UPDATE: 1 arrest after reported gun sighting puts Chief Sealth, Denny in ‘shelter in place’

(WSB photos)

2:19 PM: Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School are in “shelter in place” right now, the district confirms. – with police investigating, following a report that someone might have been seen with a gun at Sealth. There is NO report of anyone having been injured – this is precautionary right now. More as we get it.

2:25 PM: We’ve just talked to police at the school. They say the person who was reported to have been seen with a gun is believed to have left the building. (According to dispatch description, it’s believed to be a female former student.)


2:30 PM: SPD says five have been “detained” (which doesn’t necessarily mean “arrested”). Our crew says that’s happening on or near the Southwest Athletic Complex fields south of Sealth but it appears police are leaving without anyone in custody. If you’re seeing a helicopter, it’s TV.

2:41 PM: SPS says the “shelter in place” is over and the schools will be dismissed as normal. SPD says officers have found marijuana (where, they haven’t said) but no weapon.

2:55 PM: Per scanner, officers have found the person they were looking for, at Westwood Village.

3:18 PM: Only one police car remains at that scene, at Rite-Aid, and operations inside the store appear to be normal. The suspect was reported in custody a short time ago; we’ll be checking on whether she was arrested. (And if and when we get the messaging that goes home to parents, we’ll add it here.)

3:56 PM: Here’s what police have just reported via SPD Blotter:

Seattle police arrested an 18-year-old woman Wednesday afternoon at Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle after she was reportedly seen with a firearm.

At around 2 PM, a fellow student reported seeing the young woman drop a firearm in bathroom, before picking it up and leaving the school building.

School staff called police and put the Sealth and nearby Denny Middle School campuses in shelter in place.

Officers identified the student alleged to have a firearm and found her at the Westwood Village shopping center. Police were not immediately able to locate the handgun, but arrested the 18-year-old for a firearms violation.

During the investigation, officers also attempted to contact a group of students near the school after they ran from police.

Officers were able to contact the group of students and determine they were not connected to the young woman seen with the firearm. Police, however, did find a bag of marijuana while attempting to contact the group, but it remains unclear whether it belonged to any of the students.

ADDED 6:58 PM: Denny principal Jeff Clark just sent us the letter he and his counterpart at Sealth have e-mailed to families:

Dear Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School Families,

We want to inform you of an incident that involved both Chief Sealth and Denny today. At around 2:00 PM, a Chief Sealth student reported to her teacher that she saw another student with what looked like a gun. The teacher notified the office. The administration called 911 and both Chief
Sealth and Denny went into a shelter-in-place. The police responded immediately to the Chief Sealth campus. After a police investigation and assessment of potential danger, the shelter-in-place was lifted. Shortly thereafter, Seattle police arrested an 18-year-old Chief Sealth female student at Westwood Village.

Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of students is our top concern. We are proud of how our students and staff responded to this incident.

We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Aida Fraser-Hammer
Principal Chief Sealth International High School

Jeff Clark
Principal, Denny International Middle School

49 Replies to "UPDATE: 1 arrest after reported gun sighting puts Chief Sealth, Denny in 'shelter in place'"

  • JoB February 3, 2016 (2:46 pm)

    oh my.. so that’s why i have a helicopter hovering over our house …

  • Jason February 3, 2016 (2:48 pm)

    Well I think we’ve had enough fun with Sealth this year, time to take the daughter out.

    • Claudia February 3, 2016 (4:41 pm)

      I’m with you….really struggling on what to do over here!  This is getting to be TOO much!!

      • JC February 3, 2016 (5:30 pm)

        I took mine out last year and now thinking about taking my son out of Denny.  

  • M February 3, 2016 (2:48 pm)

    My son just told me they’re still in Shelter In Place. 

  • W.C. Addle February 3, 2016 (2:58 pm)

    At this point, it might be wise to consider a full-time School Resource Officer (Armed) to patrol and protect our young Scholars.  Perhaps skim a little off of the “homeless emergency fund” to help pay for it?

  • Celeste17 February 3, 2016 (3:02 pm)

    Just saw SPD take someone from rite Aid in Westwood villqge.

