West Seattle, Washington
The man arrested early today, six and a half hours after taking over the Westwood Village Target, had been released from jail one week earlier, after a judge refused prosecutors’ request to set bail for a case in which he was accused of assaulting a police officer. Charges have since been filed in that January 13th case, and because of that, as well as his self-identification on social media during last night’s incident, we are publishing the defendant’s name, Timothy A. Clemans.
The 31-year-old Burien resident had an initial court hearing today, and a judge found probable cause to hold him for investigation of first-degree burglary. The document from today’s hearing details what police say happened before and during the standoff. First, they say, he called 911 to say he was going to take hostages somewhere in an hour because he’d been refused services at a hospital. He was on the phone with the 911 calltaker much of the way to what turned out to be the Target store, “talking about past crimes and the need for mental-health services.” After detailing what he told the 911 calltaker, the document then goes into how Target employees, including security staff, managed to get everyone out safely once he arrived and started declaring he was going to take hostages, after arming himself with a knife from a shelf at the store. One customer in a motorized wheelchair even came face to face with him, the document says, and told him to “get the f— away from me,” and he did. Security helped her get out of the store and soon it was empty, except for Clemans.
In the assault case earlier this month, court documents say he approached a police officer near 4th/Jackson downtown and said he needed “crisis services.” The officer said he needed a reason to arrange for that. Clemans then punched the officer in the eye. He was booked into jail, and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked a judge to set bail at $10,000, but the judge – not identified in documents – instead released him on personal recognizance. Four days later, prosecutors charged him with third-degree assault.
Prosecutors note that they have filed charges in every case involving Clemans that’s been referred to them by police or deputies. Earlier this month, they handled his sentencing for two King County Sheriff’s Office misdemeanor cases in District Court. Documents aren’t available so we don’t have details of those cases, but they apparently involved threats and “unlawful display of a weapon.” At the sentencing hearing on January 6th, he received a sentence that prosecutors say the file indicates “would have been satisfied with the time that he had already spent in jail.” The aforementioned officer-punching incident happened one week later.
He has two felony convictions since 2019. Three years ago, he showed up at the West Precinct downtown with a realistic-looking BB gun and attempted to provoke officers. That resulted in an assault conviction and a six-month sentence. Then in 2020, he was found guilty of felony harassment for another incident with a knife at a Target store, this time downtown, evacuated after he armed himself with a knife and demanded that police come kill him. He was sentenced to three months in jail.
Clemans has a different kind of history with SPD before the aforementioned incidents and others. In the mid-2010s he worked with the department on technology issues such as automation that could make it less labor-intensive for SPD to release records without violating privacy. We mentioned his work briefly in a few WSB stories, here and here.
WHAT’S NEXT: A judge will consider bail. It’s up to the KCPAO to file charges in this case, which require more documentation from SPD, but, spokesperson Casey McNerthney tells WSB, “We plan to act on it immediately if/when it’s referred to us.”
ORIGINAL SATURDAY REPORT: Another multi-hour “person in crisis” situation just concluded at California/Charlestown. We belatedly saw a reader note about a large police response there in the 7 am hour, didn’t hear anything further and thought we’d missed it – until we happened onto it while out on errands after noon. An ambulance was just pulling up; we pulled over and inquired. Police had been there five-plus hours trying to talk someone out of a car, they told us, and had just convinced him to come out. No other details; they were wrapping up the scene.
ADDED MONDAY: SPD’s preliminary summary report on this incident says police originally responded to this situation at 5:17 am, after a report that someone was threatening self-harm and refusing to leave. Police were there for a while and then left after the person, who was alone in an apartment, refused to come out. This was repeated multiple times over the ensuing hours – they got a call, returned, left. Finally, the person called and said they wanted to go to a hospital, so an ambulance was called and the person was transported for mental-health evaluation.
5:55 PM: Police are at Westwood Village dealing with a person in crisis at or near Target. No reports of injuries so far but avoid that side of the center.
6:19 PM: Police are still talking with the person, who is reported to have a knife. They confirmed to us at the scene that everyone else was able to leave the store and the person is the only one inside. He’s someone with whom police are familiar from other similar incidents.
