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VIDEO: City Council Candidate Chat, with Stephen Brown

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Stephen Brown is the newest candidate for the District 1 City Council seat. He’s also new to the district, having just moved to West Seattle six months ago.

Brown is the fifth candidate to sit down with us for our initial series of Candidate Chats, video-recorded conversations intended to give you an early look at the candidates who have officially announced campaigns for the council seat Lisa Herbold is leaving after two terms. He is founder of Eltana Bagels, with an eclectic resumé before that, including a staff position with the short-lived Seattle Monorail Project. We talked with Brown at West Seattle Coworking in The Junction last Wednesday; here’s our unedited half-hour conversation:

If you can’t, or don’t want to, take the time to watch/listen, here’s our summary of key points:

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Thought you heard gunshots this morning?

Many questions about what sounded to some like possible gunshots in north West Seattle before 7 o’clock this morning, so here’s what we were able to find out. First, here’s audio from Andrew:

We listened back to audio of officers and dispatch. First, there was a mention of people who told police they saw fireworks. Then one officer checking Fairmount Ravine reported finding something burning in the middle of the street. He told dispatch he was putting out the small fire; SFD was not dispatched. That was the last we heard, so we also checked with the SPD communications team to be certain there hadn’t since been a report of gunfire evidence found. Indeed, they verified, “it appears it was fireworks being ignited.”

Questions for police? Two community meetings Tuesday night

Though the Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Council isn’t meeting this month, if you have questions for local police, you have two opportunities on Tuesday night. Precinct leaders are expected at both the Admiral Neighborhood Association and Fauntleroy Community Association‘s monthly meetings, 7 pm Tuesday (March 14th). Admiral meets in-person only, at Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill); Fauntleroy meets in person with online/call-in options, at Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW). There’s a potential third option when Alki Community Council meets at 7 pm Thursday (March 16th) at Alki UCC (6115 SW Hinds) and online, as they too often have an SPD guest, but their agenda isn’t out yet.

‘Scenes of violence’ call south of The Junction

For those asking about the big emergency response: SPD and SFD responded just before 9 am to an apartment building in the 4800 block of California SW. The “scenes of violence” dispatch was for a person with a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound and police confirm to us at the scene that this is believed to have been a case of suicide.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm, you can call the 988 hotline to talk with someone 24/7.

UPDATE: Death investigation at Roxhill Park

11:11 AM: Police were at Roxhill Park this morning, investigating after a person was found dead in the field area on the park’s north side. We went to the scene after a tip around 8 am. Still not much information available; the police we found there were waiting for the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which will determine how the person died and who they were, but there was no indication of an active homicide investigation, as they were already starting to take down the tape. SPD and SFD were originally dispatched just after 7 am; in archived audio, the SFD dispatcher told responders that the body had “been there a while, with nobody around.” We’ll update with anything more we find out.

1:51 PM: Police say the dead person was “a man, possibly in his 40s-50s.” If you have any information about what happened, call their tipline at 206-233-5000.

ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: As discussed in comments, SPD added a note today to their post from yesterday, saying this appears to have been an overdose death. However, the Medical Examiner’s daily list of releases did not include that, nor the victim’s IDi

MONDAY: ‘Before the Badge’ community/police dialogue for West Seattle/South Park

Instead of this month’s Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Council meeting, which was to be held this Thursday, SWPCPC chair Melody Sarkies has invited would-be attendees to join the Before the Badge online discussion set for tomorrow (Monday, March 6th). Here’s the description of what that’s all about:

Are you interested in:

-Meeting new Seattle Police Recruits and learning about who they are, why they entered policing, and their thoughts and ideas about how to improve public safety in Seattle?

-Helping new SPD recruits learn about Seattle precincts and neighborhoods?

-Sharing your real-time public safety concerns with the new SPD recruits so they can better understand quality-of-life-related public safety issues communities face?

-Understanding how community members can work creatively and in concrete ways with new SPD recruits to improve public safety in Seattle?

