UPDATE: Man jailed after West Seattle High School incident that led to a letter home

FIRST REPORT, TUESDAY NIGHT: We asked police tonight about the incident that led to this email to West Seattle High School families from principal Brian Vance:

As summer approaches, we continue to focus on instruction, a safe and secure school, and timely communications to families.

I want to share information regarding an incident that affected our school community. We are sending you this letter to update you on the facts and to assure you that we are doing everything we can to support our students, and that all students are safe.

This afternoon, school staff were alerted to a stranger on campus who threatened a student and then left campus. Following district protocols, students immediately reported the incident to security staff and the Seattle Police Department was called. SPD was able to find the suspect off campus and take him into custody.

We are very proud of how our students and families responded to this incident and reported their concerns appropriately. I continue to ask for your partnership in reminding your students about safe and appropriate conduct. If students hear about any potentially inappropriate or dangerous behaviors, please have them contact a staff member immediately. Reporting is a responsibility when someone is hurt, in danger or in an unsafe situation.

Please be assured that the safety and security of our students is a top priority. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We happened to have a team member at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting when we received that letter, forwarded by a parent. So we asked Capt. Pierre Davis about the incident. He said the man was outside the school, verbally harassing students, and at one point tried to get in, claiming he was a student, though he is way past high-school age. He is someone with mental-health problems who is known to police, the captain added. We don’t know the suspect’s status yet, though, as we don’t have the case number and haven’t found an obvious match on the countywide jail register but will follow up further tomorrow.

ADDED 2:16 PM WEDNESDAY: The 30-year-old suspect remains in jail. We just received the report narrative from police, which says the call was dispatched just before 1 pm Tuesday:

I was dispatched to 3000 California AV SW (West Seattle High School) to investigate a man who threatened to shoot a student at the high school. The remarks on the call stated, “10 MIN AGO, UNK MALE WAS TRYING TO GET INTO SCHOOL, TOLD COMPL HE WAS A STUDENT BUT APPEARED LATE 30S, THRET TO SHOOT STUDENT, NO WEAPONS SEEN”

In route to the call, Officer Constantin located ARRESTEE standing near California AV SW / SW Hanford ST. When I arrived on scene, (suspect) was detained by Officer Constantin and myself. I patted down (his) waistline but did not find a weapon. Officer Freese arrived to the high school and began talking to VICTIM/( and the other witnesses. The victim and witnesses were all high school students.

E stated the following: He noticed a male (suspect) walk onto the high school campus through the iron entrance gates. (Suspect) began tugging on the locked gym door. The gym was occupied with students at the time. (He) asked (Suspect) if he was a student. (Suspect) replied that he was student.

…verbally challenged the male again. (Suspect) responded to 2 by stating that he was going to go get his gun, come back and shoot . On a scale from 1-10, 1 being not scared at all and 10 being extremely scared, stated that he was a 3. t did not see a weapon on (Suspect)’s person. was transported from the school to (Suspect)’s location and positively ID (Suspect). provided a sworn statement. Three student witnesses with 2 were transported from the high school to (Suspect)’s location individually. (Witness) provided a sworn statement and positively identified (Suspect). (Witness), provided a sworn statement and positively identified (Suspect). (Witness) positively identified (Suspect). W refused to provide a sworn statement. Sworn statements were uploaded to DEMS.

I observed security footage of the incident. (Suspect) is seen approaching the school at 1245 hours. He enters the property from the parking lot located on the west side of the school. He enters through the west entrance of the school. Immediately after entering the school, (Suspect) is seen standing by the gym doors. Then, (Suspect) appears to be having a verbal altercation with someone out of the frame of the camera. The verbal altercation last less than 2 minutes before (Suspect) is seen walking away from the school at 1249 hours. (Suspect) told Officer Constantin (post-miranda) that he was attempting to get into the school’s gym to play basketball and denied threatening

This is the suspect’s third booking into jail this month, according to the jail-register entry’s log. One was related to a hit-run crash, the other related to a failure to appear for a hearing in that case. The log also shows that he spent six months in jail last year, June through December, related to an assault case in which, according to the court document we just downloaded, he punched a Metro driver in the face downtown.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: The suspect’s bail is set at $22,000.