7:20 PM: Not resolved yet.
8:37 PM: No change. Police report they’re in intermittent contact by phone. We went back over for a look; the east half of the center is not affected.
9:55 PM: Standoff continues, after four hours.
11:13 PM: Sixth hour now, no change.
12:22 AM: SWAT officers have taken the man into custody inside the store. They entered the store after negotiators had spent hours talking to him, off and on, by phone. No injuries reported so far but medics will be called to check him out, as officers used a Taser. We mentioned above that police are familiar with this man from other incidents; among them was this one almost exactly a year ago at the same store.
Eight months ago, the city’s Inspector General sent interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz a letter asking him to “partner with OIG to find ways to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce the practice of conducting traffic stops for civil violations or low-level, non-dangerous moving violations.” Inspector General Lisa Judge – whose duty is to “help ensure the fairness and integrity of the police system” – voiced concern about such stops resulting in “use of force or tragedy” and having “broader implications for public trust. Judge added that “a new framework is needed to address the historical inequities and inherent dangers in traffic stops. Without drilling down to underlying issues and root causes, police and community are
destined to continue the same cycle of traffic stops gone wrong.”
Working-group conversations ensued, as outlined in this followup Inspector Judge sent earlier this week, released this evening after Chief Diaz went public with his official reply, spelling out what SPD will “deprioritize.” Here’s the chief’s full letter; from SPD Blotter, an excerpt:
… the Seattle Police Department will no longer treat the following violations as primary reasons to engage in a traffic stop:
-Expired or missing vehicle registration. License tabs expired. (Title: License and plates required) – SMC 11.22.070
-Issues with the display of registration plates. No front license plate, a vehicle must have a rear license plate. (Title: Vehicle license plates displayed) – SMC II.22.080
-Technical violations of SMC 11 .84.140, such as items hanging from the rear-view mirror and cracks in the windshield. Actual visual obstruction, such as snow, fog, non-transparent material, or shattered windshields, will be enforced. (Title: Windshield obstruction) – SMC 11.84.140
-Bicycle helmet violations (KCHC 9.10)
(That rule is a King County matter, and a possible repeal remains under discussion.) In the response, Diaz notes that these violations can still be enforced – they just won’t be a sole reason for a traffic stop. He adds, “The group also recommended ceasing primary enforcement for all equipment violations. I support this recommendation in principle, but only if there are viable options to address the equipment violation. For pedestrian and driver safety, we cannot allow vehicles with safety equipment issues to just remain in that status. SPD is working with others to identify a way for individuals to get safety equipment issues fixed, even when they cannot afford to do so.”
8:23 PM: Police have converged on the Origins cannabis store in The Junction to investigate a report the store was held up at gunpoint. Here’s what we’re hearing from officers and dispatch: The store was robbed by three men in their 20s, who got away with some merchandise and two registers. The early description information is that the robbers were Black, all thin-to-medium build, wearing face masks, one taller than 6′ and carrying what was described to police as an “Uzi,” another shorter than 6′, no clothing description so far. They were last seen headed westbound on Edmunds from 40th (the store is at that corner). A K9 team (from the King County Sheriff’s Office, as no SPD K9 team was available) is on the way to join the search.
8:30 PM: More detailed descriptions of two of the robbers – the one with the “Uzi” wore a blue coat, black beanie, and dark pants, and is about 6’2″ and slender; another about 5’6″ and 180 pounds, carrying a tan “Glock-type” gun, wearing a red hoodie and dark pants. Only one added detail for the third robber – wearing a “paintball mask.”
10:10 PM: No further updates since then; we’ll be requesting the report in the morning.
10 AM THURSDAY: Only one additional detail in the preliminary summary – that one description matched that of a suspect in a carjacking 20 minutes earlier near 35th/Morgan. W4’re requesting the report on that and will publish separately when we have details.