  • Kimbee2 February 3, 2016 (3:02 pm)

    My boyfriend called me a bit shaken up. He witnessed police arresting a young woman inside the Rite Aid. They are now searching the store for the weapon. 

    • WSB February 3, 2016 (3:03 pm)

      Yes, thanks, that’s what we mentioned above re: WWV. Taken into custody but we’ll have to verify later whether arrested (not the same thing until they know they have probable cause) …

  • H February 3, 2016 (3:05 pm)

    I agree with W.C. Maybe time for medal detectors at entrance as well. Sounds like it happened on the out side but its out of control at this rate. My son is supposed to start attending here next year. I’m looking into other schools. 

    • JC February 3, 2016 (5:36 pm)

      Try the Washington State  online schooling.  It’s free for public schooling.  http://www.k12.com/   I have my oldest in this when I pulled him out of Sealth and thinking of doing the same for my youngest who is at Denny.  I have to admit, I like the curriculum and the teachers are awesome. 

  • Candy Rasmussen February 3, 2016 (3:05 pm)

    Will adjust the afternoon dog walk to a different route.

  • Angela February 3, 2016 (3:05 pm)

    I am so angry and afraid for our youth-how many times has Denny been in lock down in the last 2-3 weeks? I kept my son home one of those days- because the threat of a shooting appeared so threatening I felt-as any momma bear would-I have to protect my child. Something HAS TO HAPPEN TO ENSURE SAFETY- for our kids to be in school-how will our kids learn anything-academically if our kids are in an environment of constant fear-how can-expectations for kids or the teachers be met-when they are in constant crisis of a school shooting-I say PARENT STRIKE

  • Concerned student February 3, 2016 (3:07 pm)

    Sealth has sadly gone downhill since I started as a freshman. Although the student body remains wonderful, diverse, and eye opening, the administration needs to start putting money in the right places and prioritize the programs that actually make a difference in the lives of us- the students. I came here for an IB education and I’m leaving with a shaky faith in the ability of the people who control my education to make informed decisions. Sealth has so much potential- it just needs a big push.

  • Rr February 3, 2016 (3:21 pm)

    I don’t blame parents seriously considering withdrawing their students. I’m a west Seattle parent with a high school freshmen student. I share custody with her Ballard dwelling father and we made the choice to send her there for academic reasons mainly. Since the start of the school year they have been locked down twice for similar (gun) concerns. It’s a problem everywhere unfortunately. 

  • Sealth Parent February 3, 2016 (3:24 pm)

    Those of you looking for other options, good luck finding the perfect school for your kids.  And regarding Sealth going downhill the past few years, it is the Principal.  Get a new Principal! 

    • JC February 3, 2016 (5:38 pm)

      I agree.  Not to fond of the principal and have heard how disappointed the students are in here.  I took my son out of Sealth because I got fed up with the lack of support I needed with him.  He is doing well with the http://www.k12.com/ online schooling.  

  • Sealth Parent February 3, 2016 (3:25 pm)

    RR, my point exactly (regarding Ballard lockdown)  It has happened at all schools.  There is no one perfect school.

  • Doree Fazio-Young February 3, 2016 (3:30 pm)

    Ladies and Gentlemen I can assure you that both schools are very safe. I’m a lunch lady at Denny and have been for 24 years we both have excellent security staff who work together to keep our buildings safe. I haven’t missed 1 day this year or in the past 10 years due to a safety or security issue 

  • Jason February 3, 2016 (4:09 pm)

    I realize it’s a problem pretty much everywhere and that there is no perfect school, nor am I blaming any of the faculty – it just starts to wear on you as a parent,  and I’m sure in many cases as a student.  It’s not just the lockdowns, I’ve heard reports of roaming groups of boys grabbing girls’ butts recently, etc. It just seems like it’s getting harder for some students to feel safe and not become distracted by all this.   It seems that the schools have done a pretty good job with these weapons issues I guess, but really how much of a threat have they been so far?  What happens if one of the kids with the guns is a little more wound up and ready to start pulling the trigger?I’m just starting to wonder what the payoff is for having to navigate all this for 4 years.

