Aman- it’s come out about how she was murdered. Read the comments on the other articles about the murder.
    One thing I have to say, I live on beach drive and unfortunately have not seen a larger/more active police presence. I would love to; it would certainly calm some of my fears and worries- but I haven’t…

  • Fritz March 20, 2012 (11:58 pm)

    What difference does it make Aman? She was murdered… Her throat was cut.. It’s not a secret. Several news agencies have reported it.
    So now what? What are you going to do with the info?
    The whole point here is that an innocent person was apparently killed and the suspect needs to be caught.

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (12:58 am)

      I do want to say this again. That alleged cause of death is what *one* news organization reported, attributing to “police,” but not specifically to any particular police source. At least one other news organization stated it without ANY attribution, which is journalistically verboten, particularly for a piece of information like that (if you really did get it from a source who didn’t want to be identified, at least say that, don’t just state it without attribution!). Neither of those news organizations, by the way, were there on Beach Drive on March 12th covering the original discovery (we were one of two that did) – so they’re certainly not citing it from any kind of firsthand knowledge. As I have written elsewhere, police will not confirm or deny it *for the record*. I have asked, at a variety of levels. So, with regards to the reported cause of death, maybe it’s so. Maybe it’s not. My gut sentiment is the same as Fritz’s. The salient fact here is that someone killed Greggette Guy. Whatever the weapon or methodology, whether it was random or not, the person must be found, arrested, jailed, tried. But if anyone had a burning need to have police tell them, too, that they will not comment on the murder method, this meeting would have been the place to do it. Here’s hoping the murder is not unsolved by this time next month, but if it is, you have another chance to hear from, and bring a question to, police on the third Tuesday of April … – TR

  • ws_s March 21, 2012 (12:20 am)

    aman — I was there at tonight’s meeting, and just watched the video. Capt. Paulsen told us repeatedly that details of the case cannot be revealed in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation. The public does not have a RIGHT to know. The police have the right to make certain that the case is handled properly, and they are assuring us that any new information that’s important to public safety will be released as it comes up. Anything beyond this will not accomplish anything, despite our concerns.

  • JH March 21, 2012 (6:55 am)

    In respponse to “Beach Drive Resident,” I must differ. Every time I walk out the door or look out the window since the crime I see police officers or patrol cars. As terrifying as this murder has been, it is unlikely the killer will strike here again. We are probably in more danger driving our cars than we are of being attacked. But the murder has clearly heightened our sense of vulnerability and made us all more conscious of safety.

    That said, I do find it very disturbing to read that another woman (in her fifties as well) was found murdered in her backyard in Monroe last Sunday with her throat slit. We can’t know at this point if the cases are related, but I am going to trust that the police are working diligently on solving both murders.

  • Steph in WS March 21, 2012 (7:46 am)

    Just read the incident at Westwood. Didn’t know it happened. I am sick of all the ‘north end’ or ‘better part of West Seattle’ people saying they won’t shop there anymore or they feel scared or always felt scared to be there. WTF? White Center isn’t even as bad as living in San Jose Cali, people. Damn. Give it up. I always shop there and NEVER feel unsafe. I live on Highland PKWY which most of the ‘better parts of WS’ people would think is the ‘ghetto’. Westwood is safe as any other place. Look at what happened in your precious expensive neighborhood.

  • Aman March 21, 2012 (7:52 am)

    In journalism, the Five Ws (also known as the Five Ws (and one H), or the Six Ws) is a concept in news style, research, and in police investigations that are regarded as basics in information-gathering.[1] It is a formula for getting the complete story on a subject.[2] The maxim of the Five Ws (and one H) is that for a report to be considered complete it must answer a checklist of six questions, each of which comprises an interrogative word: (Wikipedia)

    Who is it about?
    What happened?
    Where did it take place?
    When did it take place?
    Why did it happen?
    How did it happen?

    The Why and the How remain unknown. The reporting on this story is incomplete. A murder took place in our community. We have a right to know.

