West Seattle Crime Watch: Student arrested after gun, bullets found at Chief Sealth IHS

5:20 PM: Just forwarded by multiple Chief Sealth International High School parents, this letter sent to families by principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:

I want to notify you of an incident which occurred today at our school. A few minutes before the start of school today, a teacher found a magazine from a .22 caliber gun in his classroom. There were 2 bullets in the magazine.

The teacher immediately brought the magazine to my office and we immediately began an investigation to determine how and when the magazine got there, to whom it belonged and the location of the gun that the magazine fit into. Naturally, our first concern was for the safety of all students and staff.

After a thorough investigation, we were able to quickly identify the location of the gun, the student who brought it to campus, and that the gun was not loaded. The student was arrested and charged with bringing a gun on campus and possession of a stolen gun. Please know that everything was handled in a safe and secure fashion without putting any of our students or staff in danger. The student was removed from campus without resistance. I want to applaud the security and the teacher for their prompt response to the situation.

This is the only notification/announcement we’re seeing – nothing from Seattle Police or Seattle Public Schools. So we have a variety of questions to follow up on, and will add anything more we subsequently find out.

5:40 PM: While the letter says the incident happened “before the start of school” – which suggests, in the 8 am hour – the e-mail is time-stamped 4:49 pm, and the only reference to the incident we’re finding on Tweets by Beat is this call, time-stamped 4:25 pm. (Added clarification at 6:21 pm: The automated tweet was at 4:25 pm; it says the incident was “reported” at 3:52 pm. That is likely the time the report was finalized in the system, as we subsequently got confirmation it happened and was called in in the morning.)

5:46 PM: We did just reach Det. Patrick Michaud at SPD media relations, to get some additional details: The student is 15 years old and was taken to juvenile detention. The gun was a .22-caliber handgun and it was indeed confirmed as stolen; the letter’s use of the word “charged,” however, is inaccurate, as it would be up to prosecutors to decide whether to file charges. The police report says the school called SPD about this at 11:25 am.

28 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Student arrested after gun, bullets found at Chief Sealth IHS"

  • willbehonest December 16, 2015 (6:08 pm)

    Everything about this incident is odd and suspicious.

  • Right to Safe Kids December 16, 2015 (6:17 pm)

    When I worked at Rainier High School, there was a security person at the door. Full time.

    Was this a private security company or an off-duty cop?

    At what point was SPD called in? [Edit: you added the time at the end of your updated last paragraph]. Why the delay in contact? Is there written protocols created by principals? School district? How does this work for each school? Do teachers receive regular training in this? The security “person”?

    If it is a private security guard, is this person in uniform? Full time? Part-time? Just one on campus? More?

    Time to share the deets, I’d say.

  • Sps parent December 16, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    This is a good question! At our elementary school (arbor Heights) there has been some people unauthorized in the stem building several times over the last month and the parents still have not been notified. I wonder is SPS actually has a real policy notifying parents or if they just wing it? Scary

  • West Seattle mom December 16, 2015 (7:01 pm)

    Did they wait over 3 hours to call SPD or were the police or other security people helping with the investigation?

  • M December 16, 2015 (7:04 pm)

    How did the school know they didn’t have an potential active shooter. It sure doesn’t seem like they took this serious enough. I certainly won’t be sending my kids to that school.

  • Bradley December 16, 2015 (7:08 pm)

    It’s disgusting when filthy-rich, drug-addicted Hollywood celebrities, dysfunctional lawmakers, and rock concerts are better protected than our school children. Where are our priorities?

  • CSIHS Mom December 16, 2015 (7:30 pm)

    While I appreciate the response by the teacher and security, I am concerned SPD was called almost 3 hours after the magazine was discovered. How is this this putting the safety of the students above all? My son, a student at Chief Sealth, was not aware this incident occured. Isn’t this a matter for lockdown or evacuation until the situation is resolved? I would like to know SPS protocol.

