West Seattle, Washington
(Updated 8:13 pm with helicopter search)
Four West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
BUSINESS BURGLARY: Thanks for the tips about Whisky West‘s break-in. We haven’t been able to get the police report, but this afternoon we spoke with general manager Mike Sweet. He tells WSB it happened around 4:30 am Sunday. Two men whose faces weren’t visible due to masks and hoodies broke in through a side door and looked around – they didn’t seem to exhibit any familiarity with the restaurant/bar, but eventually found their way into the office, and stole the safe, which contained money to be distributed to the staff as holiday bonuses. They also took about $4,000 in liquor, some food, and keys they used to take a business truck (white 2007 Ford F-150). Sweet launched a crowdfunding account to try to replace the bonus money and says it’s had a good response already. Meantime, if you have any info, the police report number is 20-348992.
CAR SMASH-AND-GRAB: This happened to Peter in the 9700 block of 33rd SW:
He says it happened Saturday night: “Our car was broken into … parked right underneath a streetlight.”
STOLEN AND DUMPED? Susanna found this toolbox near a South Admiral corner:
She moved it out of the street onto the sidewalk, “out of the way of cars.” If it might be yours, let us know and we will pass along location info.
ADDED 8:13 PM – HELICOPTER SEARCH: Guardian One is in the area, assisting with a search in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, just uphill from West Marginal Way. According to radio communication, police are looking for a suspect in a harassment/threats case who is possibly armed with a knife. … The search is also covering Puget Ridge. We don’t have a description of the suspect, other than that he’s a juvenile. … (8:49 pm) The helicopter has moved on to another call. We don’t know the suspect’s status.
3:14 PM: Two Crime Watch reports:
NORTH SHOREWOOD INCIDENT: Avoid the 26th/107th [map] intersection for a while. King County Sheriff’s Deputies are swarming the area after a crash (updated) that followed gunfire from a car a short time ago; the intersection is blocked off. One person is reported to be in custody and another possible suspect is being sought. The Guardian One helicopter has just arrived in the area to help look. We have a crew on the way and will add more information as we get it.
3:27 PM: The helicopter involvement was short-lived. Deputies have described the car from which someone was shooting as a white BMW sedan. … We’re at the scene now, added a photo, working to find out how the injured people are doing. … 3:43 pm: The newly arrived helicopter is TV, not law enforcement. … 4:29 pm: The KCSO public-information sergeant is now at the scene so we should be able to get some updated info soon. The intersection is taped off, so that’s not likely to reopen for some time.
4:41 PM: We just talked to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer. He says the car that was being shot at is a Toyota Corolla carjacked in Seatac (updated) on Saturday; it collided with two other cars at 26th/107th.
Two people were in the Corolla after the crash, 1 ran, and was subsequently found. All three plus two people from the other cars were hurt, but none by gunfire so far as authorities can tell. No major injuries. The car from which someone shot at the Corolla, after some kind of dispute, is still at large. The three people in the Corolla are described as in their teens. KCSO expects the intersection to be closed for at least 2 more hours. We have all this on video and will add that when our crew’s back. (added) Here it is:
7:35 PM: Nearby resident Jim says the vehicles are being towed, so the intersection might not be closed much longer.
Also in Crime Watch:
FREEWAY ATTACK: Andrew, who lives in Gatewood, sent the photos and report after an incident on I-5 southbound this past Sunday:
A chunk of concrete was intentionally thrown at our windshield. It was I-5 southbound carpool lane [north of the West Seattle Bridge]. I was going 50 mph.
It nearly killed me/us. My 13-year-old daughter was also with me, front passenger seat. This was a frisbee sized chunk of concrete. It went through the windshield 1″ from my right ear.
My phone was in the dash mount and was destroyed. The headliner is ruined. It went through the car and broke the tailgate glass and landed on the tailgate floor. I still have the chunk of concrete. It’s a amazing that we are alive and not injured. 5 other cars had debris thrown at them. I saw the guy on the shoulder of the road. Just behind the low concrete wall. He popped up and threw it at me from 50 feet or so in-front.
Andrew says the thrower was “wearing a black coat, black hat. He climbed up from below to stand on a ledge on the shoulder of the carpool lane. He was directly to my left when I went past him.” We have an inquiry out to the State Patrol about the investigation and other victims. If you have any information, Andrew says the report number is SP.00001131.
