West Seattle, Washington
12:37 PM: Thanks for the tips about students sheltering in place at Chief Sealth International High School and adjacent Denny International Middle School; we saw one police car at the school and contacted the SPD media office. They told us, “We had reports of approximately a dozen students fighting at the football field. School went into modified lockdown. Officers responded to the area and could not locate any disturbance or anyone on the football field. Lockdown was lifted.” We also have a request out to the district for information. (4:13 pm note: Still no additional details, except the district has told us, twice, that no one was injured.)
1:12 PM: We do NOT know if it’s related but this came up in comment discussion below and is now confirmed – the scheduled Chief Sealth/West Seattle HS football game tonight, aka the Huling Bowl, has been canceled. WSHS principal Brian Vance sent this text message to families a short time ago (thanks to those who forwarded it to us):
I wanted to inform families that TONIGHT’S FOOTBALL GAME WITH CHIEF SEALTH HAS BEEN CANCELED. I do not, at this time, have all of the information regarding the cancellation and will share more as I get that information. I do know that it is not the result of anything on the WSHS side of things.
1:21 PM: CSIHS athletic director Ernest Policarpio also confirms the game is canceled but has no comment on why. He says they’re going to try to reschedule. (The game was scheduled to be played ta Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex, which is across the street from Sealth but is both schools’ home field; WSHS was to be the home team.)
5:11 PM: Denny principal Jeff Clark has sent us the letter he and Sealth principal Ray Morales have sent to families:
Dear Chief Sealth and Denny Student and Families:
We are writing to let you know about an incident that occurred at Chief Sealth today. This morning, there was a physical altercation between a group of students. Staff responded immediately, separating the students involved. Out of an abundance of caution, the campus went into a Shelter-in-Place. The Seattle Police Department was called to help make sure there were no related incidents at the athletic complex.
A Shelter-in-Place is the process of keeping students and staff safe from incidents outside the building. Exterior doors are locked, and students remain in classrooms and go about normal activities.
Please be assured that the safety of every child is our number one priority. The Chief Sealth staff will continue to engage with our students proactively with an emphasis on restorative justice to repair any needed relationship harm.
We are proud of the way students at both Chief Sealth and Denny responded to the Shelter-in-Place. Throughout the process, students respectfully followed health and safety protocols.
This evening’s Chief Sealth Football game has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a future date.
Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership!
Principal Ray Morales
Chief Sealth International High School
Principal Jeff Clark
Denny International Middle School
I want to share an update on an incident that occurred at our school today. This morning, we had an unknown adult enter our building before students arrived. Gatewood staff immediately notified both the Seattle Police Department and the SPS Safety and Security team. There were no students in the building at the time this occurred.
The individual stayed on campus (outside) during arrival with staff present the entire time, waiting for additional support to arrive. Students did not interact with this individual while outside.
Please know that we take safety in our building very seriously and the security and wellbeing of our students is our top concern. Our Safety and Security team is working with SPD to investigate and identify next steps. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
We asked SPD about the incident. Here’s what Det. Valerie Carson tells us: “Officers were called around 7:45 am for a woman causing a disturbance at a school and then in the area around the school. Police determined the woman needed mental health services and had her taken by private ambulance to the hospital for evaluation.” This is the second time this year Gatewood has reported an intruder on campus, after an incident in June.
The city’s sharp rise in gunfire is in the spotlight today. First, a reader report on a West Seattle incident, from Anthony:
Just after 6:30 this morning, my wife and I were riding our bikes down Fairmount Ave and rounded the first corner just as the passenger in a stopped pickup truck fired three shots from a handgun (small caliber based on the sound) into the hillside at the first pullout on the right hand side. The truck, what looked like a mid-’90s white Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra, took off down the hill towards Harbor Ave. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good look at the vehicle occupants or license plate. We immediately stopped, turned around, and went back to the top of Fairmount and called the police. Several officers responded quickly and I gave them the information I had.
This was just a few hours before Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz and two other city leaders held an online briefing/Q&A session for reporters to talk about the city’s ongoing wave of violence involving people using guns.
