West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to John Skerratt for the photo. From the “in case you wondered too” file, that’s the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that was looping the west-facing West Seattle shore for a while this past hour or so. It’s currently on its way back to Port Angeles. Earlier, police/fire were checking out a report of possible windsurfers in trouble, but that was debunked last we heard, though the USCG helicopter, and vessel, had already been dispatched.
9:49 AM: As mentioned in our morning traffic watch, it’s opening day for the Seattle Mariners, with their first game of the season starting just after 7 pm at T-Mobile Park. We’ve also just learned that you might notice U.S. Army helicopters in the area this afternoon and evening because of a planned flyover. The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (south of Tacoma) says that four of its AH-64E Apache helicopters (from Alpha Troop, 4-6 Air Cavalry Squadron), are set for the flyover around 7, preceded by up to three practice runs around 3:20 pm. The 16th CAB says their path will be north-south, so they might not be as noticeable over West Seattle this time.
ADDED 5:08 PM: Thanks to Carolyn Newman for practice-run video of the four helicopters:
Several people asked about those six military helicopters that flew over Alki/north West Seattle this morning. We made some inquiries and finally got some info tonight: The helicopters were from Charlie Company, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They flew from JBLM (south of Tacoma) to Boeing Field “for a unit event at the Boeing Museum … ‘readiness day,’ which is a day of the month where units do something outside of normal training to build cohesion or learn about something outside of their normal day to day duties.” They’re interested in photos – you can email 16CABPAO@gmail.com.
3:27 PM: With the murky, drippy weather this morning/midday, some wondered if the pre-game Army helicopter flyover previewed here Thursday had actually happened. Jerry Simmons caught two of the helicopters on camera, so there’s your proof.
7:45 PM: Here’s video of what it looked like from one of the helicopters.
(November photo from Gene Pavola)
Since military flyovers for stadium events so often bring questions when the aircraft pass over here, this time we have a heads-up: Four helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord are scheduled to fly over Lumen Field before this Sunday’s Seahawks/Rams game, which ends the regular season. We’re told the flyover around 1:20 pm will be preceded by up to three practice passes, which will likely include some time in holding patterns, The helicopters expected to participate are two UH-60 Black Hawks and two AH-64 Apaches, as seen in November.
(Reader photo via email from MD)
9:34 AM: Thanks for all the tips/questions/photos of military helicopters that have made a few passes. These kind of helicopters don’t usually show on trackers but we’re checking around. So far we’ve reached somebody at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who says it’s not theirs. … As for a Seahawks flyover, that game isn’t until 1 pm.
(Added: Reader photo from Gene Pavola)
Image search says the helicopters are Boeing AH-64 Apaches.
(Added: Reader video from Brandy DeWeese)
10:14 AM: Thanks to the commenter with the tip. The Boeing Field operations hotline confirmed to us it’s practice for a Seahawks flyover later and that they are Army helicopters but not from JBLM.
11:11 AM: None other than the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade just replied to us and tweeted directly that the helicopters ARE from JBLM – two BlackHawks and two Apaches – and were indeed practicing for the game flyover. “They flew up from (JBLM) this morning to work on their timing.” (If you follow the link to the tweet, you’ll see video of what it looked like from the field.) So again, that means you’ll likely see/hear them again before the 1 pm kickoff.
ADDED 2:35 PM: And indeed, they returned. Jessica got a closeup look south of Fairmount Park:
Lumen Field tweeted a photo of the view from there.
2:32 PM: Big response under way for a shooting in White Center. It’s reported to have been a drive-by shooting near the Hung Long Market shopping center at 9988 15th SW, with one person who has at least two gunshot wounds. The Guardian One helicopter is joining the search for what’s described so far as a “light brown Chevrolet” seen headed north on 15th. Updates to come.
3:02 PM: Our crew at the scene says the shooting appears to have happened right outside the aforementioned market. The victim, who was described as conscious, is being taken to a hospital.
3:15 PM: Southbound 15th has reopened. Investigators at the scene aren’t commenting.
5:52 PM: KCSO will tell us only that the victim’s injuries are not life-threatening, and that no one is in custody.
8:01 PM: Police are searching in Highland Park for three people who are suspects in an armed robbery. K-9 is already involved in the search, and the Guardian One helicopter is expected to join the search, so you might hear it soon over eastern West Seattle. The suspects were last seen in an alley north of Fire Station 11 at 16th SW and SW Holden. Per an exchange between officers and the helicopter deputies, the suspects might be linked to other robberies outside Seattle. The one who is reported to have had a gun is described as Hispanic, male, black clothing, red gaiter-style face mask. No other details yet.