From the weekend Seattle Police log, a case described as “accidental gunfire” – no one was hurt, but two apartments and a business were damaged. Police were called to an apartment building in the 4700 block of 42nd SW just after noon Sunday to investigate. According to the report narrative, here’s what happened: A resident had bought himself a Colt .357 King Cobra pistol for Christmas. He was “in his living room, examining his pistol, taking out rounds and placing them back into the pistol with a speed loader. (He) intended to dry-fire his pistol to an adjacent wall, not realizing the pistol was still loaded, and fired.” The bullet went through the wall, into the apartment next door, through a closet at a business in the building, then “clipping a TV mounted on the outer wall,” finally stopping underneath a chair. The gun owner went to the building leasing office to report what happened, and from there 911 was called. The resident of the apartment next door wasn’t home at the time; her dog was there and wasn’t hurt. After talking with everyone involved and taking photos of the damage, police say they “spoke with (the gun owner) about the importance of firearm safety, which he said he understood.” He had placed the gun in a cabinet after the incident.
If you’re wondering about a big police response happening at Westwood Village right now – it involves what was described as a man with a sword outside the Chase branch at the center’s southwest end. Radio exchanges between dispatch and officers indicate it’s resolving quickly, though – the man is reported to be in custody after dropping the sword.
1:43 AM: SPD and SFD have sent a sizable response to the gas station/mini-mart in the 7800 block of Detroit SW [map] after a reported stabbing. No word yet on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Dispatch told officers the suspect claimed it was a self-defense situation; they’ve radioed in that they are talking with him now.
9:27 AM: No additional details from police yet, but SFD reports treating a 56-year-old man who was in stable condition and then is reported to have gone to a hospital in a “private vehicle.”
12:31 PM: From SPD:
One man was stabbed early Tuesday following a dispute between a landlord and tenant in a rented motorhome … Around 1:30 AM, the landlord called police and said he’d been stabbed near Detroit Ave Southwest & 1st Ave Southwest.
The tenant had also called 911 and claimed he had stabbed the victim in self-defense during a dispute.
Officers found the victim, who was bleeding from his abdomen, and learned he had gone to the motorhome to contact the tenant, who had allegedly changed the locks and stopped paying rent.
The victim had asked to be let inside, had asked to use the bathroom, and then emerged to find the suspect armed with a knife. The tenant then stabbed him.
The tenant told police he believed the victim had previously stolen several hundred dollars worth of items from the motorhome and thrown water on his bed.
Officers arrested the tenant and booked him into the King County Jail.
We were forwarded an alert sent by Providence Mount St. Vincent to family members this morning, saying the campus was in “lockdown” because of an unspecified threat. We asked The Mount for comment/confirmation and just received this update, which we’re told was also provided to families:
This morning a verbal threat was made by a visitor toward a staff member at Providence Mount St. Vincent and we immediately called 9-1-1. No residents were in the vicinity of the incident. We have completed our assessment with the Seattle Police Department and they have released us from a brief lockdown status.
Following their assessment, we have no reason to believe there is any imminent threat to residents, patients, caregivers or ILC children on our campus.
The safety of our residents and this entire community is always our highest priority. As soon as we heard about this individual making threatening comments, we immediately launched our safety plan action steps. We are grateful for the quick response of our team and for the guidance from the SPD. We are following up on their recommendation to initiate measures that will ensure this individual is not allowed to return to our campus.
Additionally and as an added precaution, we are initiating additional security measures for the campus through the weekend.
No other details of the circumstances so far. (added) The Mount’s Molly Swain says in response to our followup question, “The person is known to the community, not a stranger who wandered in.”
Three notes in West Seattle Crime Watch:
CAR PROWLER: From Nancy:
(Monday) morning I found my 2017 Volvo, parked in front of my home, had been broken into.
Sadly, after rifling glove compartment and taking all CDs, they popped the trunk and took all my gifts.
Purchased from Costco … 2 sets of Queen-size sheets in black floral print, a black large Husky-brand tool bag with tools, 3 boxes of solar yard lights, and a set of garden gloves
I’m just sick about this. Last time the whole car was stolen & recovered in Everett full of drug paraphernalia.
If you find any items dumped in your neighborhood that resemble what Nancy mentioned, let us know and we’ll connect you.
