CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office files charge in Westwood Village Target standoff

(WSB photo, last Friday night)

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a felony charge, attempted first-degree kidnapping, in last Friday night’s six-hour standoff at the Westwood Village Target store. As we reported that night, and in a Saturday followup, SWAT officers arrested 31-year-old Timothy A. Clemans after entering the store where he had been alone, with a knife, after customers and staff evacuated. The charge filed against Clemans this afternoon refers to one specific person he is accused of approaching early in the incident, a store employee who says he told her she was “a hostage” and moved toward her with the knife. She got away. As we reported in our followup, just one week earlier, a judge released Clemans from jail over prosecutors’ objections after he was arrested downtown for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The court documents say that three days after that – five days before the Westwood incident – Clemans, a Burien resident, called 911 “making threats against Target stores in Seattle and the surrounding area.” Today’s court documents note that his conviction history includes “Felony Harassment (2020), Assault in the Third Degree (2020), Displaying Weapon (2021), Assault in the Fourth Degree (2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2016, 2016), Violation of a No Contact Order (2018), and Harassment (2016).” He remains in the King County Jail, bail set at $100,000.

40 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office files charge in Westwood Village Target standoff"

  • Alki resident January 26, 2022 (5:29 pm)

    He wouldn’t be sitting in jail with felonies had State of Washington gave him the help he’s been begging for for years. He was hit by a car as a child. This could be any one of our kids. Somebody HELP him. He doesn’t deserve suicide by cop or anymore felonies. This state makes me ill. 

    • Regular Guy January 26, 2022 (6:33 pm)

      I don’t know who deserves felony charges more than someone who commits felonies. Unfortunately, we can’t have laws that only apply to people who haven’t experienced hardship in their lives.

      • Alki resident January 26, 2022 (7:56 pm)

        He has a brain injury thanks to the person that hit them with their car when he was a child. How is jail time going to help? It’ll make it worse. 

        • D-burger January 26, 2022 (8:44 pm)

          What is your suggestion then, Alki resident? He commits felonies regularly. He may do this because of a brain injury, but obviously it causes him to be extremely dangerous. This means he needs to be firmly controlled, with no options to live freely, because he’s demonstrated he can’t do that without being a threat to others.Social liberalism is dangerous when it infringes on others’ right to life, safety, and happiness. This person needs to be locked up. There is no “treatment” that will reduce his threat to others. Unless you’re proposing drugging him heavily and keeping him locked up. 

      • Bob Dole January 26, 2022 (9:41 pm)

        I’m pretty conservative on crime, but if you actually read this guy’s story, it’s tough not to feel a lot of compassion for him. I suspect many commenters don’t know his full story. The guy was begging for help…

      • Theresa January 27, 2022 (6:56 am)

        There’s  hardship and there’s mental illness.It’s important to distinguish. This man from what I’ve read, also has a TBI. He needs help, medication, not felony charges 

    • Rhonda January 26, 2022 (8:06 pm)

      I was severely, randomly attacked and hospitalized by a mental in-patient who was out on a supervised weekend outing with staff in the 80s. My attacker was getting years of “help” at a lock-down facility, yet was still dangerous to anyone around him. Receiving intensive mental health treatment doesn’t mean a person still can’t be a threat to the community.

      • D-burger January 26, 2022 (8:45 pm)

        Rhonda… exactly.  See above, readers.

    • Tom January 27, 2022 (6:16 am)

      Unfortunately this country long ago cut spending for Mental Health and now there’s no where for these people to get help. They end up dead or in prison. Their families can not control them.

    • Tom January 27, 2022 (6:16 am)

      Unfortunately this country long ago cut spending for Mental Health and now there’s no where for these people to get help. They end up dead or in prison. Their families can not control them.

      • WW Resident January 27, 2022 (3:19 pm)

        So Washington State is incapable of making mental health more of a priority for something that happened decades ago? 

        • T January 27, 2022 (10:12 pm)

          I’m not quite sure I understand your comment. I do know that the system was defunded starting decades ago. There is no choice but to let dangerous people go, laws to protect them from unfair and unsafe jail conditions but no mental health beds available. My uncle tried to end his life over 27 years ago, was deemed not a danger to himself or others and was successful exactly 24 hours later. He had been told there was no way to help him and he didn’t want to go downhill again and live like that. 

  • StopCuttingDownTrees January 26, 2022 (5:40 pm)

    This is the best news I’ve heard all day. Finally, this DANGEROUS criminal will be off of the streets for a lengthy time where he cannot hurt anyone else.

  • Person January 26, 2022 (6:04 pm)

    If it’s the same person, he has quite an interesting background. Also appears to have live-tweeted his Target episode.

    • WSB January 26, 2022 (8:34 pm)

      Reported and discussed in our followup (see link above).

