WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Threat suspect arrested again

Three weeks ago, we reported on an arrest following a police standoff at the Cal-Mor Circle apartment building in Morgan Junction. The 44-year-old suspect was accused of two incidents at Junction businesses, first threatening bank staff unless they gave him money (which they didn’t), then threatening to kill a store employee who asked him to put on a mask. His case ended up referred to Seattle Mental Health Court, where it was dismissed because he was incompetent to stand trial. The judge ruled that the suspect was unlikely to have competency restored in the time allowed by state law for a non-felony charge. He got out of jail after 11 days.

We’re mentioning this tonight because the same man was arrested again early today, same place, again after police obtained a warrant, this time serving it with SWAT help. The suspect is accused of going into nearby West Seattle Thriftway late last night and getting into a confrontation with staff who had previously barred him from the stsore, eventually trying to steal an item and brandishing a two-foot chain when they tried to stop him. (That turned the incident into robbery.) With the help of security video, police identified the suspect and went to his apartment to arrest him, which they did just after midnight. This afternoon a judge found probable cause to hold him for investigation of second-degree robbery. But the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tells us that’s also what happened in September, when he was arrested for a similar shoplift-turned-robbery at the gas-station mini-mart south of Thriftway, In that case, probable cause also was found for holding him on suspicion of second-degree robbery – but the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office never got followup documents from SPD, so they were unable to charge him. Days later, Municipal Court charges were dismissed in Mental Health Court for the same reason as the case earlier this month – competency and inability to hold him long enough for restoration to be likely.

In this case, he’s due back in court tomorrow for a bail hearing.

43 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Threat suspect arrested again"

  • Disbelief November 30, 2021 (10:09 pm)

    This system is so broken. Incompetent, so the criminals get released and keep on committing crimes. 

  • Skeptic November 30, 2021 (11:04 pm)

    How hard is it for the SPD to send the follow up documents?  Really?

  • Rob November 30, 2021 (11:13 pm)

    This policy/situation makes zero sense to me.  A person in repeated mental crisis commits crimes and endangers the community, but can’t be held because he’s….too far in crises to be competent to face charges?  I’m not blaming him, but the system is failing him and the community, no one wins here.

    • Ms. Sparkles December 1, 2021 (10:05 am)

      Well said Rob.

    • Meryl December 1, 2021 (6:44 pm)

      Hi, I agree with Ms. Sparkles. Well said! But I don’t understand why, if he is deemed incompetent to stand trail, why he isn’t brought to a hospital. No room? 

      • CAM December 1, 2021 (7:48 pm)

        A person who is incompetent to stand trial can be ordered to receive restoration at an inpatient facility (currently the only option in King County, outpatient is coming in near future) for a specific amount of time dependent on the severity of the alleged offense they are facing. If the judge determines they are either unrestored in that time or not likely to be restored in that period of time (for numerous reasons) they can be ordered to be evaluated for civil commitment. It is then dependent on if the DCR determines they are a risk based on their current presentation. In King County that can occasionally be influenced by the availability of inpatient bed space as mental health patients cannot be “boarded” at medical facilities while waiting for admission and the jails have to release them within a set period of time of their charges being dismissed. Build more local short term inpatient mental health beds. 

    • Megan December 1, 2021 (9:30 pm)

      Very well said!

  • Pat Garrett November 30, 2021 (11:34 pm)

    So when this inevitably turns into a Travis Berge ending one day, everyone will be deeply shocked and surprised, because who could have seen that coming? How likely is it that his eventual victims will be the children of those who keep the revolving door wide open, anyway?

  • Cranky November 30, 2021 (11:36 pm)

    Well, he’s certainly proven that he is a danger to society.

  • AdmyralByrd December 1, 2021 (12:51 am)

    Would be interesting to pose this situation to Ann Davison and Bruce Harrell and see how they’re actually going to change the situation.  This appears to be designed-in catch and release to avoid the costs of housing and rehabbing a perp.  I’m sure it’s someone else’s responsibility (maybe Jay or Lawsuit Bob) but they should at least provide the answer as to what is going to change to keep this from happening.  

    • CAM December 1, 2021 (7:49 pm)

      They can build more mental health facilities. 

  • Community Member December 1, 2021 (5:30 am)

    He is a danger to himself and others. To heck with charging him with a crime, he needs to be involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. 