The Seattle Police Department’s Micro-Community Policing Plans Seattle University Research Team will be conducting a special series of “Before the Badge” Community-Police Dialogues. These dialogues will be conducted virtually via Zoom on designated dates by precinct. The dialogues offer the opportunity for community members to meet with and engage in conversation with new Seattle Police Recruits who are completing the SPD “Before the Badge” training which is a 45-Day training that newly hired SPD recruits take prior to Law Enforcement Academy Training Program. Southwest Precinct dialogues will be taking place on Monday, March 6 and April 10, 2023.

To sign up to participate in one or more dialogues, go here.

Though there’s no Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, local neighborhood groups often host SW Precinct lieutenants at their meetings for community Q&A – this month that includes the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting on March 14th.

Stolen pickup crashes into Westwood yard

(WSB photo)

Thanks for the tip. That was the scene we found this past hour in a yard at 24th/Thistle. The police response drew attention as this is just east of Chief Sealth International High School. Police told us at the scene that the pickup was stolen; a resident told us that the driver abandoned it and got into a waiting semitruck cab that then left the scene. No injuries reported.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Another robbery at 35th/Roxbury

7:35 PM SUNDAY: For the second time in eight nights, a business has been robbed in the strip mall on the northeast corner of 35th and Roxbury. Police are at A Pizza Mart, which reported being held up about half an hour ago. The lone robber is described so far as a white man in his early 20s, tall and thin, wearing a “white track suit,” armed with a gun, He is reported to have gotten away in a black Toyota Prius, last seen headed northbound on 35th SW. No other details yet, according to the sergeant with whom we spoke at the scene. The previous robbery happened at neighboring Global Smoke & Vape last weekend. If you have any information on tonight’s robbery, the SPD incident # is 23-054944.

ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: From the police-report summary: “At 1856 hours, an employee was working at the counter of a carryout food establishment when he observed the suspect enter the store. The employee believed the suspect was a customer and began speaking to him. The suspect produced a handgun, pointed it at the employee, and demanded money from the register. The employee complied. The suspect exited the store and fled the scene. Another employee followed the suspect and observed him entering the passenger side of a vehicle before it left the area.”

UPDATE: Delridge crash involving suspected stolen car; (update) 15-year-old arrested

9:14 PM: Avoid Delridge between Myrtle and Graham – police are blocking it off after a crash involving a suspected stolen car. According to police-radio communication we’d been monitoring, the car matched the description of one taken in an armed carjacking elsewhere in the city, It came to police attention in West Seattle tonight when someone reported suspicious behavior involving its occupants outside a convenience store on 35th SW. (Officers told dispatch the store clerk locked the doors so the people who seemed suspicious couldn’t get inside.)

9:31 PM: Commenter Kathryn confirms the car crashed into a building – the dispatch address indicates it’s an apartment building near Delridge/Willow.

9:50 PM: Kathryn sent that photo taken by neighbor Aimee, who she says reports that “the car is wedged between the apartments and the rock ledge.” Police have detained the three people who were inside the car when it crashed. They’re all “juvenile males,” according to what officers just told dispatch.

9:56 PM: Delridge is reopening.

11:47 PM: Thanks to the texter who sent that photo of the wrecked car being pulled out. Radio communication suggests at least one of the teenagers was arrested; we’ll update this story with whatever followup info we get from police later.

ADDED 3:21 PM THURSDAY: SPD has finally provided that followup info, and posted to SPD Blotter. First, confirmation that the crash followed a pursuit:

… SPD officers later located the vehicle, which had previously been stolen at gunpoint during a carjacking and attempted to detain it but the suspect drove away. After receiving authorization to pursue, police followed the suspect vehicle briefly until it collided with a fence, which caused it to fall down an embankment, and strike an exterior wall of an apartment building.