He said the incidents were happening at an “unrelenting pace.” Diaz said police are doing what they can, with dozens of gun-related arrests and 700 guns seized so far, but the overall numbers are daunting: Citywide, 380 incidents this year involving gunfire – that’s 100 more than this time last year, 150 more than this time in 2019. Of this year’s incidents, 104 involved injuries or deaths. The city has had 35 homicide victims so far this year – two of those “delayed” (from incidents in previous years), and three-quarters were shooting victims, the chief said. He repeated that the department is understaffed; there’s money to hire officers but hiring is not keeping up with the pace of attrition.
The City Council was represented at the event by Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who said he hopes his colleagues will support money for recruiting and hiring incentives; midyear budget decisions are coming up in two weeks. Also participating was Rex Brown, who leads the city Human Services Department’s Safe and Thriving Communities division; he talked about city investments in community-safety programs, saying they’re addressing “risk factors” at the “societal and community levels.” The chief, too, acknowledged it’s a many-faceted problem, saying that it’s not just an increase in gunfire involving youth violence but also mental-health issues, such as road rage. Regardless of staffing levels, he said, police need community support for the violence to stop: “Talk to your friends and family, (tell them) ‘guns are not the answer’.”
Last Tuesday, we reported on what police described as a “road rage” confrontation that included gunfire at the 5-way intersection west of the low bridge. Police talked to everyone directly involved, including the people who fired their guns, who claimed they did it in self-defense. Though no one was arrested or cited at the time, detectives continue investigating to determine if charges should be recommended. While they’ve spoken with some witnesses, this happened during commute time at a busy intersection and police tell WSB the detective on the case would like to talk with others who saw what happened. If you can help, you are asked to call the SPD tip line, 206-233-5000.
Police say one person was pistol-whipped and another narrowly missed by gunfire in the 1900 block of Harbor Avenue SW early today. They went to the area after a report of gunfire around 1:20 am; they found a 22-year-old man with a cut to the head. He wouldn’t talk to officers about what had happened but they say witnesses saw him pistol-whipped in a fight with someone who then fired multiple shots as the victim tried to run away. One bullet went through a parked van where a woman was asleep, just missing her. The pistol-whipping victim was taken to the hospital. Police are asking anyone with information to call their tip line at 206-233-5000.
6:23 PM: No injuries this afternoon when someone in a car shot at someone in another car at or near the 5-way intersection just west of the low bridge. It’s taken a while to piece this together, but here’s what we have so far: The victim(s) called police and met them along Avalon; gunfire damage to their car was reported to include a flat tire. Then the suspect(s) called 911 and met up with officers in Riverside, near 17th/Marginal:
Meantime, officers went to the original scene at the Chelan/Marginal/Spokane/Delridge intersection and told dispatch they found three casings – from two different guns. We caught up with police at the Riverside scene, and they told us they’re investigating this as a case of “road rage” but they were still sorting it out and hadn’t arrested anyone yet.
7:46 PM: Just talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Valerie Carson. Here’s what she says police now have, after talking to people in both cars: This started on Highway 99 as a “merging issue” involving people in a Honda (car in the background of our photo above) and Subaru. As the two cars proceeded westward, they got close enough that some yelling ensued. Then after they both crossed the low bridge, they were stopped at the 5-way light, when two people in the Honda got out and came over to the Subaru, pounding on its windows, At one point, someone from the Honda allegedly punched someone from the Subaru; they claimed someone from the Subaru spat at them. The Subaru driver decided to drive away; both people from the Honda pulled guns and fired. They told police they did so in self-defense, feeling that the Subaru driver was going to run over them; the Subaru driver claimed they were already pulling away when the people from the Honda shot at them. Bullets hit a rear tire. No arrests as police continue to investigate; Det. Carson says they did confiscate the guns, and that both people in the Honda had valid concealed pistol licenses for them.
ADDED 11:49 AM: SPD Blotter has a post about this – same narrative as we added last night after talking with Det. Carson (spelling corrected), but with two photos added – first, the Subaru’s flat tire:
And the guns surrendered by the people in the Honda:
The post also notes that each car carried a woman and a man at the time of the incident.