(Added: Texted photo of one of the SPD cars involved in search)
8:22 PM: Archived dispatch audio indicates the holdup was at Seamart at 16th/Holden. Meantime, the helicopter and K-9 ended their search because the trail grew cold, possibly with the robbers having left via a getaway vehicle nearby. If you’re in the area and see anything suspicious on your security video, the SPD incident number is 2022-301827.
3:59 PM: Just in case you’ve forgotten, it’s holiday-weekend-getaway time, and that’s why the shared TV-news helicopter is circling Fauntleroy right now – taking a look at ferry traffic. It’s nothing unusual, per the most-recent update from Washington State Ferries – the #2 boat is running about half an hour behind schedule.
4:15 PM: It’s moved on, for now.
12:18 AM: Tuesday evening, police arrested four north-end bank-robbery suspects in South Park and White Center. It was a relatively lengthy helicopter-assisted operation, and the Guardian One crew has released video this past hour showing how it unfolded.
11:12 AM: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says that the four suspects will have bail hearings on Thursday, since they weren’t booked into jail until early this morning.
3:28 AM: A few people have asked about a low-flying helicopter doing loops along the northeastern side of West Seattle. We checked the flight tracker and it showed a Coast Guard helicopter that came down from Port Angeles about 2:15 am. A Coast Guard spokesperson we reached by phone told us they’re searching for someone who might have jumped into the river – the West Seattle low-bridge operator spotted an abandoned car that was still warm, with the keys in it, and possibly heard a splash, so they called for aerial help in searching, and the search is still ongoing.
10:40 PM: For those wondering, we haven’t been able to find out any followup information so far, but hope to on Monday.
That’s a screengrab from Flightradar24 a few minutes ago, showing the loops the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One has been flying. We’ve received a few questions from people wondering if there’s an incident; no, just loops, as far north as Lincoln Park and as far south as Des Moines. This happens every so often. Whether it’s training or patroling, we don’t know, but will inquire tomorrow.
4:31 PM: Thanks to everyone who asked about the helicopter search in Highland Park. Guardian One was assisting Seattle Police with a search. We don’t know yet what incident it’s linked to, but we do know they just took someone into custody in the greenbelt over Highland Park Way/Riverview Playfield. More details when we get them.
5:09 PM: No official info from police yet, and we couldn’t find officers on the ground, but scanner traffic and another reader tip indicates it was related to a stolen car.
6:05 PM: Guardian One confirms via Twitter that the search was for a driver who fled a stolen car.
7:54 PM: Even more details, and a photo, from SPD:
Just after 3:00 p.m., a parkgoer reported a man asleep in a red pickup truck parked on a foot path in the greenbelt area of Riverview Park. When responding officers contacted the man, he fled on foot into the woods. Police quickly discovered the truck had been registered stolen earlier this week in North Seattle, and spotted a rifle in the back seat.
With the help of King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One, SPD officers on the ground found the suspect hiding in the greenbelt and arrested him.
Police transported the 26-year-old man to King County Jail to book him for possession of a stolen car and unlawful possession of a firearm. It appears part of the rifle was still being constructed. Nevertheless, the suspect is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms. However, during the booking process at KCJ, the suspect deliberately punched a concrete pillar, causing injuries which required treatment at Harborview Medical Center. Officers plan to book the man into jail when he is medically cleared at the hospital.
Thanks for the tips. Our photo above shows a crashed stolen pickup truck that’s related to the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter search that’s been under way over 26th SW south of Roxbury. Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Kennamer told us at the scene that KCSO got word from Seattle Police that the stolen pickup was headed their way. Its driver crashed near 26th/100th and took off running. They’ve been searching with the helicopter and two K-9 teams but haven’t found the driver yet.
4:12 PM: Thanks for the texts. So far all we know is that Guardian One is helping search for a missing person.
4:23 PM: Search over. The missing person, a child, was found safe at home.
10:38 PM: Getting a few questions about this. The Guardian One helicopter crew was passing by when, they told dispatch, they picked up a Lojack signal indicating a stolen car, so that’s what it’s helping police with right now. They’re over Morgan Junction right now.
10:47 PM: They have the car in sight; police should be arriving on the ground momentarily.
10:49 PM: Officers have arrived; the car’s unoccupied, and the helicopter should be moving on.