Here’s the SPD photo of how it got wedged:

Meantime, police also say the registered owner of the car told them he was carjacked by an “armed man” Tuesday night on Beacon Hill, They don’t know if the three people involved in that – the carjacker and two people who joined him in driving away the 2010 Toyota Corolla – were the same three found after the Delridge crash. But police say they recovered a “realistic-looking BB gun in the car” after the crash. Here’s their photo:

The 15-year-old driver was arrested and booked into the Youth Services Center; the other two found in the car last night, 13- and 14-year-old boys, were released to their families.

From the police files: Warning shot for charging dog; riverside-gunfire arrest

From police summaries, two more Monday gunfire reports:

CAT OWNER SHOOTS AT DOG: Just after 3:30 pm Monday, a 911 caller reported that he had just shot at a dog that was charging at him and his cat (who, according to archived police-radio audio, was being walked on a leash) in the 4600 block of SW Maple Way. The dog had reportedly gotten out of its fenced yard. The report summary continues, “The caller said he was in fear for his safety and his cat’s safety, so he fired one round into the grass to get the dog to back off. The dog retreated, which allowed the caller to create space and return home safely.” The owner captured and corraled his dog (a German Shepherd, according to archived audio) and told police that the dog had gotten out of the yard because the wind blew the gate open. No injuries reported, human, canine, or feline.

SHOOTING INTO THE RIVER: Just before 1:30 pm Monday, two people working on a barge in the 7100 block of 1st Avenue South – on the Duwamish River along the 1st Ave. S. Bridge – heard gunfire. They told police they then saw someone “standing in an encampment shooting a handgun in their general direction with rounds impacting the Duwamish (River).” Then that person and someone else got into a vehicle. That’s where arriving police found him, also finding “evidence of a shooting in and around the vehicle associated with the suspect (and) other firearm-related items of evidence … inside the vehicle.” The vehicle was impounded and the 55-year-old suspect was arrested, booked into King County Jail for investigation of unlawful firearm discharge plus a court-order violation. According to the jail register, his bail is set at $3,000.

VIDEO: 2nd/Michigan encampment status, police updates @ SW Precinct Crime Prevention Council’s February meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Encampment and police updates comprised most of last night’s Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Council meeting, plus community Q&A.

The group, chaired by Melody Sarkies, meets monthly as an open opportunity to talk with and hear from police and featured guests. Last night, Tom Van Bronkhorst, a city official who has long been involved with homelessness response, was the guest.

As we reported late last night, he announced toward the end of the meeting that the Harbor Avenue RV encampment is set for another sweep in late February. But he was there mostly to discuss the far-bigger encampment at 2nd/Michigan, near the 1st Avenue South Bridge, following up on the revelation at the last SWPCPC meeting that a sweep had been planned and then called off. Officially, he’s on the Seattle Parks payroll, but he participates in the Unified Care Team meetings at which priorities and planned cleanups are discussed.

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WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Early-morning shooting victim calls for help 8 hours later

February 13, 2023 11:52 am
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Early-morning shooting victim calls for help 8 hours later
 |   Crime | Delridge | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

We asked SPD about an 8 am call to apartments in the 5900 block of Delridge Way SW – SFD had quickly downsized their response, but it was described as “a 38-year-old man with a single gunshot wound to the buttocks” and that it “happened last night.” SPD says they first responded to the complex around midnight: “A 911 caller said he saw the shooter chasing another man before firing at him (and that) several subjects had fled the scene in a pickup truck immediately after the shooting.” Police say they found nothing when they showed up, so they left the scene after talking with the witness. Then the victim called 911 just after 8 am to say he needed medical attention. He confirmed he had been shot overnight “after an altercation with three suspects” who all had handguns. Since his wound wasn’t life-threatening, he was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, in stable condition.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Police response at LA Fitness

Police have detained two people after responding to an incident at LA Fitness in The Junction. Details are few but police told us at the scene that they’re told three people went into the gym and to the front desk, where at least one of them brandished a gun and was wearing a ski mask. What the intent was, is still under investigation, but the suspects were still in the garage when police got there, and they’ve reported probable cause for detaining two people on suspicion of harassment, and the call is classified “threats.” Officers reportedly found one gun while questioning the suspects. We’ll add anything more we find out.