  • cheeseWS777 January 26, 2022 (6:07 pm)

    This guy can get out for 10k maybe less to terrorize more targets. I am totaly against locking everybody up but even i see this as rediculous

  • Mike January 26, 2022 (7:01 pm)

    Maybe, just maybe, if we enforced the law and provided long term mental health treatment, he’d have been doing better and there would be far far far fewer victims.  He’s a victim of a complete failure in the system.  A system politicians have built to sustain their careers as politicians.  Again, victims lose when people in power don’t care.

  • Timber! January 26, 2022 (7:40 pm)

    Wait, this isn’t the same Timothy Clemons who wrote 911 programming code for the Seattle PD is it? (Google that name for the LinkedIn profile)

    • WSB January 26, 2022 (8:34 pm)

      Yes, as discussed in our Saturday followup (see link above).

  • Rara January 26, 2022 (10:00 pm)

    Lots of people go thru trauma at a young age. My sister being one of them. Brain injuries are bad. However unfortunate that is, you can’t put others at risk. I mean, geez, most serial killers went thru some sort of trauma from severe abuse. Should we give them a pass? He definitely needs some kind of help. Maybe someone who knows about his past can help tell the prosecutor know what is actually going on. Otherwise he’s going to go on and on in the system. Until he really harms someone fatally. If you know something, say something to someone that can help him. 

  • Marcus January 27, 2022 (5:47 am)

    Get him off the streets so he will not hurt anyone.  Give him the help/meds/counseling he needs.  Keep him off the streets until professionals deem him safe.  

  • Theresa January 27, 2022 (6:53 am)

    The police could have involuntarily detained him and taken him to the hospital where the DCR’s could  see him and hold him longer so he could get help..Jail is not the answer, but many people with mental illness wind up therre.

  • CarDriver January 27, 2022 (7:09 am)

    Based on recent news stories there is a SEVERE national shortage of mental health professionals. For those crying “we need to do more” what are YOU doing?? Are you going to switch careers? Are you going to demand your kids make that a career?? Clearly not a career path for a LOT of people. Why?? 

  • anonyme January 27, 2022 (7:11 am)

    While being mostly pro-law & order, I do think we should be building hospitals, not private for-profit prisons.  We need to examine our entire approach to mental health.  I don’t disagree that he needs to be contained for reasons of public safety, but what has happened to Mr. Clemans is not only an indictment of our system – it amounts to a death sentence.  I also think that Ms. Herbold should explain where the money went that was cut from the SPD budget to fund crisis counselors, at the same time pointing out that they would be useless in this situation.  The goal should be to prevent the crisis in the first place.  At best, a social worker can ease the arrest process – not prevent the crime.  The individual still ends up in jail, helping no one and saving taxpayers nothing.  I’d still like to know where the money went…

  • flimflam January 27, 2022 (7:15 am)

    he may well need mental health treatment but that does not excuse his crimes – it may shed some light on them, but doesn’t excuse them. i find the outpouring of sympathy a little misplaced personally.

    • Alki resident January 27, 2022 (5:31 pm)

      Of course you find the outpouring of sympathy misplaced, because this isn’t YOUR kid.

      • flimflam January 28, 2022 (6:34 am)

        no, it’s just that he has caused trauma and threatened others – you can try to explain that away if it makes you feel good i guess.

  • K January 27, 2022 (8:46 am)

    He has been begging for help and has been ignored time and time again.  Now because others have failed him, we need to lock him up and throw away the key as his punishment?  There are no winners here, and making one of the losers here a bigger loser by inflicting more punishment while continuing to deny him the treatment he needs won’t make the community safer.  Sure, it will make you guy feels morally superior for a minute, but he will get out of jail, and he will do so in an even worse state than he is now.  Future violence is not guaranteed simply because he’s mentally ill.  We can prevent future incidents involving others and I cannot for the life of me understand why so many people are so gung-ho to choose the option that guarantees exacerbation of his condition rather than treatment.

    • OneTimeCharley January 27, 2022 (11:36 am)

      Moral superiority? WTH? As for myself, and I am guessing many, many others here, I would simply like to go to my local retailer(s) without the threat of bodily harm or death. How is that me being morally superior? I think it’s a terrible situation, but if he cannot control his own behavior, then it must be controlled for him. Done. It’s that simple. There is no moral superiority here….just sadness and amazement that folks can’t wrap there head around this. He is a threat to himself and others. He must be restricted because of this. Where and how is secondary (no matter how unfortunate that truth is) to restricting his ability to threaten himself and others. Period.

      • K January 27, 2022 (11:58 am)

        But he’s not inherently a threat to himself or others just because he’s mentally ill.  The assumption that he is has no basis in fact.  Treatments exist.  He has asked for treatment.  He was denied over and over again.  To what end?  So someone can justify locking up a problem and throwing away the key rather than putting in the work to help him?  And that approach has the benefit of allowing one to sleep at night because now he’s “dangerous”–never mind the fact that that danger was preventable, and still IS preventable going forward.  Nope.  Mental illness=bad guy forever and always.  Throw away the key.  The mental health care system in this country is built almost entirely on the goal of making those without mental health issues comfortable.  This situation and the comments here on the blog are prime examples, because he most likely WILL be filed away, out of sight as a “solution.”