7:40 PM: Thanks for the texts. Guardian One was circling South Delridge/White Center for a while earlier this evening; just as we were headed out to look on the ground for any signs of a related response, the online flight tracker showed that the helicopter moved on. Then Mike saved the day by tweeting that he’d seen a sizable response in the O’Reilly Auto Parts lot at 17th/Roxbury. We were able to talk briefly to a King County Sheriff’s Office sergeant there; he told us they’re looking for a “fugitive” but would not elaborate further, aside from confirming that the helicopter presence was indeed related. We’re trying to find out more and will update if we do.
9:09 PM: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott says the person they were seeking is “a homicide suspect wanted out of Seattle.”
This past Thursday night, in the 7-8 pm vicinity, a helicopter hovered very high over south West Seattle for a very long time. We received multiple texts asking about it – mostly from Westwood and Fauntleroy – and saw/heard it ourselves. Nothing showed on flight trackers, and various other inquiries went nowhere, so beyond a mention on Twitter, we didn’t write about it. But we kept checking around the next day, including with a regional FAA spokesperson, who told us today that the best he could find out was “this was some sort of law-enforcement operation.” Not local – we re-checked with the King County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the only law-enforcement helicopters in our area, and KCSO confirmed Guardian One wasn’t up at all Thursday night. The State Patrol operates fixed-wing aircraft, so it wasn’t them either.
Sorry that took a while to sleuth – we had to drive over and look around for an officer on the ground to find out why the Guardian One helicopter was over Arbor Heights. They were looking for a domestic-violence suspect in connection with a protection-order violation.
2:25 PM: We are at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point, where an Airlift Northwest medical helicopter has just landed for the second day of West Seattle drills with SFD.
It’s the same thing they did at Alki yesterday – but the weather’s worse. Updates to come.
2:50 PM: Helicopter has departed. 2 more drills – 2 pm tomorrow at Alki, Thursday at Walt Hundley. Spectators welcome, around the edges of the field.
ADDED 8:41 PM: More photos/video, with a closer look at the helicopter:
Firefighters had a training class before they came to the field for the drill.
SFD has said, air transfers are likely to be very rare if they happen at all- but in case of, say, a total transportation logjam at peak hour, without the West Seattle Bridge, the option needs to be available, and they need to be ready to assist.
Airlift Northwest offers memberships; we asked spokesperson Stephen LeMay about them. “Airlift Northwest membership works with insurance carriers to offset any remaining balance on an aeromedical bill, which can be very expensive. Patients with a membership will *not* receive a bill for their transport, or any services provided during the transport. Membership is *not* required to be eligible for transport. We will fly any patient in need to any hospital regardless of membership or payor status. Airlift Northwest provides over $2 million in charity care every year.”
2:32 PM: As previewed – the Seattle Fire/Airlift NW drill is under way at Alki Playfield, first of 4 drills in West Seattle this week.
2:41 PM: The helicopter has lifted off. Next drill, 2 pm tomorrow at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point. Viewing was OK today *around the edges of the field* so it should be tomorrow too.
ADDED 5:31 PM: More details, photos, and video:
Airlift Northwest (corrected) has a base in Bremerton – its helicopter can get here in as little as six minutes and carries trauma nurses as well as blood and plasma.
SFD plans to use the four drills – continuing 2 pm Tuesday and Thursday at Walt Hundley, back at Alki 2 pm Wednesday – for different local SFD crews to practice a helicopter transfer. Deputy Chief Ron Mondragon talked about it after today’s drill:
The helicopter was on the ground less than half an hour (longer, though, than it would have taken for an actual patient transfer).
SFD stresses that this kind of transport is expected to be rare – if it’s required at all – but they need to be ready just in case.
In case you missed our report Thursday night – here’s a reminder that Seattle Fire plans drills each of the next four afternoons to test landing a medical-airlift helicopter at local playfields to practice patient transfers that might occasionally be needed because of “extreme circumstances” during peak travel times. SFD is NOT inviting spectators but has been circulating notices so people nearby aren’t startled. The times are 2-3 pm each day at these locations:
June 8: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
June 9: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
June 10: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
June 11: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
It’ll be an unusual sight at Alki Playfield (above) and Walt Hundley Playfield during four afternoons next week when a helicopter lands for an emergency drill. The Seattle Fire Department has notified people near both fields about the plan, and one resident let us know about it – we’ve subsequently obtained from SFD the letter they are circulating:
The Seattle Fire Department is partnering with Airlift NW and Seattle Parks to provide airlift transport of patients during the West Seattle Bridge closure under extreme circumstances. This is occurring in response to the anticipated traffic impacts during peak travel times, which could delay SFD’s ability to provide transport via the typical method of a medic unit for critical patients. The frequency of helicopter transports is expected to be very low (only a few times per year, if any) but is an added capability of the fire department to serve West Seattle residents. Additionally, as previously announced, the department is dedicating an extra medic unit (Medic 26) and ladder truck (Ladder 13) during the bridge closure.