  • DIMS Parent December 16, 2015 (8:37 pm)

    My student is at Denny. Last I checked, the two schools are conjoined. My middle schooler walks over to CSIHS at 9:30am for band. It’s scary to think this is all unfolding as she’s navigating her way from one school to the other. Shame on Jeff Clark for not notifying parents of an incident that also involves students under his watch.

  • Scubafrog December 16, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    “Please know that everything was handled in a safe and secure fashion without putting any of our students or staff in danger.”

    It sounds like none of it was handled in a safe and secure fashion. Why did the school perform this ‘investigation’? Why didn’t they contact 911 immediately upon finding the magazine?

    This kid’s going to be out soon (given the extraordinarily lax juvenile ‘punishment’ in Seattle, remember Tubaman). I hope that if this happens with him in his next high school, something catastrophic doesn’t occur – and that school officials call SPD immediately, instead of trying to play cop.

  • Eric1 December 16, 2015 (10:23 pm)

    Bradley. Rich and famous people can afford bodyguards. Laws are for peasants from which lawmakers exempt themselves. You waive a lot of rights going to concerts/events when you buy tickets so they can search you as they please.
    Schools are supposed to be gun free zones (I am not being sarcastic, I like that). And you can’t just search students because they looks like they might have a gun (I like that too). Students have a right to a safe, hassle-free environment.
    Unfortunately, that also means those students that aren’t so great can often end up at school with a gun. With Seattle Schools under Department of Education supervision, you can’t just can’t expel or suspend kids anymore. Odds are on, this student is “familiar” with the staff due to the fact that after they found a magazine in a class, and it sounds like the teacher didn’t see it fall, the staff knew who to ask about the gun it belonged to.
    Complain to the school district and board if we find out that this kid should have been suspended earlier but was given “in school discipline”. It is likely that the 1% of bad kids is ruining it for everybody else.

  • Teresa December 16, 2015 (10:23 pm)

    This is disturbing. Can the blog find out more info? Why did the school respond by treating it internally (not calling the police for almost 3 hrs)? Why did it take so long for the parents to be notified? There could be good reasons. I would love more info.

  • dsa December 16, 2015 (10:53 pm)

    Honestly think about it, if the men in blue had shown up, the kid would have disappeared and never gotten caught. The principal or whoever wrote the letter said the situation was quickly resolved.

  • Jodilyn December 16, 2015 (11:01 pm)

    I agree Scubafrog. I’m a parent of two daughters who attend Sealth, and when I asked them about this, they had no clue. Not that students need to know every detail, but I would have liked to been informed at 8am when it first occurred, or three hours later when it was reported to police. At the very least…informed prior to the 5pm email sent out to parents from the Principal. I’d like to think my students’ safety is of the upmost importance.

  • Laura December 17, 2015 (1:43 am)

    I look forward to hearing the whole story, and to a review of safety practices by the school and administration. Hopefully this incident will result in a safer schools all around, particular for sealth & denny. There needs to be a coordinated response and communication system in place.

  • TheKing December 17, 2015 (4:42 am)

    The comments here are circling back to how the school staff handled this situation, a lot of second guessing. I find it odd that the outrage focus is not toward the parents of the student with the gun. I’m not saying parents are responsible for every mistake a teenager makes, but to put the staff under the microscope here is misdirected aggression. You really have to believe this has been a learning experience for all involved, this student may have had the weapon every day this year and finally got caught with nobody injured.

  • bmc December 17, 2015 (8:29 am)

    I hope this kid will not be permitted to return to school. Can they charge minors with guns as adults? Perhaps that would put some sense into these kids – or maybe not…..

  • wseattleite December 17, 2015 (2:19 pm)

    Lordy, the situation was handled with no harm done and the guilty party in custody. Based on the comments here, it’s no wonder the school wouldn’t let everyone know what is going on immediately before the situation is understood. I can only imagine the pandemonium and chaos that would be created by all the over reactors. Would certainly not help the situation.