    • Rr February 3, 2016 (7:48 pm)

       I didn’t even remotely mean to suggest your concerns for your child were invalid because there are issues like this every where. If my child were at this school I’d be right where you are on this and at the end of the day these are our children and it is our prerogative to do what we feel is best by them. I think one more lock down or shelter in place at my daughter’s school and I’m home schooling! We certainly don’t have any responsibility to subject our kids to anything approved of by any one else that goes against what our own intuition tells us. Go Dad ! Your child is lucky to have such a concerned parent in her corner.

  • Angela February 3, 2016 (4:10 pm)

    I understand there is no perfect school-and please let me remind everyone DENNY MIDDLE SCHOOL AND SEALTH ARE JOINED BUILDINGS 6 GRADE-12th Grade are not only on the same property-they are in the same building!! I had to go inside the school one morning-Denny-to locate a staff member-was beautifully diverse-BUT-THE CAOS!! Was overwhelming-soooo many kids!! In the halls everywhere-I was so caught up in the commotion of kids getting to lockers-going to class-For a few minutes couldn’t remember where I was to locate the classroom! So-miss lunch lady who worked there for 24 years-what would you recommend for parents? Of both schools-how do we trust after at least THREE lockdowns in THREE WEEKS-that our “scholars ” our students our KIDS-are getting what they are attending for-AN EDUCATION-how do kids learn-focus-absorb anything being taught to them when there is an environment of CAOS and fear constantly? How do teachers TEACH-effectively during lock downs? How -does anyone on that property-of 6-12 graders plus facility perform expectations when their fight/flight responses are ACTIVATED-not 1x.,,.not 2x….3x over 3 week span of time? I couldn’t-I wouldn’t- work in that environment why are we -why do we have to-send our kids and expect them to?

    • Current Student February 3, 2016 (4:37 pm)

      Just to clarify, we have had a “shelter-in-place” three times this year. A shelter in place is different from a lock down, as it allows teachers and students to continue working in a locked building. It does not effect our ability to move from class to class and does not stop teachers from finishing their lesson plans.Denny and Sealth are connected by one hallway, and as a high school student, I rarely see the middle school students. What high school is not chaotic? It is safe to say that every high school has students running around, talking, laughing and rushing to their lockers to be prepared for their next class. I see your concern in the effect of gun-related dangers on the education of Sealth students. There was a day a few weeks ago where I wondered if I should attend school, or stay home to avoid the dangers surrounding a gun threat aimed at Sealth. I decided to attend school, and my classes, presentations, and tests carried on with little to no interruption. I felt safe in the presence of the staff and administration and the teachers did not have trouble teaching that day.

      • Claudia February 3, 2016 (4:54 pm)

        I am also a concerned parent of a 6th grader at Denny.  I too, pulled my daughter out the day there were threats of gun violence.    Yes, there are “issues” in EVERY school….but the problem at hand right now and lately, is the safety of our students/children!    Seems to me that since the first S.I.P (3 in last few weeks), the principal has improved his notification time to parents.  I’m guessing parents emailed regarding this concern, thus the change.  My questions for today, is how the hell did a “former” 18 year old student get in the building???   If metal detectors go up, I will 100% pull my child.

        • MsD February 3, 2016 (7:05 pm)

          Wait, that doesn’t make sense.  You are (understandably) concerned about a former student with a firearm getting into the building, but you will pull your kid if they put in metal detectors.  You realize that metal detectors exist to keep people from entering the building with guns, right?

          • WSB February 3, 2016 (7:20 pm)

            I’ve added the letter sent home to Sealth and Denny families. It identifies the suspect as a student (for the person who noticed the early report saying police thought they were looking for a former student).

      • Friend February 4, 2016 (6:46 am)

        Thanks for your thoughts.  It’s hard maintaining perspective as a parent as our children matter more to us than the world, and at moments like these we feel helpless.  

  • Current Student February 3, 2016 (4:22 pm)

    Chief Sealth is more than the events happening around it. As a student, I am inspired every day by my hardworking teachers. My success is accredited to my own commitment and the endless support from the staff. There are many aspects that Sealth can improve on, and I have witnessed several administrative changes since I started attending.  However, this has in no way caused my education to be less valuable than what another Seattle high school has to offer. The quality of a high school is subjective to how much work a student puts into their experience . If you are weary about sending your student to Chief Sealth, please consider its dozens of positive qualities against the very few unfortunate events that have happened near the school this year.