  • The Shadow March 21, 2012 (7:52 am)

    If this helps, aman, here’s a link to an article in Slate that gives some good reasons why police sometimes don’t reveal details of a crime: . To summarize, reasons include (1) weed out ‘false confessors’ [it does happen!], (2)when they do get a suspect, they may inadvertently reveal nonpublic information, which shows either they did it,or know who did.
    @Beach Drive Resident: I think there is more police presence. I live nearby also, and while returning home at midnight last night, I saw a patrol unit parked at Schmitz viewpoint.
    I have no doubt that the SPD is doing everything they can to crack this case. I just hope, like WSB mentioned, this doesn’t become an ongoing mystery, like the Jeremy Peck case last year.
    Finally, I’d like to thank WSB for creating a great community resource. In this and other cases, your reporting has been of the highest journalistic standard. The comment sections have been well and fairly moderated as well. In the course of this, I learned a lot. Unfortunately, I was one of those ‘armchair detectives’ who offered a lot of speculation early in the case, speculation that generated heat but little light. Now that we know Mrs. Guy was a former WS resident, and had visited that spot in the past, her actions seem a lot less mysterious. All the same, it is easy to see how hurtful posing those questions can be.
    I think a lot of mine and other’s motivation is the fear that the killer was random. One can draw a certain selfish comfort in knowing a victim was ‘targeted’, because then one can think ‘it can’t happen to me’. A random killer is the most frightening because that means the tragedy of that night could’ve befell anyone, and Mrs. Guy had the awful bad luck to be in the right place at the wrong time, and the illusion of our own personal safety is shattered.
    Anyway, I have learned to try to think once, twice, and thrice before I post, and to think about the feelings of those who will read. I may reappear to ask the questions that need to be asked, but will choose my words a lot more carefully in the future,

    • WSB March 21, 2012 (8:31 am)

      Thanks, Shadow. And one last word for Aman, because I will not get into a back-forth here and the day’s work is already piling up. I’ve been a journalist for more than 30 years. My work seems to have been fairly well-respected along the way, including most recently the Muni League’s Government Reporting of the Year Award, which we will be honored to accept in a couple weeks. Of course there are far better journalists out there. And sadly, many far worse. I’m not remotely perfect or beyond reproach, and I will be the first to say yup, I screwed up, if I do. But to claim my work is incomplete is unfair and untrue. I have asked the questions. I ask them in stories big – like this one – and of much less consequence, like “why did a ‘for lease’ sign go up on the Charlestown Café?” I spend my days and nights seeking answers and reporting what I find out. Sometimes seeking the questions is even more important than finding the answers! There are cases where the answer(s) just is/are unavailable. Period. I have no idea if you’ve ever done this work for a living so I won’t assume you don’t know what it’s like, but it is often frustrating, and time-consuming, and maddening. The truth, however, is: No, you do NOT have a right to know. I don’t have a right to know, either. We have the right to ASK, but no one is obligated to answer, no matter who the asker is. Example: On a matter of less import but somewhat similar circumstances, one of my ongoing frustrations involves a development site whose owner not only won’t answer journalists’ calls/notes, but won’t even answer their own PR agency’s calls. Seeking a particular bit of information, I have scoured publicly available information from hard-copy document files to online case notations to signs on a fence to tracking down people who might have heard/seen something providing a clue. Despite all that work and all that time, you could ask me the question about that development and I will tell you the same thing – I don’t know and they’re not saying. And they have the right to not say, even in the face of many compelling arguments. Doesn’t mean my work is deficient because I can’t get them to answer. The sin for journalists is in the not asking – and in the getting-it-wrong … TR

  • Casey March 21, 2012 (8:52 am)

    I agree that it doesn’t matter how she died, and it’s really not our right to know (unless maybe the killer is caught) and even then I know of many times when the way it happened isn’t enough and people want to know why and that simply isn’t something we can force a person to tell us. I’m actually glad that the police know what they’re doing and are keeping what other information they may have from us despite the backlash from west Seattle, because when a suspect is identified it might actually make it feasible to convict them. And isn’t that what everyone wants, justice? I’ve watch the show “the first 48” many times where the suspect is brought in and says something and the detectives say that was never released to the public, which goes right along with TR saying they either did it or know who did. So thank you TR and WSB for keeping us as informed as we possibly could be and for doing such a great job reporting for our community.

  • Aman March 21, 2012 (9:26 am)

    WSB: No one claimed your work was “deficient.” Just incomplete to date as to the reporting of the “why” and the “how” of Ms. Guy’s murder. I’m confident that you have been working on it.

    The SPD is renown for being selective in how it parses out information to the media. The SPD are public servants. I maintain I do have the right to know the basic facts surrounding a neighborhood murder. I also recognize that the SPD has the prerogative not to release select facts of a case.

    I’m not asking for anything more than for someone from the SPD to tell a media outlet how Ms. Guy was killed.

    I do hold a degree in Journalism from a respected University. I am familiar with “the trade.” I believe the Seattle media has additional “leg-work” to do reporting the most basic salient facts surrounding the murder of Ms. Guy.