After reporting “two .40 cal handgun shots recorded at (2700 block 59th Avenue SW)” around 3 am, Edd “went outside this morning and (found) two shell casings on the ground.” He sent us photos of both; you can see one above. He had called police at the time, didn’t see anyone respond, but after calling them again about the casings this morning, he says the officer who responded to collect them as evidence said he was the original responder. No injury calls to that area overnight.
Thanks for the tip. A reader asked about “a body” found in The Junction this morning. We subsequently asked both SPD and SFD about it. The dispatch was just after 7 am, on SW Alaska just east of California. SFD says the 35-year-old man was “deceased on arrival.” SPD says there was “nothing to indicate suspicious circumstances/foul play” so far. Listening to the recording of the fire dispatch, he was found in front of the Starbucks shop, and CPR was used to try to revive him. It’ll be up to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the man and his cause of death.
11:55 PM: Police and fire are going to 61st/Admiral for a report of a 28-year-old man with a gunshot wound. No word yet on circumstances. The victim is being assessed at a home. Updates to come.
12:08 AM: They’re still trying to figure out exactly where this happened, officers are telling dispatch.
12:13 AM: The victim is being taken to Harborview. Initial assessment over emergency radio described him as “conscious and alert” with a bullet wound near an eye.
12:19 AM: Police say they were told “the shooter was on a motorcycle.”
12:25 AM: They’re blocking off Admiral between 61st and 62nd, as well as 62nd itself, while they investigate. They’ve reported finding two “victim vehicles” on 62nd, possibly indicating bullet damage. (Added: Or, per commenters, other damage.)
12:55 AM: No further updates so far. More info should be forthcoming from SPD once a report is filed later this morning.
1:01 AM: Streets are reopening. Meantime, for context, it’s been a little over a month since four people were shot at the beach, on fatally; a suspect was arrested and charged, and remains in jail, bail set at $2 million.
ADDED 1:44 PM: We just talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Valerie Carsen. She says there’s not much more information about this: After being shot, the victim crashed his car into a parked car near 62nd/Admiral and went to a nearby house to get help. He couldn’t/wouldn’t tell officers where or when it happened – aside from, as mentioned above, that the shooter might have been someone on a motorcycle. Officers did not locate shell casings or other evidence anywhere in the area so they couldn’t independently verify a crime scene. SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells us the victim was “in stable condition” when transported.
Per Seattle Police policy, SPD has gone public with their video from last night’s deadly shootout in White Center. See it here – if you choose to; please note the warning, as you see and hear gunfire in the video, and you see the man who was shot by SWAT officers, before, during, and after the gunfire. We don’t know anything more yet about the man who was killed; he was described only as a 22-year-old man suspected of a Seattle murder that happened “earlier this year.” Officers had gone to the house near 21st/100th to arrest him, and after they announced themselves, police say, he came out of the house holding a gun, and fired at them; they shot back, as seen and heard in the video, and he was declared dead at the scene. Police have also released this photo of the gun with which they say the man was armed, adding that “The gun was reported stolen in King County in June 2021.”
SPD says three officers were involved in the shooting and that they are on paid administrative leave.
6:03 PM: Seattle Police SWAT was serving an arrest warrant in White Center near 20th and 100th when shots were fired. We don’t know yet who fired but the person who was shot was described as a suspect. We are at the scene and will update.
6:06 PM: If you’re in the area, police have set off a ‘flashbang’ before entering the house to see if anyone else is inside. The shooting happened outside.
6:17 PM: The person who was shot
has been taken to the hospital. (Correction: Police later said he was declared dead at the scene.) Officers are now searching the residence. The area’s been taped off, including SW 100th.
6:42 PM: SPD Chief Adrian Diaz is here. Officers are still trying to ensure the house is clear.
6:55 PM: They’ve set off another flashbang, to try to rouse anyone inside. Now a TV helicopter’s in the area.
7:24 PM: We and other media are awaiting a briefing from an SPD public-information officer.
7:55 PM: SPD says the person shot by officers has died. They confirm they had gone to the house to arrest a suspect in a Seattle murder case from earlier this year. Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said the man who was shot and killed had come out of the house with a gun and it appears he shot first; they are not yet confirming that the man they shot is the one they were there to arrest. We recorded the briefing on video and will upload it shortly. (Added: Here’s the video.)