    • Bill Bob February 4, 2016 (8:07 am)

      Thank you for such a great post and you did it with great grammar! Some of the adults on this comment board cannot take the time to do the same. Thank you and thank Sealth for a nice education!

  • Sealth Parent February 3, 2016 (4:23 pm)

    Angela, do you mean chaos?  I’m trying to figure out what caos means.  I’m assuming chaos.  I have been up there during classes and after school and it’s pretty crazy.  Have you been to other schools to compare?  I haven’t so I would find that interesting to find out if it is chaos or not.  I picked my kid up from Denny this afternoon and she didn’t seem bothered by it at all.  My Sealth student wasn’t upset either.

  • Jason February 3, 2016 (4:31 pm)

    Of course she means chaos, Sealth Parent… It’s cool that your kids aren’t bothered by it, I mean they have a parent that makes fun of people’s spelling so they’re probably pretty thick-skinned, but have you considered maybe some kids are bothered by it?

  • Denny Parent February 3, 2016 (4:38 pm)

    Angela-  my kid has been through all three “shelters in place.”  I don’t believe they have been lockdowns.  Per conversations with my son, his fight/flight response has not been activated at all!  He reports after the shelter in place announcements, his teachers have calmly kept on teaching.  Thank goodness for the teachers and staff for not provoking the fight/flight response.  Yes, the hallways are chaotic.  Isn’t this true for most Middle Schools?  I am SO tired of these two schools getting a bad “rap.”  The teachers are amazing…must be a reason they are still teaching there???  Can’t be because they are living in fear and scared to go to work?!   Maybe we should research how many Seattle Public schools have had shelters in place this year.   I doubt Sealth is in the minority. Difference is we have the WSB where incidents are reported quickly.  I’m going to the Denny Open House tomorrow night.  Looking forward to sending our youngest child there next year!

  • Scubafrog February 3, 2016 (4:43 pm)

    Another gun at Chief Sealth.  I stand by my assertion that the principal handled the first gun incident poorly (a few weeks ago) – he should have called 911 immediately.  It’s clear to me that this school needs new leadership, and much more security.  Chief Sealth needs metal detectors, and a Seattle Police Officer on staff.   I wouldn’t feel safe with my kids at this school.2 guns in a matter of weeks.  Pretty scary.

  • mok February 3, 2016 (4:45 pm)

    Well said, Current Student. 

  • Chuck February 3, 2016 (4:48 pm)

    I’m sure the bag of weed did not belong to the students. You know, they were just holding it for somebody else. 

  • Bonnie February 3, 2016 (4:53 pm)

    I 100% agree with Denny Parent.  My son went to Denny and now Sealth and I think both are wonderful schools.  The teachers are wonderful and caring.  I agree, if it’s so bad and they fear for their lives why do they stay??  

  • concerned parent February 3, 2016 (4:56 pm)

     As a parent of one current  sealth student and one that graduated in 2014 , our family has been very happy with the academic success both have had at sealth. That being said, i find it very alarming  that at just halfway through the school year we have seen MULTIPLE  gun incidents resulting in a shelter in place. Even more concerning is the way they are handled by the school and namely the principal. The lack of communication is not ok.

    The recent post turned rumoris a perfect example. NOTHING  was emailed, robo called or posted until AFTER school was underway for the day even then it was limited. As parents our first concer is the safety of our kids. I realize we live in the big city and unfortunately violence sometimes happens. However at school kids deserve to be safe. In my opinion the buck stops with the principal.  I am very involved with my children’s education and as such i expect the same from the school administration,and they are failing to react quickly or swiftly enough. Its time for a new principal at csihs

  • newnative February 3, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    I am confused, as the initial report states the suspect was a former student.  The updates refer to her as a student.  so, which is it?  why would a former student be milling about?

    • gun witness February 5, 2016 (6:14 am)

      She’s a former Sealth student, a junior. She dropped out at the beginning of the year and was supposed to come back 2nd semester.

  • Roxy February 3, 2016 (5:20 pm)

    Current Student’s well reasoned and calm comments bode well for our future! Nicely stated CS.