    I keep six honest serving-men
    (They taught me all I knew);
    Their names are What and Why and When
    And How and Where and Who

    R. Kipling (1902 Poem) “The Elephant’s Child”

  • Jeff March 21, 2012 (9:39 am)

    We may not have a right to know anything, but it’s true that random vs targeted makes a big difference in how a person might feel about walking around the neighborhood.

  • WSResident March 21, 2012 (9:48 am)

    In defense of the SPD (and the comment by the women in the video who was not called back) I was! About 5 yrs ago there was a creepy man/situation around my house that I noticed for a few weeks. I called, reported the incident and within a few hours was called back and told the who, what, where & why of what was going on. Never saw him again. Thanks SPD!

  • Casey March 21, 2012 (11:03 am)

    ….and if there’s no suspect how can we be told if it was a random act or targeted?!

  • montanapup March 21, 2012 (11:07 am)

    We live on Beach Drive. I and my husband have noticed increased SPD along Beach Drive. They are doing their best to make us feel safer and give justice to Mrs. Guy. And no, we do NOT have a right to know the details of her untimely death – that is for the SPD and its detectives to decide for the sake of Mrs Guy so that her killer can be brought to answer for her death.

  • 2 Much Whine March 21, 2012 (11:15 am)

    Hey, Aman, If you’re such a hot shot journalist, start a blog or a newspaper, get people to read it, get sponsors to fund it, write articles we care about and get the SPD to answer your questions. Until then it might be best to follow The Shadow’s lead and think thrice before you post. You’ve made your point (which you have a right to do). Stating the same thing over and over serves no purpose. You could always start another thread in the Forums section and people that are like-minded could praise you for your insight.

  • Bouncer March 21, 2012 (11:35 am)

    I’m pretty sure that legally, the public DOES have a right to know…eventually. The police may keep information close to the vest for as long as reasonably necessary, but I don’t think there is any controlling legal authority that has stated that police have the right to withhold information indefinitely. (FOIA, etc)

  • OLD RESIDENT March 21, 2012 (11:57 am)

    Have they said at all or is there a way to ask if the Monroe death could be related at all to this death? Thanks!

  • shut it March 21, 2012 (12:01 pm)

    I cannot believe that the Aman person is questioning the reporting of the blog. UNBELIEVABLE!! This is one of the most precious resource in Seattle. Want to see an incomplete story? Check your local news outlets. The blog writers have a top-notch reputation with media outlets including Seattle police. I think their reputation speaks volumes for a once ‘little blog’. They have become a force to be reckoned with. They were the reason The Times decided to even run neighborhood blogs on their front page. It’s the first place I go to get my news because I know they verify everything and I can rely on the information. I love the community connection they provide. My life would be worse without this blog. No one cares about your education. I too have a background in journalism and I know it means nothing if you don’t have years of experience behind it. It’s the doers of the World that make change. Why don’t you start doing your part and get off this string.

  • NotMe March 21, 2012 (1:06 pm)

    I don’t know about the WSB being one of Seattle’s “most precious resources” but it is pretty convenient. Aman, I don’t know what your beef is today, but your belief that you have some sort of “right” to know details of something that has no concern to you and that you have nothing to do with only proves you actually think you are “entitled”… get over it. With your collective comments, I don’t believe you have any degree, certainly not in journalism.

  • Scoutmom March 21, 2012 (1:08 pm)

    Aman. Stop now.

    WSB is reporting all the answers available. You are calling her work incomplete when you shouldn’t be. The facts available are what’s considered incomplete.

    Do you realize how offensive you are coming across?

  • Curious March 21, 2012 (1:13 pm)

    I am wondering if the woman murdered met someone at the beach?

  • Bouncer March 21, 2012 (1:45 pm)

    “your belief that you have some sort of “right” to know details of something that has no concern to you and that you have nothing to do with only proves you actually think you are “entitled”… get over it”

    I worry when people are okay with the idea of the government deciding what information the public has the right to hear. (with limited reasonable exceptions such as criminal investigations, etc)

  • LB March 21, 2012 (1:47 pm)

    This has been said before, but law enforcement will usually not reveal on the record or permit leaks about specific details of a homicide case when it is unsolved. How Ms. Guy was killed, if she was assaulted or robbed are all details that, if kept out of the media, could help aide in an arrest, charge or conviction down the road. Solving this case is far more important than satiating curiosity.

    I think we should assume this was done by a stranger and was random unless / until we are told otherwise.