BUILDING BURGLAR: Two Harbor Avenue residents said the person in the security image below (first shown here in November) has struck again. Carolyn wrote the accompanying report:
This naughty boy has broken into two neighboring condo buildings on Harbor Ave (Seacrest Park area) in the past month. The first brake in was in mid-November (where he wore no mask, thanks dummy!). The latest break-in was just last week. This time he wore a mask, however, the glasses, nose, jacket and there is some facial hair visible in the photo, has us believing it is the same perp. He is also believed to be the same person that pulled a gun on a fellow when caught acting suspiciously in an alley behind a fellow’s house on 35th (editor’s note: see this report).
Please keep an eye out for this person! Call SPD if you see him. Not even a lump of coal for you, this Christmas, you bad, bad boy!
BIG POLICE RESPONSE: Got a question this afternoon about a sizable mid-morning police response near 37th/Donovan in Upper Fauntleroy, We hadn’t heard anything at the time, so we asked SPD; a domestic-violence incident involving a handgun, we were told, ending in arrest. (No one was shot, though.)
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.
Three reports spanning four incidents in West Seattle Crime Watch:
RELATED ROBBERIES: Police are investigating two related robberies early Wednesday. First, around 3 am, a man was having car trouble in the 9400 block of 30th SW when he was robbed. According to the SPD summary:
The victim saw a white vehicle drive slowly past him and make a U turn. The victim thought the inhabitants were going to assist him with his vehicle. Instead, the two suspects in the white vehicle exited and went to their car trunk. The suspects pulled out two handguns and pointed the firearms at the victim making threats. The suspects demanded the victim’s wallet, keys, and cellphone. The suspects demanded the victim’s cell phone PIN. The victim complied with all the suspects’ demands, and the suspects left on SW Roxbury St. Officers recovered a rifle round on the ground at the scene, so the suspects possibly have a rifle inside their vehicle.
Half an hour later, the robbery victim’s roommate got texts from the stolen cell phone saying, the report says, “he needed to be picked up because his vehicle isn’t working.” He parked in the 3400 block of SW Graham St when, the report continues, two people – possibly the same as the ones who’d robbed his roommate – pulled up in a white vehicle and pointed handguns at him, demanding his cellphone, wallet, and keys. He handed over the first two items but not the keys – and then ran. The robbers chased him for a bit, then gave up. But, the report says, “While the victim was trying to call 911, the suspects poured an unknown white powder inside his vehicle. Seattle Fire responded to check the unknown substance.” The report doesn’t say what it turned out to be, nor does it describe the robbers.
MAIL THEFT: Thanks to Matthew on Puget Ridge for the tip on this, after a neighborhood-group post reporting a letter carrier had been robbed. We talked today with a U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesperson, who said the incident earlier this week was not a robbery – no force was used – but did confirm that some mail was stolen from a carrier’s truck. She said the USPS would be notifying the customers whose mail was taken,
WARRANT SUSPECT ARRESTED: Back to SPD summaries – just before midnight last night, an officer made a traffic stop in the 4100 block of SW Edmunds; the report says the officer “recognized the front seat passenger as a felony (state Corrections Department) warrant suspect and officers placed him under arrest.” The car’s driver, meantime, told police he had a gun in the back seat: “Officers could not determine ownership of the gun as the driver had no paperwork and the gun returned ‘no record.’ It was placed into evidence.” The passenger, wanted in an assault case, was booked into jail,
After seeing an SPD summary reporting another bone found at Alki – this time on Sunday, by someone swimming – we followed up on that discovery and the one a week earlier. In both cases, the finder(s) suspected the bones might be human, so they called police, who in turn took the bones to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. That office is part of Public Health-Seattle/King County, whose spokesperson Gabriel Spitzer tells WSB that “the bones found on Alki beach on 11/22 and 11/28 turned out to be non-human bones.” Spitzer adds, “We do appreciate residents bringing these to the attention of law enforcement, because it’s often difficult for people to spot the difference between human and non-human remains, and it’s better to be sure.”