  • Angela February 3, 2016 (5:24 pm)

    Thank you-for responses-students of Sealth especially appreciate ur thoughts-(“your”) from older-experienced students-it’s comforting to hear that-dispite a threat  of a school shooting-you and the facility-felt safe enough to absorb and perform educational responsibilities. Yes I have been in other schools-actually I’m a former preschool teacher-I know cHaos in context of education. I have also been an active participant in my sons education which was in the Kent school district-then he spent his first year in 7th grade in oak harbor where his father lives-back with me on 8th grade. I could be over reacting-honestly I attended Denny when I was in 8th grade-Maddison in 7th-times were much different then…,I have to be honest-I have a prejudice against 6-12th grade on same property-AND in same building-I know there is not a lot of mingling of students-chaos is inevitable-with that many students-ranging in ages from 11-18…on same property it’s a lot of stress. Add in threats of a shooting there-multiple times in last few weeks-well….my concern for safety I believe is legit-my reaction may be over the top-but that is what a momma bear does-if I don’t protect him who will?

  • Angela February 3, 2016 (5:44 pm)

    My sons reaction to threats have had anxiety-rightly so as he missed a medically nessasary appointment after school because he was unable to leave school to make appointment on time.  So-my reactions come not only from predjice of amount of students-fear of shootings-but frustrations of personal responsibilities outside of school are being affected-I had to miss responsibilities day he stayed home because of rumored shooting a few weeks ago-it appears it’s getting a little out of control and yes I’m frustrated angry-and yes-scared….its been too many times in too little time ok I’m don’t with my rant-I apologize if I I offended anyone-I’m a momma bear roaring-trying to protect my kid-

  • M February 3, 2016 (6:03 pm)

    I don’t hear about this kind of stuff happening at West Seattle High School. 

  • Joey February 3, 2016 (6:10 pm)

    Its definitely a problem just at Chief Sealth.  West Seattle hasn’t had any lockdowns this year other than drills.

  • A Sealth Teacher February 3, 2016 (9:10 pm)

    Iam a Sealth teacher. I travel 45 minutes from eastside to West Seattle every day for several years because I love my diverse and creative students at Sealth.   I start my lesson right after the bell rings and make sure that each and
    every minute is filled with new learning experiences for my students. I constantly learn new teaching strategies  so that I can foster global competence within my classrom.  I am grateful for working with a group of hardworking teachers who also share my passion for empowering students to identify their strengths.  Whenever there is a shelter-in-place, my students knew something was happening. Most of the time, they felt safe in the classroom.  

  • KAP February 3, 2016 (9:11 pm)

    I didn’t see the vague Alert text until 4pm. Texted my daughter to inquire, and she responds “idk, I think it was about a gun…”  On one hand I’m glad she’s taking it in stride, but on the other hand, her nonchalance reflects on the common-ness of these events. 

  • DIMS Parent February 4, 2016 (6:20 am)

    I get that they called it a “shelter-in-place,” but when my child tried to leave the library and go back to class she was quickly approached by school staff member.  He was abrupt and forced her to go back into the library. He advised her to stay there until she was told otherwise. She wasn’t scared until she started viewing it as a lock down. 

  • JCarlson February 4, 2016 (9:55 am)

    Really disappointed at the lack of support of our neighborhood school.  The students and teachers are trying their best to learn – lets remember how blessed we are to have a school to send our children too.  Now lets as a community insure that it is safe FOR ALL not just the students commuting to Sealth from west of 35th.  I am a Sealth alum and wouldn’t trade my experience there for the world.  I am so inspired by my peers from Sealth that are making a difference in the world and the Seattle community.  P.S. come support Sealth at the auction! Still tickets available:  https://chiefsealthptsa.schoolauction.net/auction2016

  • H February 5, 2016 (3:59 pm)

    Thank you JC I checked and Weds is for West Seattle High enrollment for waiting list. There’s a meeting from 8:30 to 10:30 to inform parents. I don’t dought Cheif Stealth teachers. My son is tutored for math by a teacher at Stealth even though he goes to another school. The staff there is awesome, but the children who attended are my concern. I don’t mean to offend anyone, my question is where are there parents who care. 

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