UPDATE: Why Gatewood Elementary ‘sheltered in place’ for a short time this morning

ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:34 AM: Thanks for the tips. Gatewood Elementary briefly sheltered in place this morning – it was over before we even could confirm it, and now we have details. Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tim Robinson tells WSB, “Around 7:45 am today, a crossing guard was parking her car in the school parking lot. A woman jumped in and said she had a gun. The crossing guard jumped out, the woman who made the threat took off in the car. Police came and took a report. Just as a precaution, the school was put into shelter-in-place (a step below “lockdown”) as the students and staff were arriving to school. The shelter-in-place was lifted at 8:10 am.” We’re following up with police.

11:56 AM: As is sometimes the case, now that some investigation has ensued, the story is different. The case number finally appeared, categorized as “harassment/threats,” so SPD media relations was able to look it up for us. The car was NOT taken, they say; a woman did threaten to take the car, the victim ran away in fear for her safety, and at some point the person who threatened her left the area and was not found.

18 Replies to "UPDATE: Why Gatewood Elementary 'sheltered in place' for a short time this morning"

  • sam-c February 25, 2019 (10:11 am)

    Wow, that sound scary.  Glad that the crossing guard was not physically harmed.

  • M February 25, 2019 (10:32 am)

    What streets did this car hacking occur? 

  • just wondering February 25, 2019 (10:47 am)

    Did they find the stolen car?

    • WSB February 25, 2019 (10:50 am)

      I don’t have any followup info from police yet (I don’t have the incident # and without it, media relations hasn’t turned up anything so far). I’ll add whatever I get whenever it’s available.

  • WS resident February 25, 2019 (11:54 am)

    I am glad the crossing guard was not injured as well – scary.  I’ll be interested if the police can find this thief. Great job by the Gatewood Principal for getting a shelter in place set up so quickly as the students, parents and staff were arriving. 

  • WSB February 25, 2019 (12:01 pm)

    Turns out the car was NOT stolen, according to police. Update added above.

  • Gatewood Mom February 25, 2019 (1:17 pm)

    The principal indicated in an email to parents that the incident occurred on Fauntleroy (it did not mention anything about the incident happening in the parking lot).

    • WSB February 25, 2019 (1:34 pm)

      Thanks, we unfortunately don’t have access to such emails unless parents forward them to us; our quote from the district spokesperson is via his email following up on our initial phone inquiry after a couple people texted us about the SIP, and we followed up with SPD after that. The incident is logged by police with the Gatewood Elementary address (4300 block of SW Myrtle) but incident logs can reflect the origin of the call as well as the location of the incident. – TR

  • Me February 25, 2019 (3:29 pm)

    Hi. Any Idea what this person looks like? Thanks 

  • Keven Ruf February 25, 2019 (3:32 pm)

    Another example of why this kind of reporting should be put on hold until the real story comes out.  It’s tantamount to spreading rumors and falsehoods.

    • WSB February 25, 2019 (3:48 pm)

      Quoting the spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools (a former journalist FWIW) is hardly “spreading rumors and falsehoods.” There were no “rumors or falsehoods” involved here. After texters messaged us to say the school had gone into shelter in place, we contacted SPS to verify that and to ask why; they confirmed it and told us the information they had; we then published an initial report and noted we were also following up with police; then we published what they told us. Sometimes in the course of an investigation, as noted, the story changes. More often, it does not. We always “show our work” – detailing where what we report comes from (reader report, spokesperson, talked to someone at the scene, online documents, scanner traffic, whatever is the case) and that is the best we (or anyone else) can do. – TR

      • Beth March 15, 2019 (11:52 pm)

        Thank you WSB for always following the highest journalism standards. Your work is very appreciated. 

    • Sukie February 25, 2019 (5:12 pm)

      Totally disagree, Keven. The WSB is a local resource and when something like this happens, the community wants real-time information. We all know the initial story might change so we can refer back for updates. 

  • M February 25, 2019 (6:03 pm)

    The concerning part is that there was an attempted car jacking at or near an elementary school in bright daylight. That person is still at loose in our community a block away from where Ryan Cox stabbed an innocent father. Living in this neighborhood I’d like to know a description of this person to be alert and keep me and my kids safe. 

  • Keven Ruf February 28, 2019 (2:05 pm)

    You should wait until the story is complete and then report it.  how is reporting something to the public that turns out not to be true a good thing?  It doesn’t matter who your sources are.  Trying to attain a 24-hour news cycle like Fox news is not a good thing.  Although it probably does get eyes on the  page, and increases ad revenue….

    • WSB February 28, 2019 (2:40 pm)

      3 points:
      (a) Our ad revenue is not CPM so we don’t make a cent more if we have good traffic or bad traffic. We sell flat rate. And we haven’t raised our (low) rates in 11 years. Nor do we sell national ads, run-of-site ads, etc. We make enough to get by.
      (b) We’ve been 24/7, fast response when possible, since WSB morphed into a news site more than 11 years ago. That’s what the community wanted, dating back to the power outages after the 2006 windstorm, when nobody else was reporting on what was happening in West Seattle and we weren’t even a news site (yet) but people were asking us what was going on. We do a lot more than cover breaking/”now” news, but it’s what people rely on us for more than everything else.
      (c) Yes, of course it matters where information comes from. Especially when your accusation was that we were “spreading rumors and falsehoods,” it’s important to point that out. We got reports of a shelter in place. We didn’t report it until we had confirmed it with a spokesperson for the school district. – TR

      • keven ruf March 2, 2019 (4:02 pm)

        If you want to be taken serious as a news source, you will want to prioritize accurate reporting, not rapid reporting.  

        • songstorm March 16, 2019 (8:07 am)

          I completely disagree.  WSB is a local, neighborhood/community blog and news source, and its readers want information instantaneously, which the hard-working folks behind WSB consistently and impressively provide.  Sometimes I see a police car go past and there’s already information on what’s going on — sure, it may turn out the initial report isn’t exactly what’s happening but I’d rather have at least a guess of what’s going on (oh, issue near Gatewood, avoid the area) than be left in the dark.  It may be a product of our hyper-information/digital age, but that is the age we live in and smart new sources adapt accordingly.  WSB is diligent about following up and documenting when information changes and its readers recognize that news stories tend to evolve over time.  They do the best they can with the information available at the time.    

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