To prepare for this added helicopter capability, the department is holding a drill at the Alki and Walt Hundley Playfields in early June. From 2-3 p.m. at the below dates and locations, neighbors in the area will hear and see a helicopter land at the playfield, and firefighters simulate a patient transport hand-off.
• June 8: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
• June 9: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
• June 10: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
• June 11: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
The site will be secured by Seattle Fire and Police personnel. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, the fire department encourages residents to not gather at the site, but instead watch the activities from the livestream on Facebook on the first day of the drill June 8, or from your doorstep.
As we reported earlier this week, the added SFD units mentioned above are now on duty. Meantime, SFD tells us they’ll have more to say about the helicopter drill plan tomorrow.
10:55 PM: SFD and SPD are responding to the 4800 block of Erskine Way for a report of a 20-year-old man with a gunshot wound. No other details yet.
11:03 PM: Police report being told this was the result of some kind of altercation/confrontation. The victim is being taken to the hospital.
11:12 PM: Police are looking for a suspect, described only, so far, as a “white male with a shaved head.”
11:27 PM: The Guardian One helicopter is assisting with the search.
11:42 PM: The search is ranging over a fairly wide area. Meantime, police are checking security video at the 7-11 to see if it has anything that’ll help.
11:54 PM: The victim was in serious condition when transported, SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo tells WSB. He also says the victim is 32, which is a change from the original radio exchange describing him as 20.
1:08 PM THURSDAY: Our inquiry to SPD has been answered by this SPD Blotter post, but the only new info is that the suspect is still out there somewhere:
At approximately 10:45 PM, officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 4800 block of Erskine Way SW. When they arrived they found the victim in a parking lot, with a gunshot wound to his chest. Officers immediately performed first aid until they were relieved by the Seattle Fire Department medics, who transported the victim to Harborview Medical Center.
Officers interviewed witnesses at the scene who stated that it appeared that the victim and another man were in an argument just prior to the shooting. The suspect fled. A K-9 team responded and attempted a track, but the suspect was not located.
10:23 PM: Though this ss NOT related to a helicopter some reported hearing over the Admiral area a bit earlier, the Guardian 1 helicopter is currently over Highland Park/Puget Ridge, helping police track a suspect who is reported to be wanted for eluding. (The helicopter’s track before this was in south King County, so the Admiral reports remain a mystery.)
10:30 PM: According to radio exchanges, this all started in Kent. The search has now moved on to Westwood, where police have converged on a reportedly related vehicle.
10:42 PM: Kent Police are reported to be on the way too, and a possible hit-run crash along the way on Puget Ridge is factoring into all this too.
11:02 PM: One clarification in the Guardian One crew’s post-departure tweet – they report the suspect “abandoned [the first] car in West Seattle and got into another car.”
ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We asked Kent PD for more details, and Cmdr. Robert Hollis replied:
Around 2200 hours on 05/20/2020, a on-duty Kent Officer noticed a red vehicle driving at a high rate of speed eastbound in the 10200 block of SE 240th St. The officer was able to catch up with the vehicle and when he activated his lights and siren, the suspect vehicle started driving away at a high rate of speed. Officers pursued the vehicle until speeds became too great and stopped pursuing the vehicle. Because King County Guardian One was up and following the vehicle, officers determined they could stop and locate the suspect at a later time. … Our officer did take the suspect into custody for Eluding.
9:45 PM: If you’re noticing the law-enforcement helicopter Guardian One over the Highland Park Way hill, here’s what’s going on: Police are searching for a “felony warrant suspect” last seen near HP Way and West Marginal Way SW, and asked if the helicopter could help. We don’t know the suspect’s name, description, or warrant details.
10:04 PM: Suspect in custody. We’ll follow up tomorrow to see if we can find out who he is and what the warrant’s for. (added) Officers just told the helicopter crew it was a warrant for robbery.
11:39 PM: Guardian One has published video of the search and arrest:
Medics were called for the suspect after he was in custody, and the video appears to show why.
ADDED FRIDAY: The suspect is 41 years old and wanted in Kansas.
6:49 PM: Police are searching for two suspects in a reported street robbery near the Delridge Library (5423 Delridge Way SW), and the Guardian One helicopter is on the way to join them. The victim told police his phone was stolen and that the suspects are male – possbly armed – and female. No other details so far.
6:54 PM: The search is ending, per radio exchange, because the person who reported their phone was taken does not want to pursue it as a criminal case after all.