UPDATE: Police pursuit from Beacon Hill to North Delridge ends with crash, arrest

3:35 PM: A police pursuit that started outside West Seattle just ended with a crash and arrest in North Delridge. We don’t have details on the original incident yet but the car is described as stolen and police quickly arrested the person who ran from it after the crash near 26th/Alaska. If you’re seeing the Guardian One helicopter, they were arriving to assist just as the suspect headed into West Seattle.

4:13 PM: We got to the scene just as the car, a Kia Soul (as a commenter noted), was about to be towed off to the SPD evidence-processing facility. Still awaiting further details on the original incident, but robbery detectives are among those reported to be interested.

4:38 PM: According to archived police-radio audio, the car first came to officers’ attention on Beacon Hill as a stolen vehicle associated with an armed-robbery suspect, and they followed/pursued it as the driver continued this way and got off the bridge at the Delridge exit. A neighbor just texted this photo of the arrest:

The audio (and a commenter) clarifies that while the arrest was at 26th SW/SW Alaska, the crash was at 26th/Oregon.

ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: The police summary has a bit more information:

Officers located a stolen Kia Sol believed to have been involved in an armed robbery and a carjacking the day before. A pursuit was authorized by a patrol supervisor. The suspect vehicle fled, and officers pursued it into West Seattle. The vehicle struck a curb and became disabled, at which time the driver fled on foot. Officers captured the suspect a short distance away and took him into custody without incident. The vehicle was taken to the [processing room] pending a search warrant and evidence collection. The suspect was booked into [juvenile detention].

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Bank robbery in The Junction

(WSB photo)

11:40 AM: Police are responding to The Junction to search for a bank robber. The robbery is reported to have happened at HomeStreet Bank (4022 SW Alaska; WSB sponsor). No description yet; a K-9 team will be part of the search.

11:48 AM: The description so far: White or Hispanic man, 30s, 6′, beanie, gray neck gaiter, gray/possibly orange work gloves, gray hoodie, last seen headed north on foot through the nearest alley. If you’re in the area, you may hear police making loudspeaker announcements about the K-9 deployment.

12:01 PM: A HomeStreet Bank employee confirms to us at the scene that they were held up. The branch is temporarily closed for the investigation. Photo added above. No word so far of a weapon being involved, nor are any injuries reported. If you have any information for the investigation, the SPD incident # is 23-024792.

12:37 PM: No further updates. Commenters note that two schools which are a few blocks north of the scene went into lockdown as a precaution.

3:25 PM: The only additional information released by police is that the robber “handed the bank teller a note that instructed her to give him the money. No weapon was seen or implied.”

Seattle Police plan to follow up 911 calls with surveys

These days it seems almost every transaction is followed up by a survey asking your opinion on how it went. Next to join the trend: The Seattle Police Department. Starting tomorrow (Thursday, January 26), SPD says many 911 callers and crime victims will get automated text/email messages – “once the 911 emergency has passed” – to “solicit feedback about the caller’s experience with SPD to improve services to the community.” The feedback solicitations will follow initial messages with the incident number and some general advice, as shown in examples here. SPD says it’s announcing this in advance so that people who start getting these messages don’t think they’re spam. The SPD announcement says the technology they’re using for this is from SPIDR Tech, an Arizona-based company that says it provides “the world’s first automated customer-service platform for public safety.”

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Gunfire investigation

Police investigating reports of gunfire near Roxhill Park this past half-hour have found shell casings on the south side of 28th/Roxbury – at least three reported to dispatch so far. No injuries. They have found at least one witness who reported seeing someone shooting from a “gold sedan” and then heading eastbound on Roxbury. The area where they found casings is King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, so deputies have been summoned.