    I assume LE are investigating possible connections with other regional unsolved homicides, like those in Bremerton and Monroe? Maybe I shouldn’t assume this – we know jurisdictions don’t always work naturally together. This would be a good question to ask the next time there is an opportunity to ask something about this case. It has come up on the comment boards here a number of times.

  • Tracey March 21, 2012 (1:53 pm)

    I understand why they are keeping some things underwraps. The problem is that the “cause of death” had already been put out there by another media source (Q 13 Fox & Crime Stoppers). Albeit, whether it was for half a day or one hour. Some people, including myself, read it and even mentioned it on this forum/blog before we realized that it was a mistake on the part of the other news media for having released that information. So, I am wondering how they are planning on controlling for that factor in the investigation. Meaning, if they had been hoping that only the killer would know the cause of death, that is really no longer the case now due to that media mistake.
    edited to add: I had planned to try to attend the meeting last night, but did not make it out of work on time.

  • WSResident March 21, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    Monroe? What happened there?

  • WSMom March 21, 2012 (2:23 pm)

    Today’s Seattle Times has a small article about a homicide in Monroe. A 59 year old woman was found Sunday morning in the backyard of a home with a slash wound to her neck. This is so unnerving.

  • LB March 21, 2012 (7:40 pm)

    FYI, I recall that the sketch in that Kitsap Sun article resulted in the questioning of the person of interest and search of two homes related to that person. However, an arrest was not made. I presume they are watching that person, closely.

    I think the tips in the Kitsap Sun article bear repeating:

    Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers suggests the following tips for residents:

    Avoid walking alone whenever possible. Walking in groups or pairs tends to be safer.
    When walking, appear confident and alert. Keep your hands free and don’t overload yourself with packages or other items.
    Avoid wearing headphones while walking, as they can be distracting and lessen your ability to notice suspicious behavior or potential threats.
    When walking at night, walk in well-lit areas and carry a flashlight.
    Carry a loud whistle or high-decibel personal alarm. The whistle or alarm should be carried in a manner which allows immediate access.
    Carry a cell phone.
    If you are followed by someone or feel threatened, use your whistle, personal alarm, or yell loudly while taking steps to remove yourself from the perceived threat.

  • Mike March 21, 2012 (10:18 pm)

    There’s always a chance that SPD knows something and does not want to release it to ensure whomever did the crime will be locked away for a very long time. Any possible trip up by SPD can allow the killer to get off with a lighter sentence or non at all. Our system is not perfect, give SPD some credit for doing their job.

  • ws_s March 21, 2012 (10:23 pm)

    LB — Thank you for providing this important information. After yesterday’s WS Crime Prevention Council meeting, I talked with Officer Kiehn about whether I/we should carry pepper spray. He advised me that I will probably be safer following the recommendations that you included here from the Kitsap Sun.

    Officer Kiehn said that if I delay running away to pepper spray someone, it puts me at a real disadvantage. The whole point is to get away. Also, by pointing pepper spray at someone, we can become MORE vulnerable, not less, b/c the guy can grab our hand, trapping us. He could then turn the spray against us, making it just about impossible for us to get away. Also, spray can easily get on us instead of the attacker if we’re downwind of it.

    He strongly advised screaming, yelling rape or fire or whatever it takes to get attention, and/or using a loud whistle or high-decibel personal alarm. …Anything it takes to get others to see what’s going on and get the guy away from us is what we need to do. Bottom line: Make a LOT of noise, and get away.

    THE SHADOW: Thank you for comment above. To be honest, I was put off by your earlier speculations. We’ve all probably had thoughts about what could have happened to Ms. Guy that horrible Sunday night. Clearly, speculation doesn’t help any of us. Our goal as neighbors is to do whatever is needed to make these isolated parks safer. And God willing, this never happens again, and the guy who did this is found quickly and put away for a very long time.

  • Loco in W.S. March 22, 2012 (4:51 am)

    @Shadow, I also was distanced by your first comments so, stick around and DO STAY.
    Your last post was meaningful. Thanks.

  • NotMe March 22, 2012 (11:08 am)

    Is it the “government” or just the local law enforcement? You are comparing apples to oranges. These are two completely different things – and it’s been stated, repeatedly, why they are not disclosing details on the murder. Stop trying to satisfy your morbid curiousity and calling it a “right to know” kind of thing. That’s ridiculous. I have an idea: since there seems to be some additional patroling in the area, walk up to one of the policeman, tell them you demand to have your right to know just exactly how she was killed. Yeah, see how far that gets you.

Sorry, comment time is over.