Thanks to Ben for the tip. 35th and Barton is clear again after this crash involving two drivers, one an SPD officer. After the tip, we went over to check it out; a sergeant told us the officer hit the other driver, who was having trouble “trying to negotiate the intersection.” Nobody was hurt, and damage was minor – neither car needed to be towed. The scene cleared while we were there.
Police were at Alki Beach early this morning after someone found what the SPD summary describes as “a bone she thought to be of human origin.” One of the two people who found it near the west restroom building brought it home and contacted police around 2 am. Officers took possession of it and transported it to the Medical Examiner’s Office for further investigation. They then looked around where it was found, but, the report says, “A search for a scene was inconclusive.” No further description of the bone so far.
Police investigated possible gunfire in South Delridge last night, according to a report summary filed today. Officers were in the 8800 block of 17th SW around 8:45 pm Wednesday for a “civil standby” situation, as a man took his belongings and left an apartment. The report says he “walked to an alleyway, where he had presumably parked his vehicle. A few moments later, an officer heard a vehicle quickly accelerate out of the alley and then heard approximately six gunshots. Officers conducted a search for damage and shell casings, but nothing was found.”
Police summaries published today include an armed robbery at the 35th/Barton 7-11, second one there in three months (we reported on a holdup there in August). Police say it happened around 11:30 Wednesday night, and that the robber entered the store, “brandished a handgun, pointed it at the clerk, and demanded money … then fled the store on foot with money and the till.” A K-9 team was brought in for the search but the robber was not found; the summary does not include a description.
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.
7:13 PM: If you are voting at the last minute and want to avoid crowds, go to the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) dropbox! In contrast, the Junction box (SW Alaska west of California) is megabusy:
Workers at both. Get there by 8!
SW Raymond is a little backed up but if you’re driving, you can park in the library lot and walk over. (added) As of this evening, West Seattle/South Park had hit 40 percent turnout
1:01 PM: A Seattle Fire “rope rescue” response has been sent to the Stewart Manor apartment building at 34th/Morgan, for a report of a “person hanging out of a window.” Police have been at the building for the past few hours, for what we’re told was a “domestic dispute,” but we’re not sure yet if the incidents are related.
1:03 PM: The person has reportedly been brought back inside the apartment by officers. (Content warning: Photo here sent by Gay, shows officer hanging onto person.) Medics are evaluating.
1:11 PM: Dispatch has been told that one officer was injured as well. (added) We talked to medics at the scene; they say the officer’s injuries were very minor. The person who was rescued will be taken to Harborview.
ADDED WEDNESDAY: Here’s the SPD summary of what happened:
At 1246 hours, an individual involved in an earlier incident was causing a disturbance and removed to a friend’s apartment. As soon as they got into the apartment the individual attempted to jump out of a plate glass window that was on the fourth floor of the building. Officers were notified and responded. As they entered, they noticed the subject hanging out of the window with his friend barely holding on to him. Officers responded to assist and grabbed him to prevent him from falling. They held on for over 10 minutes while waiting for Seattle Fire to arrive. Officers attempted to get him to comply but were unable to. Once SFD arrived they devised a plan to pull him back into the apartment. Shortly after, they were able to pull him back into the apartment but not before he shattered a plate glass window. Medics arrived and gave the individual in crisis a narcotic to calm him down. He was then able to be strapped to a gurney and transported to the hospital. Several officers were injured due to the falling glass, however; no officers needed hospitalization.
Thanks for the tips. Harbor Avenue SW is reopening after a situation involving police. SPD tells us they were dealing with a “person in crisis” who jumped out of an ambulance and ran into traffic. The person is back in custody now and will be taken to the hospital, and the road is reopening.
Seattle Police, with a K-9 team, are searching in South Delridge right now after a reported street robbery. The victim told police that a man robbed her at knifepoint, getting away with her purse. This is reported to have happened in the 8800 block of Delridge and the robber is reported to have left the scene northbound in an alley. That’s all we know so far.
If you have something to say about public safety beyond what the stats show, here’s your annual chance.
Seattle University is administering the 7th annual citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey, which is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org from through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to help them better understand your neighborhood’s safety and security concerns. More information on the Seattle Public Safety Survey can be found here.
You can see past survey results here.