        • OneTimeCharley January 27, 2022 (3:28 pm)

          Attempted first degree kidnapping IS a threat to others. Maybe he’s innocent, but it was in plain view, so yeah….he IS a threat to others. Probably also a threat to himself, as he consistently behaves as if he is seeking suicide by cop. He has displayed repeatedly that he cannot control his own dangerous behavior so it must be controlled for him. Everything else follows after that. If there are no long-term, involuntary, inpatient mental health services available, then it’s jail.

          • K January 27, 2022 (6:42 pm)

            Attempted First Degree Kidnapping is what he was charged with.  What he did was call 911 and made vague threats because he had been denied services and felt he needed mental health services.  He called the cops on himself and said the things that needed to be said to get them to come, because when he asked for help without threats, the cops refused him.  You can paint it any way you want to, but denying him services is what is motivating the behavior, not some inherent violent tendency that exists because he’s mentally ill.  He was never a direct threat to anyone; he just knows what to say to get the response he needs.  Knowing a threat is needed in order to be heard demonstrates he is more in control than you’re suggesting (although now I’m sure someone will use that to decide he’s not really suffering from mental illness after all).  

      • flimflam January 27, 2022 (12:25 pm)

        I agree completely.

  • Donna January 27, 2022 (10:29 am)

    So there is “no treatment that would work”, and in the 1980s a person was assaulted by somebody on a supervised outing (and please do know that I recognize that had to have been terrifying). But the ‘80s are 40 years ago, starting to get close to half a century ago. Healthcare knowledge has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 40 years. Look what we’ve learned about diagnosing and treating cancer, for example. Mental healthcare knowledge about wellness and recovery has similarly increased exponentially. “No treatment that would work” —- are you up to date on all the studies and treatments for wellness and recovery? Where did you learn about all the treatment options? However, the question should not be are there any possible treatments? It should be “Are the current, up to date, state of the art treatments based on today’s knowledge of mental health wellness and recovery, readily and easily available to all who need them. Don’t say there are no treatments. Say that sadly in America we have not chosen to make effective mental healthcare readily available. 

    • anonyme January 27, 2022 (11:23 am)

      “Mental healthcare knowledge about wellness and recovery has similarly increased exponentially.”  This statement is flat-out false.  Please look up ‘exponential’ growth.  We do have new classes of drugs that are vastly over-prescribed and bring with them a host of new problems and side effects, ‘requiring’ even more drugs.  This has been a boon for the pharmaceutical industry; patients, not so much.  TMS shows some promise, but frankly, many diagnoses of mental illness are societal and not related to any chemical imbalance.  We drug people for breakups or losing a job, or who are disappointed that they can’t afford a BMW.  If drugs are to be used at all, then there’s a lot more work to be done to ensure that the treatment isn’t far more debilitating than the disease itself.  Availability of care is a separate but related issue that involves more than just mental health treatment.  Our health care system is nothing to brag about, and advances in technology are unrelated to the way care is delivered.

  • Pessoa January 27, 2022 (11:44 am)

    For those of you blaming society for failing Mr. Clemans, what treatment options did you have in mind?   Visit any group home for the mentally ill, and you’ll find chain-smoking, over-medicated “zombies” who have been robbed of much of their higher mental functioning as well as aspects of their unique personality.   

    This is the state of mental healthcare system.  It may be preferable to jail, it may be preferable to being out of out on the streets, but lets not fool ourselves that this is remotely close to “healthcare.”  The psychiatric industry has created a population of mentally ill with a diagnostic manual that grows thicker every year, with, of course, an ever expanding medicine cabinet of drugs that do nothing but mask symptoms.  

    • K January 27, 2022 (6:51 pm)

      Mental Health ERs are rare, but they exist, and we should have as many of those as we do ERs for physical illness. When someone is having an acute mental health crisis, there should be an acute care facility to help them, rather than only the longer-term options like therapy or hospitalization.  Just like people with other chronic illnesses have “flare-ups” that require emergency treatment and acute care to supplement their long-term health care regimen, many people with mental illnesses have the same needs.  Given a safe environment and supportive care, they can get through the acute mental health crisis and back to a place where they can function and focus on long-term goals again.  As far as I know, Seattle doesn’t have one of these (I don’t think Harborview counts), but this is the type of thing we should be pushing for in the conversation about how we treat those with mental health issues in our community.  There are choices other than incarceration or medication.  And they save money in the long run, even though they require an investment up front (like most infrastructure).  

  • Mj January 27, 2022 (5:32 pm)

    I just heard on KOMO news that the economic impact of crime in the US is $2.6 trillion a year.  This correlates into about $7k a year for ever person for a family of 3 people, $21k a year.

    • bolo January 27, 2022 (11:46 pm)

      Does that include white collar crime? (tax evasion, insider trading, investment fraud, wage theft, etc.)
      If so, that estimate seems low.

  • Nitequelle January 28, 2022 (12:32 pm)

    I agree, the guy needs help. I also need to be able to go to Target with my kids without fear of being knifed. 

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