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail set for hate-crime suspects; ID-theft charges in eluding case after stolen mail, FBI vest, more found

We have followups on two West Seattle cases first reported by police via SPD Blotter last week:

BAIL SET FOR HATE-CRIME SUSPECTS: New information on these two arrests reported over the weekend comes from documents we obtained from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office after bail/probable-cause hearings. The SPDB post said that what started as a fight between neighbors ended with the arrests of two people for investigation of burglary, assault, and hate crimes. Here’s what the newly obtained documents – containing the police report’s full narrative – say happened:

The victim called police to the building in the 8400 block of Delridge Way SW where both he and the suspects, who are husband and wife, live. While on the way, police learned the victim had obtained an anti-harassment order against the female suspect but it had yet to be served. Arriving officers say both suspects had facial injuries. The female suspect claimed it all started when the victim yelled obscenities at her. She yelled back, “Is that all you’re going to say to me. Is that all you got?” Then, she said, he punched her in the face, grabbed her by the neck, and then swung at her husband when he came downstairs. The male suspect told officers he intervened to try to defend his wife. The victim, meantime, told officers it all started earlier when he saw the couple drive into the building’s parking lot, and he overheard her tell him something like “Oh look, he’s mean-mugging me,” as they proceeded to their apartment – which is over his – and continued making comments such as “I’m gonna get you, just watch, I’m gonna get you.” Then, the victim says, he heard a crash near his vehicle and found “a pile of dirt” had been poured on it, right below the suspects’ apartment window.

He called 911 and headed back into his apartment – but he encountered the female suspect, who, he said, told him, “I told you I was gonna get you. I’m gonna kill you, you stupid (n-word).” The victim says he tried ignoring her and continuing toward his apartment but that she allegedly threw an ashtray at him and then pushed her way into his apartment as he tried to close the door. He said she tried to punch him in the face; he tried to push her out. Then the male suspect came down and also entered the apartment. As he tried to intervene, everyone went down to the floor. Physical fighting and struggling continued. The victim says the male suspect punched him while yelling, “I’m going to kill you, you (n-word).” Then the male suspect walked out of the victim’s apartment while allegedly still yelling threats and racial slurs. At some point the female suspect left too, and the victim crawled toward his door to close and lock it..

Even then, the victim said, he was still in fear because of a previous incident in which, he said, the male suspect had pulled a knife on him; the report says he “believed (the two) would actually carry out their threat to kill him and believed it was at least partially motivated by his race.” Police interviewed neighbors who noted that, the report says, “it is common for (the two suspects) to make racially biased remarks.” Officers arrested the two and booked them into jail. Neither has been charged yet – prosecutors were awaiting referral of the cases – but both have had bail hearings; his bail is set at $50,000 – half of what prosecutors requested – and hers at $15,000. The KCPAO says this is the first time it’s dealt with these two people.

SUSPECT CHARGED AFTER FAILURE TO FLEE: Last week we reported another case spotlighted on SPD Blotter, that of a woman arrested in southeast West Seattle after police found her in a stolen car that they say she tried to drive away from them, repeatedly hitting SPD vehicles that had her boxed in. The suspect, 33-year-old Jaqueline N. Bruce of Snohomish, is now charged with one count of attempting to elude police and eight counts of identity theft. After she eventually surrendered, police say, they found – in her possession and in the car – checks, cards, a passport, and a driver license, all belonging to different people, plus almost 300 pieces of stolen mail addressed to “dozens” of people and an FBI special agent’s ballistic vest. (The latter was determined to have been stolen from the agent’s vehicle at his home in east King County.) Bruce has past convictions for trespassing and theft; she remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $22,000 bail.

About the police search in South Delridge

Some readers asked about the police search this past hour in South Delridge. Police were looking for a man reported to have violated a no-contact order and damaged some items inside his ex-partner’s apartment near 17th/Henderson. No injuries reported. We haven’t heard yet whether they found him or not. (9:44 pm update: So far, they haven’t.)