  • anonyme December 1, 2021 (6:20 am)

    There’s no doubt that mental health services and facilities need to be greatly expanded, but disgorging the criminally mentally ill onto the streets is not the answer.  While not ideal, such individuals must be held in jail until there is a hospital opening. 

    • Jethro Marx December 1, 2021 (9:33 am)

      Having mental illness is not a crime; one cannot be “criminally mentally ill.”  You mean, since we haven’t taken mental illness seriously and we choose to spend our money on things other than care for those who need it most, we ought to hold someone accountable for the symptoms of their untreated illness and, meanwhile, put them in a dangerous situation so we can feel like we’re in a safer one. Excellent! Just like the old days where we shut them in asylums!

    • CAM December 1, 2021 (7:50 pm)

      Disgorging? That is illegal and a violation of their civil rights to illegally detain a person not convicted or accused of a crime in jail against their will. They could be seriously injured or worse in there. They are vulnerable. 

      • LivesInWS December 1, 2021 (11:48 pm)

        “They could be seriously injured or worse in there.”Whereas now they’re just threatening to seriously injure or kill other people.

        • CAM December 5, 2021 (11:44 pm)

          Allegedly. And not even allegedly at the point in time where charges have been dropped. I honestly swear sometime these comments make me believe people in this country want to live in the pre-Magna Carta days. 

  • Sigh December 1, 2021 (6:28 am)

    Our mental health system needs more resources.  This is terrible for those who encounter this man regularly, as well as for the man himself, who is in dire need of help but cannot get any from the state.

  • Alki resident December 1, 2021 (7:34 am)

    Sooooo he clearly is capable of possibly killing a person but he’s incompetent to stand trial so they release him? I have no words. 

  • Kat December 1, 2021 (7:37 am)

    I live in this same building 2 doors down. I have repeatedly contacted the Seattle Housing Authority regarding the danger this man is to myself and every resident in this building. At times I have been unable to walk out my front door fearing for my safety. Nothing has been done. Two weeks ago there was a police standoff trying to get this man out of his apartment for at least 3 hours.Our system is broken and for this man to continuously be able to get released and be a danger and a menace to society in is unbelievable. Every resident who lives here is in danger and I feel the Seattle Housing Authority has a responsibility to us and by continuing to allow him to live here and terrorize the residents and the community is a travesty. Thank you for those at the West Seattle Blog for getting the word out about the danger this man is.

  • oerthehill December 1, 2021 (7:58 am)

    I wish we had better and more mental health hospitals and a better system for executing mandatory hospitalization when a person’s mental health proves that they are incapable of taking care of themselves and living in society without being a threat to others. If this person was my son, I would be horrified that he was continually allowed to hurt and threaten others, but as a parent I have no options or ways to get him help because he just gets dumped back out there again. These people need more care to address their mental health especially if that means they can’t take control of their unsafe actions and then affecting others. We need a new mental health hospital system so bad.

    • anonyme December 4, 2021 (6:14 am)

      For those of you too young to remember, there used to be a robust national psychiatric system that included residential facilities.  Reagan shut them all down.  This was the beginning of the homeless problem, as many of the former residents ended up on the streets with nowhere to go. 

  • Anne December 1, 2021 (8:01 am)

    Until he actually hurts or kills someone -nothing will be done. Does he need help-absolutely-does the public need protection -absolutely! 

  • Jen December 1, 2021 (8:09 am)

    This is so sad in so many ways. Here is someone who obviously has some kind of mental health issue. Instead of getting him evaluated and treatment they just let him go so he can continue to threaten people and possibly escalate into something where he hurts someone. How does this help anyone?  

  • Jen Bach December 1, 2021 (8:54 am)

    Are there any photo’s so we can be on the lookout and avoid him?  And with elementary schools in the immediate vicinity, would be great if parents, teachers, and staff could know what he looks like to also be on the lookout.

  • Regular Guy December 1, 2021 (9:38 am)

    Sounds like this guy provides negative value to society, let’s please lock him away one way or another, we don’t need to tolerate this crap.   

  • Telollo Lasioa December 1, 2021 (9:57 am)

    Ghezzzzzzz….  that’s a really bad situation. 

  • shotinthefoot December 1, 2021 (10:13 am)

    the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office never got followup documents from SPD”  — where’s all the people defending the police now? If SPD had done their proper paperwork, maybe this fool wouldn’t have been back out on the streets. Maybe they were waiting to finish this paperwork until their sweet overtime pay kicked in and then simply “forgot” so they could pad their narrative about rampant crime and how much we need the SPD. Rinse and repeat. 