  • KM December 17, 2015 (3:37 pm)

    Kudos to the school for handling this well and not causing alarm to the other students.

  • WenG December 17, 2015 (3:48 pm)

    It was handled and confirms my faith in Ms Fraser Hamer. I see no need in 2nd guessing or wanting to know as it happens. There was no active shooter. My student also didn’t learn about it until after the fact.

  • OldHippy December 17, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    I’m a parent of a student at Sealth, and my takeaway on this is that Principal Fraser-Hammer needs to go. When a teacher finds firearms or ammunition, the only appropriate response is to call the cops. The teacher that found the clip needs to be told not to touch the thing (preservation of evidence) as well as immediately initiating a response protocol. I don’t get the idea that anyone there has the first idea how to think about physical security. And for the record, I don’t mean to say that the school should be some metal-detector equipped, armed guard kind of vault- but when you’re facing a threat such as this, we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m really disappointed in how this unfolded and am grateful that no one was hurt.

  • Robert December 17, 2015 (5:51 pm)

    one question who is the little miscreants running buddies? how many of them are packing? has anybody in the office thought to check on that aspect?

  • RRS December 17, 2015 (5:58 pm)

    The school’s response is hardly the place to direct your anger. It’s hard to say based on such little information exactly how things unfolded, but we know that the kid was caught, police were called, and he was taken into juvenile detention. The problem is the kid, his parents, and whomever had an unsecured gun for him to steal. A kid at my child’s school brought bullets (as far as I know, that was all) to school, and I have no idea what, if anything, happened to that kid. We never got a memo.

  • Denny/AH Parent December 17, 2015 (6:16 pm)

    I am the student of a Denny Middle School 7th grader. Personally, I was impressed with the way the situation was handled. My son learned about the incident today via a letter from the Denny principal. Also, I received a robo call from the Denny Vice Principal. Bottom line, today when asked, my son said the incident was “mentioned a lot” by fellow students, but he “wasn’t scared” because it was “all handled.” As a parent, I turned this into a teachable moment. Oh my oh my, yet ANOTHER reason to give Chief Sealth and/or Denny a “bad rap!” Instead, let’s reference TheKing’s comment above: re: misdirected aggression and how long did the kid have the weapon? Enough said!

  • Bradley December 17, 2015 (6:54 pm)

    @OldHippy: I couldn’t agree with you more. The police should have been called immediately and the teacher who touched the magazine polluted the evidence. A crime had been committed (a minor with a dangerous weapon in school) and this was way outside of the scope of what the school can handle. The fact that this situation was resolved by the school without the police doesn’t mean it was handled properly. It simply means the school was very, very lucky. The police should always be called, first and foremost, whenever an unattended weapon/ammunition is found around schoolchildren.

  • Longtime West Seattle December 17, 2015 (7:17 pm)

    I am a parent of both a Denny and Sealth student and I think the way it was handled was just fine. What would have happened if they informed parents at the time the student was in the office? An angry mob would be pounding at the door. I can tell from these comments. I think Denny and sealth are great schools and am dismayed by these comments and how people are always quick to put the two schools down.

  • Denny/Sealth Parent December 18, 2015 (3:03 pm)

    I have to agree with others that it was handled fine.

    I don’t buy the “by touching the magazine the teacher contaminated the scene”.

  • TheKing December 18, 2015 (10:41 pm)

    I’m not saying anything new here, without naming names, there is plenty of blame to go around here for the decisions made with our money. Decisions teetering on the criminal line if you ask me. There is humor to be found in this situation but now they want to put a lid on I-5? Are you kidding me….?!@$% FINISH or stop the tunnel, resign and leave everything alone. Drunken sailors would spend our tax dollars better.

  • Bonnie December 19, 2015 (6:48 pm)

    Um…TheKing, are you posting to the right thread? Maybe you meant to post to the Bertha thread?

Sorry, comment time is over.