14 Replies to "UPDATE: Man jailed after West Seattle High School incident that led to a letter home"

  • Onion June 19, 2019 (5:45 am)

    I walked through Hiawatha Park on Sunday and observed a man near the tennis courts using abusive language at anyone who came within 20 yards of him. I’m guessing it was the same person.

  • Mike June 19, 2019 (6:14 am)

    He is someone with mental-health problems who is known to police, the captain added.”This is what’s so frustrating.  Our politicians, judges and public defenders continue to promote allowing people, who put kids in danger, to be on the streets.  Use your vote, let’s stop the cycle.

  • B June 19, 2019 (8:17 am)

    Students at WSHS weren’t told about this. I as a student just found out about this through the blog, so thank you. 

  • Janice Connors June 19, 2019 (10:57 am)

    Yeah, my student didn’t know anything about it either. I got the e-mail, and when I asked if Mr. Vance made any announcement to the student body, the answer was no. Police cars were observed at lunchtime however. Seems unlike Mr. Vance. He is usually  so good about informing everyone!!

    • B June 19, 2019 (11:46 am)

      It was upsetting that we weren’t informed about this. Luckily, we have the blog

    • Karen June 19, 2019 (3:42 pm)

      I got no letter of email.  My student knew nothing about this. Go WSBlog!!

      • B June 19, 2019 (5:20 pm)

        The blog is a LIFESAVER sometimes

  • Concerned WSHS Parent June 19, 2019 (12:16 pm)

    I can’t believe parents and students were not notified earlier. When there was someone on the run and nowhere near the school a few months ago-it was panic and shutdown of the entire school and area. Here, we have someone with serious issues threatening students on campus and the entire school is open. I disagree with the post above – this school and its leadership have not been forthcoming about these issues and often drop the ball on communication with families. Poor leadership at this school since Medsker left.

  • WSB June 19, 2019 (1:58 pm)

    I just got the police-report narrative on this – details of exactly what happened, at least, as told to police. Check back shortly – I’ll be adding it above by 2:15 or so, as well as checking on the suspect’s status. – TR

  • ARPigeonPoint June 19, 2019 (2:53 pm)

    Holy moly! This was the guy who punched the Metro driver??  Serious question – at what point can someone be declared a “danger to society” and involuntarily committed?

    • WSB June 19, 2019 (4:24 pm)

      There unfortunately have been more than a few people who punched Metro drivers. I don’t see any evidence this one (which happened last June on a downtown/north of downtown bus route) was covered, though my search turned up other attacks on other Metro drivers (different suspects, different victims).

  • WSB June 19, 2019 (5:32 pm)

    I have to reiterate that the big thanks goes to the parent who forwarded us the email. Principals are not required to send letters home, much less required to send copies to local media when they do (although a couple other schools do voluntarily include us in these communications and we really appreciate that). Meantime, an increasing amount of police work happens off-scanner – incidents are often dispatched directly to officers’ screens, and all we might hear, if anything, is, “We’ll take call 12345” without ever hearing what that turned out to be, unless it results in a big response, someone texts us, and we’re able to go to the scene and ask. … We did get a question at some point yesterday about police “near” WSHS but we didn’t hear/learn anything further until the evening forward of the note. We aren’t always able to get followup info on things we’re asked about but we try our best and once we do get a toehol of info as in this case, you can count on us to keep following up.

    P.S. Unless it’s a forward of something as in this case, our 24/7 text/voice 206-293-6302 is always the best way to reach us. – TR

  • Greg June 19, 2019 (9:42 pm)

    Thank you for the update, Tracy. We should all be grateful that it was able to be handled before someone was hurt. And, what concerns me here is that we learned after the incident that this happened about 15 minutes before lunchtime when students were getting reading to leave campus – and none of them were told – unbelievable. Call me paranoid, but if an unknown individual approached a school, threatened students and said, “I’m going to get a gun and shoot you.” I would not have allowed students to pour out into the halls, parking lot and surrounding streets. There is something not quite right here and the leadership team and security at WSHS needs to provide answers.

  • Keith June 19, 2019 (9:58 pm)

    Thankfully no scholars were hurt.  Hopefully the gentleman in custody will get the care he needs.

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