(2017 US Army photo, UH-60 Black Hawk from 16th Combat Aviation Brigade)
Very early this morning, we noted on Twitter that a low, loud passing helicopter was identified on tracking software as a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk (similar to the one above). As it headed up the West Seattle shoreline, another one was flying over Vashon Island; it too crossed the peninsula, but headed east over Lake Washington, while the first one turned around and headed back south. Today, also via Twitter, we learned these were training flights. The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade (from Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma) said, “As the days become ‘shorter,’ our pilots will fly earlier in the evening to complete required night vision training flights. In the summer it does not get dark enough, early enough, to fly under night vision at hours when most people are still awake.” They added that, “At a given moment, during weekdays, there are several 16th CAB helicopters in the air all over western and central Washington.” More often than not, military aircraft aren’t identified on standard online flight trackers, but the two we heard in the midnight hour last night were.
Several readers have asked about a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and boat appearing to have been searching off West Seattle’s west-facing shore in the past few hours. We just checked with USCG Public Affairs. They explain they were called in because of an unoccupied “dinghy” – they found it and via a cell phone in it, traced its owner to Manchester (near the Southworth ferry dock). The owner said that the dinghy had gotten loose; it’s since been returned to its owner.
8:09 PM: If you’re hearing all the sirens – King County Sheriff’s Deputies and medics are converging on the Shell station at Roxbury/(corrected) 28th, where a shooting victim was found. Radio communication so far indicates they’re not yet sure where the victim was shot – possibly somewhere nearby, and then ran to the store before collapsing. Deputies are reporting a vehicle with bullet holes, too. Updates as we get them.
8:15 PM: So far they’re investigating the possibility it might have happened near Roxbury Lanes; the shot-up vehicle is in that area. Also note, the Guardian One helicopter is headed this way to assist in the search.
8:25 PM: The shooter is believed to have gotten away in a vehicle – no clear description yet – so the helicopter has moved on; deputies are also checking the Roxbury Safeway parking lot. The victim is getting treatment indicating life-threatening wounds and will be taken to the hospital by medic unit.
8:43 PM: The victim’s headed for Harborview; deputies are still talking to potential witnesses and trying to narrow down where exactly the gunfire happened. We’re told the car with the bullet holes may just have been caught in the crossfire. Meantime, KCSO confirms the victim’s injuries are life-threatening (reported in the early going as at least three gunshot wounds) and says “this will likely remain an active scene for several hours.”
10:07 PM: We’ve been monitoring, but no further updates.
9:31 AM: King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer confirms the victim died overnight. No arrest so far.
FRIDAY NIGHT NOTE: We’re aware that our coverage is being pointed to by websites claiming the victim was a well-known rapper. So far we have no confirmation of his ID, not even his age, but we’ll update if and when we get that from a credible source.
Several people asked us about a helicopter search off the west-facing West Seattle shore late last night. Flight trackers showwed it was a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. We checked with USCG Public Affairs just now and they told us they had responded to a salvage company’s report of a “red flare” in the area. They looked from both air and sea, and found nothing, nor could they get other confirmation of a sighting, even from Washington State Ferries, and no one was reported missing, so the search was eventually called off.
(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)
At the podium in the photo is U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Anthony “Jack” Vogt, and he’s the reason that two USCG helicopters flew together along the west coast of West Seattle late this afternoon. A retirement reception was being held for Rear Adm. Vogt at Alki Point Lighthouse, celebrating 35 years of service, and we confirmed with the Coast Guard tonight that it was the reason for the flyby. Earlier in the day, he turned over the 13th Coast Guard District command to Rear Adm. Melvin Bouboulis during a ceremony at the USCG base downtown. As the announcement of the change explains, the 13th District covers “all Coast Guard operations throughout the Pacific Northwest which encompasses the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and includes more than 4,400 miles of coastline, 600 miles of inland waterways, and a 125 nautical mile international border with Canada.” Rear Adm. Vogt has been 13th District commander for the past two years. RADM Bouboulis previously served as Director of Operational Logistics at USCG headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Since we’ve received lots of questions about this via various messaging channels, email, text, and Twitter – we’ll mention it here too: The TV helicopter over Alki was just there for a live picture of the beach as part of the “gosh, it’s hot” coverage at the start of the 4 pm newscast. How hot IS it, you ask? 88 degrees at Sea-Tac at 4 pm – one degree short of the record for this date. Tomorrow’s expected to be cooler but by Friday, we could see the 90s.
3:56 PM: You might have guessed this already, but if not, the helicopter’s here for the traditional holiday-weekend-getaway-day flyover over the Fauntleroy ferry dock. No extreme backup, though, at last report from Washington State Ferries.
4:17 PM: Shortly after we published that, WSF tweeted that the Fauntleroy terminal now has a 90-minute wait. The helicopter, meantime, has moved on.
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