The distinction that the warrant was for a Seattle case is important because it rules out the recent unsolved White Center/North Highline murders – those were outside the city limits.
MIDNIGHT: SPD Blotter says the man who was shot was 22 years old and was the suspect officers had gone there to arrest.
Three items in West Seattle Crime Watch:
ARREST AFTER CATALYTIC-CONVERTER THEFT: From the preliminary police report for an incident this afternoon in the 10400 block of 41st SW in Arbor Heights:
A witness called 911 to report an in-progress theft of a neighbor’s catalytic converter. The suspect and vehicle description were provided to 911. Further updates gave a last-known direction of travel as the suspect fled the scene. A responding officer located the possible suspect vehicle leaving the area, and the vehicle and driver matched the provided descriptions. The vehicle was stopped and the driver was detained. Officers contacted the witness for further details and located the victim vehicle. The catalytic converter had been cut out and was missing.
The suspect was arrested and booked into the King County Jail; police say his vehicle “contained evidence of the crime,” so it was impounded.
WARRANT ARREST: Late last night, police arrested someone described in the preliminary report as a “known catalytic-converter thief in the Southwest Precinct [jurisdiction].” The report says this started with surveillance that detectives were conducting on this suspect and someone else with that same description. The warrant was for “escaping” state Corrections Department custody (while we don’t have further details on this case yet, that seldom means “escape” in the classic sense, but more often, a failure to meet requirements of release. The suspect was booked into jail.
BURGLARY ATTEMPT: Reported by a reader:
There was an attempted burglary at our place (Wednesday) within a block of Fairmount Park at 4:10 pm in the afternoon.
Whoever it was tried to use a pry bar and kick the door down, before I even had a chance to get downstairs. Please warn people to keep their doors locked, even during the day!
2:16 PM: If you’re wondering about all the sirens, police and fire have headed to the 2nd SW/SW Michigan vicinity beneath the 1st Avenue South Bridge, after a report of a man with a gunshot wound to the leg. So far, officers have told dispatchers, they haven’t found him.
2:20 PM: They’ve since found the victim, as well as what were described as shotgun-shell casings. They’ve been told a tan Cadillac with tinted windows might be involved.
2:44 PM: No updates so far.
3:57 PM: SFD says the ~40-year-old man who was shot was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
7:50 PM: The preliminary police report says:
During the mid-morning hours, a fight disturbance occurred in an encampment near SW Michigan St / SW Peninsula Pl. The fight was reportedly over narcotics and money. A few hours later, witnesses reported a large group of subjects arrived at the encampment looking for those involved in the fight. The group left a short time later. Just prior to (2 pm), a vehicle arrived, and four suspects exited. They approached the victim’s tent carrying a shotgun and edged weapons and confronted the victim. After a brief encounter, one of the suspects fired the shotgun twice, striking the victim on the right leg just below the knee. The suspects then fled the scene and left in the vehicle they had arrived in. Witnesses called 911 and requested police assistance while others began tending to the victim’s injury and loaded him into a vehicle. Officers arrived, located the victim and secured the scene while requesting SFD response. The victim was transported to HMC for further medical treatment. An area search was conduced with negative results for the suspects.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you use West Seattle’s only dog park, the Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area, you’ve benefited from the work of Steve McElhenney, who’s been the volunteer steward there for two decades.
He’s given thousands of hours. But one of the gifts he’s tried recently to give – the gift of safety – has been roundly rejected. And he’s furious.
As has been reported in West Seattle Crime Watch coverage here over the years, Westcrest is a car-prowl hot spot. (Here’s just one of dozens of reports we’ve published.) McElhenney says he’s tried to get extra police attention there. But, he’s been told – as precinct leadership has said at countless community meetings – they’re shorthanded. (Back in February, the precinct said they’d try for extra patrols, but nothing’s been mentioned since then.) So he tried something else, something countless people are using on their own porches, decks, and yards: A camera.