6:12 PM: SPD’s Twitter log indicates the call was in the 10400 block of Maplewood Place.
Lots of questions about the helicopter activity over The Junction. As we’ve answered everyone who messaged us, it’s just TV, checking out the anti-war demonstration (which we previewed here last night). So far not the size of last month’s pro-impeachment rally but participants are following the same pattern as that one, walking with the light in the Walk-All-Ways crosswalk at California/Alaska, so no traffic impacts.
7:06 PM: We’re getting some questions about Guardian One over North Delridge. They’re backing up SPD as they check out a suspicious car pulled over at Delridge/Andover.
7:20 PM: The scene cleared before we arrived.
7:41 PM: Guardian One made note of its assistance via Twitter:
— KCSOAirsupport (@KCSOAirsupport) December 4, 2019
Took a while to get the details on this but for everyone who asked why the Guardian One helicopter was looping over White Center and South Delridge for a while – it was part of a search for someone who robbed an employee of Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th SW) in the alley behind the business, says King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott. He says a robber armed with a handgun took the employee’s wallet and cell phone “and fled northbound into Seattle on a bike.”
It’s gone now, but lots of texts about a helicopter over south West Seattle, with nothing showing on radar, so we had to set out on the ground to sleuth it. Found a police officer who explained it was indeed Guardian One, helping search after a report of a possible burglary in the 8800 block of 8th SW. The report eventually turned out to be unfounded. (G-1 tweeted that they had been helping the South Precinct, which led to some further confusion, but it was Southwest Precinct after all.)
2:50 PM: With the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run still down to two boats (Issaquah‘s been out with steering trouble since this morning), and the holiday getaway beginning, there’s a huge vehicle backup headed toward the dock – all the way to California/Fauntleroy, per both police and texters. WSF estimates the wait at 2 1/2 hours. The run is continuing to stay on the 3-boat schedule but all trips that would be the #2 boat are canceled TFN.
3:36 PM: Some good news – the Issaquah has just gone back into service, so the run is back to three boats.
5 PM: For everybody starting to call/text about the helicopter, just a TV chopper checking out the ferry traffic.
Thanks for the inquiries about the helicopters over the north end of the Duwamish River. They were TV choppers checking out an incident about which we have just obtained information. A spokesperson for Matson tells WSB:
Two shipping containers – both empty – were knocked into the water this afternoon at Port of Seattle T-5 during discharge (unloading) of our vessel Mahimahi.
No injuries and no reports of damage. We’re working on recovering the containers now. Vessel operations/schedule were unaffected and apparently no impact on waterway navigation / harbor ops.
Matson moved its weekly Seattle calls to T-5 back in April as an interim tenant while the terminal modernization project gets going. (Speaking of which, tomorrow is the Jack Block Park open house for info about the project, 9:30-11:30 am Saturday.)
10:11 PM: Guardian One has been helping with a police search just north of The Triangle. One person is reported to be in custody but we don’t yet know what led to the search.
10:40 PM: Still trying to find officer(s) on the ground to ask. We’ve found police cars but no officers in sight.
10:45 PM: Talked to an officer. He said this was called in as an attempted burglary. (When we first heard radio exchanges, police were pursuing a suspect through yards, then took someone into custody.)
Thanks to Byron and Marty for the tips and photos. We’ve confirmed with Washington State Ferries what citywide media first reported: A helicopter search in Elliott Bay followed a ferry apparently striking a whale. A WSF spokesperson tells us it happened just a few minutes after the M/V Wenatchee’s departure from downtown, bound for Bainbridge Island. Passengers saw what they believed was a gray whale surface just a few feet from the bow – too close for the ferry to avoid hitting it. The spokesperson says as far as she knows, no one felt the collision – the witnesses got word to the crew. The ferry continued on to Bainbridge Island; the U.S. Coast Guard searched for the whale, which wasn’t seen again:
The WSF spokesperson says the USCG thinks it might have spotted something near Pier 66 but darkness has complicated the search. No whales – gray or otherwise – had been reported in the area earlier, so that’s made this a bit of a mystery. WSF has, meantime, also notified NOAA.
11:45 PM: If you hear the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter over Highland Park/Riverview and/or see police on the ground, here’s what the search is about, per radio dispatch: 911 got reports of possible gunfire, heard near 12th/Holden, followed by a potentially related hit and run, and someone seen running eastbound in an alley south of Holden. Guardian One heard the dispatch and offered to help. No injuries reported.
11:57 PM: Though the helicopter has moved on for now, police are blocking part of SW Holden as they investigate.
12:05 AM: A texter sent this photo:
12:10 PM: Police are reopening SW Holden.