UPDATE: SWAT team at 35th/Dakota (with Monday followup)

(Reader photo of police blocking 35th)

9:42 PM: Thanks for the tips about a sizable police presence at 35th/Dakota, to which a SWAT team has just been added. Police will not comment except to say that they’re investigating a “suspicious circumstance.” They have 35th blocked at the scene. More information as we get it.

9:58 PM: Police have announced via PA that they have a warrant. If you’re in the area, you may hear other things such as “flash-bangs,” which are devices used to make noise to disorient anyone who might be inside. Meantime, combing back through dispatch audio, we found the original report that brought police here: Someone called 911 around 4:30 pm to say that their security camera showed what they thought could have been people bringing a body wrapped in a blanket out of the house. We don’t know whether police have confirmed that someone is currently in the house or not, and we don’t know whether anyone’s death has been confirmed.

11:32 PM: After searching the house and yard, officers have found one person. Whether that person is a suspect in anything isn’t clear, nor do we know whether police have yet found any evidence of a crime. The SWAT team will be wrapping up their work. They are calling for SFD medics to check that person out. (added) SFD dispatch has told responders that they’ll be checking out “an adult male said to have ingested cocaine.”

ADDED 10:03 AM MONDAY: In response to our inquiry, SPD spokesperson Sgt. John O’Neil confirms what we reported and adds what they’ve learned since:

Neighbors reported that they saw two people load a body in car and leave. This was on video they had. Based on the same footage, it appeared to be a female that had arrived there earlier. They called Police and we viewed the footage.

Based on what we saw, we obtained a warrant to search the house to look for evidence of a homicide. SWAT searched the house and spoke with the other person that was in the Neighbor’s video. He said he did indeed load a female in the car, but she was alive. She had overdosed. They took her to HMC. Officers confirmed that this was true.

They arrested (one person) for an outstanding Felony warrant for Robbery 2nd Degree.

1 injured in crash near west end of West Seattle Bridge

Several people have asked about that crash scene this morning toward the west end of the bridge. We didn’t cover it at the time – initial response was at 8:48 am – but after hearing two-the wreckage was still there a few hours later, and that passersby were worried about major injuries due to the driver’s-side damage, we checked on it. SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo says one person was hurt, a 49-year-old woman, but her injuries were not life-threatening – she was reported in stable condition and was taken to a hospital “by a private vehicle.”

Two chances to talk with, hear from police in West Seattle this week

January 7, 2023 6:38 pm
|    Comments Off on Two chances to talk with, hear from police in West Seattle this week
 |   Neighborhoods | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

If you have questions for police – a neighborhood concern, ongoing problem, unsolved case – you can attend both or one of these community meetings in the week ahead:

ADMIRAL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: 7 pm Tuesday (January 10th), Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill). ANA says a Southwest Precinct rep will be there.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm Thursday (January 12th), Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). Much of this meeting is set aside for community Q&A. If you can’t go to the precinct, our calendar listing has info on video or call-in participation.

Teenager investigated for DUI after crash at Walnut/Hinds

SPD has released information today about a crash last night at Walnut/Hinds in which they are investigating a teenage driver for DUI. Above is a photo sent to us today by a neighbor; police say two people were taken to the hospital after the 6:30 pm crash, including the “male juvenile” driver. Police say witnesses told them the driver was speeding before hitting another car and then a utility pole, Their report continues:

Officers also observed drug paraphernalia in the suspect vehicle. A Seattle Police Drug Recognition Expert responded to evaluate the male driver of the suspect vehicle, who exhibited signs of impairment. Officers obtained a search warrant for a blood draw. The male juvenile suspect was processed for driving under the influence and ticketed for additional traffic citations, then released to his guardians.

His age wasn’t in the report, and the case isn’t yet in the public files of the Municipal Court website. Here’s another neighbor photo of the damage done to the utility pole, which is now leaning:

Neighbors say there have been multiple collisions at this intersection.