Logwatchers may have noticed a “scenes of violence” callout just before 3 am. Here’s the police summary of what that was about:
On 7-14-21 at about 0250 hours, an unknown male entered a business in the 1600 block of SW Holden St and requested the employee call 911 because he had accidentally shot himself. The subject then fled the business, got into his vehicle, and fled the area. Responding officers observed the vehicle leaving and followed it to the area of 17 Ave SW / SW Graham St, where the subject parked the vehicle and fled into the greenbelt area. An extensive area check was conducted, but the subject was not located. A handgun was observed inside the locked vehicle, which was impounded to the processing room.
We don’t know how the first night of early Alki Beach Park closure went last night – except that no major incidents were reported – but tonight police are out in force. We drove the beach from 63rd/Alki to Seacrest and back between 9:55 and 10:20 pm, and saw groups of officers on foot, on bikes (photo above), and in vehicles. Some were staged at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. While the beach was still moderately busy at 10:15 pm, officers have since told dispatchers they’re “clearing the beach” now.
Seattle Parks announced Friday that Alki would be closed at 10 pm nightly through Monday, in hopes of deterring problems from violence to fireworks. Its northern counterpart Golden Gardens, meantime, is being closed at 10 pm nightly for nine months, also to tamp down on trouble..
Police investigated an armed robbery Friday night at the Lucky 5 gas station/mini-mart (35th/Henderson). Their preliminary summary report says it happened around 9 pm; the robber approached the counter, pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the employee behind the counter, and demanded cash. The employee gave him what was in the register but the robber demanded money from the safe, holding the victim at gunpoint until that was handed over too. He fled with cash and the employee’s cell phone. Police responding to the area used a K-9 but weren’t able to find the robber.
3:35 PM: Seattle Police have announced a 19-year-old man is in custody for investigation of homicide, suspected in the Monday night shooting that killed one person and injured three on Alki (WSB coverage here). The update on SPD Blotter says the suspect actually was arrested “several hours after” the shooting, though SPD told us yesterday afternoon there were no new developments. Working on more details, which we’ll add as we get them.
4 PM: The jail roster shows the suspect was booked around 9 am yesterday. So far the only thing we’ve found on his record is an arrest last November for allegedly threatening to shoot a cousin at their mutual great-grandmother’s house in Seattle’s Judkins Park area. The police report from that case shows a Des Moines address for the suspect (added: today’s court documents confirm that).
4:37 PM: A bit more information from the probable-cause documents just received from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. First: The suspect is the person we mentioned in our original coverage as having been detained at the hospital after one of the shooting victims was taken there in a private vehicle. Police say that where the suspect was sitting in that car, they found “two semi-automatic handguns.” Also in the court document: One of the shooting survivors, who had a gunshot wound to the leg, told police the gunfire was preceded by “a dispute over fireworks.”
10:13 PM: The victim’s family identifies him as Tilorae Shepherd, 22, of Federal Way, and is crowdfunding for funeral expenses.
Our photo shows a Seattle Police car we saw at Alki Beach early this evening, as the first night after a shooting that killed one person and put three others in the hospital (WSB coverage here). No new developments in the investigation today, SPD tells us. We asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman about the plan for police presence in the days/nights ahead. Here is his reply:
I have requested that the SPD Community Response Group (CRG) increase its presence on Alki on weekday afternoons and evenings, and as we have been doing on the weekends, we will have on-duty officers from the Southwest Precinct assist the Parks Department on the weekdays in encouraging beach fires to be extinguished by 9:30 pm and in closing the beach at 11:30 pm.
We constantly attempt to match resources with predicted needs, which is why we have emphasis patrols on Alki on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This year, an additional challenge is the reduced police staffing citywide — to include the Southwest Precinct — combined with a rise in gun violence across the city. We want to staff events and areas appropriately, which means utilizing the right amount of police resources for potential hotspots while maintaining sufficient staffing to answer 911 calls.
The man killed last night – whose identity we do not yet know – was the fourth homicide victim in Seattle in a week noted on SPD Blotter. As for police staffing, we’ve been reporting on that for months – here’s some local information and discussion from a report back in January. There have been some major shows of force at Alki, though, most notably one month ago, on the night a crowd estimated at thousands thronged the beach for a party organized via social media (WSB coverage here) and the night after.