    • WSB December 1, 2021 (10:18 am)

      There is some possible context here. The patrol officers DID do *their* proper paperwork (it’s quite extensive). But there’s another step that has to be taken to compile info that could be used for charging a suspect. The KCPAO spokesperson notes that the police staffing shortage may be affecting this, as the department has repurposed detectives (who would usually pick up the cases from patrol officers) to patrol. I do not have stats on this, though, but am pursuing as a separate followup. – TR

    • Cmon December 1, 2021 (4:30 pm)

      Maybe time for an apology there shotinthefoot.  Whoops. 

      • Smoosh December 2, 2021 (12:58 pm)

        What apology is necessary?  A bunch of them quit because although they are paid very well they did not like that many residents here don’t hail them as the heroes they are not and now the department can’t perform its basic functions because apparently police need a hug and a hot cup of chocolate (on top of being overpaid) to be willing to show up and do their job.   Yeah the commentator went extreme in painting the failure of the department to do their part to get this guy to the best place we have for him as deliberate and nefarious their overarching point still stands:  this guy is not where he should be and maybe would be closer to the best place for him and us if SPD had dotted their Is and crossed their Ts, for whatever reason they didn’t. 

        • D-burger December 2, 2021 (8:08 pm)

          Smoosh, there’s a huge difference between being overpaid, and being allowed to work too much overtime. Seattle police are not overpaid when compared to other departments, considering what they are STILL required to deal with, which by the way I think are things they should NOT have to deal with; and therefore, pulling some funding from SPD to deal with the root cause of problems is a GOOD thing. If anything, other places don’t pay their police enough! 

          • smoosh December 3, 2021 (6:23 am)

            Looking at their pay scale aint too many jobs in the region that start at $40/hr and do not require a 4 year degree.  Aint too many as in none.  Then you throw in all that overtime and there you go.  All to be a city cop, kind of the bottom of the ladder in LEO world.  They are paid just fine thanks.

      • shotinthefoot December 3, 2021 (12:46 pm)

        LOL apologize for what? They short staffed themselves because they couldn’t be bothered to remember the “protect” part of “protect and serve” and be bothered to get vaccinated so they lost their jobs. SPD did a fine job of defunding themselves.  

    • Audifans December 1, 2021 (10:55 pm)

      I guess you just have to get your dig in about  how the cops are dopes and there isn’t any ‘rampant crime’.  Others will disagree with you. 

  • mel December 1, 2021 (10:35 am)

    seattle mental health court, is this held at harborview medical center, or at municipal building?  curious if SPD picks someone up and jails them – to see a judge that determines his mental capacity — is this without expert witness or testimony by medical professionals?  i might be missing something here, but i know HMC has mental health hearings — so am curious if he is being failed by ‘the mental health system’ or by our city courts? 

    • WSB December 1, 2021 (10:44 am)

      I covered some MHC hearings years ago in cases involving Ryan Cox. At the time, it was in Municipal Court. But aside from the passage of time, the pandemic may well have changed things.

  • mel December 1, 2021 (10:45 am)

    I clicked the link (responding to my own comment), the sea mental health court does have medical professionals to determine competency… but it still sounds to me like discharging to the street fails the defendant and the community.  if someone  is charged with a misdemeanor and the case is being prosecuted by the King County Prosecutor’s Office, anyone –including defense counsel‒ can refer the case to Reginal Mental Health Court. These cases may be referred at any stage of the proceedings, from pre-filing to post-sentencing. Referrals are typically made in court at the time that severe mental health issues are identified, simply by asking the currently-assigned judge to set an RMHC courtesy hearing., which can put services into motion for someone in crisis.

    • CAM December 1, 2021 (7:56 pm)

      RMHC is not available for individuals in Seattle. That is a County and outlying areas court system for those that fall into the District Court system. A person charged with a misdemeanor in Seattle is prosecuted by the City Attorneys office. The KCPAO was saying that they couldn’t file felony charges because they didn’t receive paperwork (based on quotes from this blog post) from SPD and thus the lower charges were filed in SMC which required less evidentiary basis, in poor phrasing, to meet probable cause for the specific charged offense. This wasn’t a failure of referring to the wrong court system. 

  • Jenn B December 1, 2021 (12:20 pm)

    Are there any photos available so we can avoid him if we see him?   With elementary schools in the immediate vicinity, it would also be great so that parents, staff, and teachers can be on the lookout for him.

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