Four West Seattle Crime Watch notes so far today:
PEDESTRIAN HURT BY HIT-RUN DRIVER: The preliminary police summary says this happened at 42nd/Alaska in The Junction just before 7 am today. A woman in her early 50s, walking in a marked crosswalk, was hit by a driver who took off. She suffered a broken ankle and was taken to the hospital. A witness later called police with more information about the suspect vehicle, believed to be a black Kia Amanti with a license plate that begins with BYM. If you have any information, the incident number is 21-161387.
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT INTERRUPTED: From Aaron:
Someone was about 30 seconds from getting our catalytic converter from our Honda Element this morning just before 5 am. We live between Henderson and Barton on 34th. Our lovely neighbor was going to ask me what I was doing that was so loud, so early, and scared them off. SPD was interested in our videos, which I provided them.
At about 1:50 in, you’ll hear what the cutting tool sounds like. Police report # is 21-161330.
FOLLOWED: We heard a little about this via emergency radio just after midnight, and now have the police summary. A 911 caller said she was heading for the Southwest Precinct because someone was following her. That driver followed her into the precinct parking lot. Officers made contact with him and he claimed a man he had just met in a North Seattle bar asked him to follow her home. But, the report continues:
“… (his) story continued to change, and after finding out (he) had a suspended license and ignition interlock requirement (with no ignition interlock), officers asked (him) to exit his vehicle. Officers then observed a kitchen knife on the front driver’s seat, previously concealed under the suspect’s legs. (He) claimed to have been following the (victim) from the bar, but (she) stated she had been driving to her home in West Seattle from Burien. (The suspect) advised (police) he was a convicted felon, stemming from a stabbing murder. A wallet (with Washington driver license) not belonging to (the suspect) was seen inside the car, and later recovered with the (suspect’s) permission. (He was) arrested for DOL Suspended 1st Degree and Ignition Interlock Violation.”
We are still researching this one; the suspect is 43 and the murder case apparently dates back to when he was a juvenile.
GUNFIRE: If you thought you heard gunfire in southeast West Seattle around 5:40 am, this might be related. Police got a call about that time from someone in the 9400 block of 9th SW who heard suspected shots to the east. They found no evidence of gunfire in that area, but less than an hour later heard from someone near 7th and Trenton in South Park who had video of someone shooting out a car window. Officers found casings; no reported injuries.
11:25 AM: The big police response on the east side of The Junction right now is following a report of a vehicle theft. Officers are still trying to sort out what happened but the stolen vehicle is described via emergency radio as a white 18-foot Ford Econoline box truck, possibly with some of its tires deflated. The first report came from 41st/Alaska – though the theft may have happened elsewhere – and the vehicle was reportedly last seen heading west on Alaska, after hitting another vehicle while leaving the scene. The stolen vehicle’s plate is described as starting with C961. If you see it, call 911.
11:43 AM: Photos added. We’ve talked with a sergeant at the scene – clarification on the vehicle description, it’s a 2000 white Ford Econoline van. At right below is the car the thief hit while fleeing:
If you heard possible gunfire in the area, that hasn’t been explained yet – there was an initial report that the van’s owner might have shot out/at its tires but police say they haven’t confirmed that yet. Seattle Fire medics were called to the scene to check out the victim.
4:31 PM: Here’s the preliminary summary from police: “It appears to have been a disturbance involving a stolen vehicle. The victim located his stolen vehicle, and a suspect armed with a handgun. As the victim, who was also armed, tried to confront the suspect, the suspect drove off. The victim tried to shoot out the tires on the vehicle as it fled. No known injuries as the vehicle fled the scene. A second subject was detained, and as of the writing of the report, the vehicle, a KCSO stolen, had not been recovered.” “KCSO stolen” means it was reported stolen outside the city, in the King County Sheriff’s Office‘s jurisdiction.
3:33 PM: We’ve received multiple questions about police, fire, and the Medical Examiner’s Office at Camp Long this afternoon. We talked with police at the park; they tell us a person was found dead, and it’s believed to be the missing West Seattle man mentioned here last night. Since his car was found at Camp Long, searchers went in with K-9 assistance today, and that’s how the body was found. The cause of death will be determined by the ME, but police say so far they do not suspect foul play.
4:15 PM: Further SPD confirmation is here.