West Seattle, Washington
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.
We’ve learned tonight that this missing man, mentioned on Twitter by Seattle Police on Monday afternoon, is from West Seattle:
Missing: Brian Puhl
W, M, 6’04”, 185 lbs, brown hair, blue eyes
Last seen in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Possibly driving a 1994 Volvo 940 station wagon.
Please call 911 if seen. pic.twitter.com/KTOhE4eQed
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) June 14, 2021
He’s 45 years old. Friends tell us he actually has been missing since parking his car at Camp Long on Friday. If you see him or have information, call 911 or the missing persons unit at 206-684-5582 and refer to case #21-145895.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: The search has come to a sad end.
Three crime/police notes:
SEARCH: If you saw/heard a police search after 9 pm last night in the Delridge/Trenton vicinity, police say they were looking for someone suspected of a threat involving a gun. The preliminary summary says, “Officers were waved down … The victim reported that a male suspect crossing the street pointed a handgun at them, causing them to fear for their lives.” A search ensued but no one was found.
BURGLARY: Julia in North Shorewood sent the video and report:
A woman was able to enter our home around 3:30 am, and got halfway through our house before we were alerted. She was eerily calm and my husband was able to get her outside while I locked myself in the baby’s room and called 911. KSCO responded and had a number of officers out looking for her and the “others outside” that she mentioned.
She had checked our car and looked through things in our backyard before coming in. We’re not sure what her intention or mental state may have been. We did capture rather clear footage on our security camera … in case any other neighbors have experienced something from the same person, or she can be identified? We’ll be beefing up our security system with outside alerts, but are also hoping to warn other neighbors.
If you do have any tips, we’ll add the KCSO incident number when we get it.
POLICE AT DON ARMENI: Thanks to Doug for the photo from a few hours ago showing motorcycle officers gathered at Don Armeni Boat Ramp:
We checked with SPD: “Previously scheduled training” was the reply.
We’ve talked to police about a threat widely posted on social media by someone who called us about it too. After numerous readers asked us about it via email and text, we wanted to let you know what we’ve found out so far. The caller said he works at The Alley, the bar behind Be’s Restaurant in The Junction, and that another employee had had a dispute with the owner and made death threats. We went to Be’s but it’s closed, and The Alley would not normally open until later in the day. We also talked by phone with the Southwest Precinct watch sergeant, who said officers had spoken with the person who reported the threats, but had not heard directly from the business owner, nor had they found the person who is reported to have made the threats. So it’s an open case but there is no warning or safety advisory at this point. If you have any information for police, the incident number is 21-145363.
In case you wondered about the “water rescue response” on Harbor Island just before 7:30 this morning, here’s what we’ve learned from a preliminary Seattle Police summary: SFD and SPD responded after a 911 call from someone who reported a man had threatened suicide. They found him at Terminal 18 Park. Police say the man then jumped in the river and started screaming. SFD and SPD sent boats and eventually rescued him from the water. He was taken to Fire Station 5 on the downtown waterfront and then to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.
If you or someone you know is contemplating self-harm, there’s a 24-hour crisis line at 206-461-3222.
11:28 AM: Police are at 29th SW and SW Henderson [map], investigating a report of multiple shots fired from a passing car. No injuries are reported but police have found at least one shell casing and are blocking the street in the area while they investigate. A preliminary description of the vehicle: Black BMW.
11:41 AM: Photos added. Police at the scene tell us they have now found four casings (that’s one of them in the photo above this line). This happened midblock, in the 8800 block of 29th. Still no additional descriptive information confirmed.
12:09 PM: At least one car was hit by a bullet (above).
3:05 PM: More information from the preliminary police summary: “Witnesses reported that a black or gray BMW was (northbound) in the 8800 block of 29 AV. SW chasing another vehicle, possibly a Volvo. A suspect was seen shooting a handgun from the passenger window at the vehicle it was chasing.” Police recovered “six small-caliber shell casings” in all.
Thanks to SG for the photo above and Stacy for the photo below. That car’s driver went up onto the sidewalk and into a staircase at the Sea Cliff Manor Apartments (2650 Alki Avenue SW) around 5:20 am today.
SFD and SPD responded. Nobody was hurt, Stacy reports. We’re following up with police to see if they have any additional information.
Three reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
HOUSE SHOT AT: Police investigated a reported drive-by shooting in the 5600 block of 23rd SW. A resident said someone shot at the house and then drove away. No one hit/hurt.
GGUNS SEIZED: Police included these photos with a report of officers seizing the two guns when arresting a man:
This happened around quarter past 5 this evening near Delridge and Findlay. The preliminary police summary says four people were arguing “over a past assault.” A woman, “in an effort to defend her son, began bragging about owning a firearm.” A man said he owned one too. She expressed doubt. He went to his car and brought out one of the guns, “causing the victim to feel intimidated.” She called 911. They searched his vehicle and “recovered two semi-automatic handguns and their respective magazines loaded with ammunition.” The 31-year-old suspect was booked into King County Jail for investigation of unlawful use of a weapon.
HIT-RUN: From Rose:
My car was parked outside Luna apartments, 2745 California Ave near PCC, around 2:30 pm today and someone smashed the hood of my car – there was blue and white paint on the hood. I was wondering … if anyone saw anything.
Two notes in West Seattle Crime Watch:
TWICE-STOLEN TRUCK: From Andrea:
Last night my truck was stolen for the 2nd time in 2 months from in front of my house on 45th SW. It was locked and had a club in it. License number B30800H. Red F250 HD with a matching canopy and a black construction rack. Attached is a picture. (When stolen) ot did not have the Kayaks or the bike rack on it.
Call 911 if you see it. (WEDNESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: A commenter spotted it and called it in; we have confirmation from Andrea that they got it back.)
ASSAULT ARREST: A reader asked about the sizable police response to an encampment area near 1st Avenue S./S. Cloverdale near the southeast edge of West Seattle. The preliminary SPD summary says a woman was arrested for assaulting a man who lived there. She was there to visit another man, described in the report as her boyfriend, but instead barged into the structure where the victim was sleeping. Police say she woke him up, hit him, and demanded he leave, then tried to stab him; he suffered a finger injury while fending off the attack. Police responded and told her to come out and surrender; she did, and was booked into King County Jail.
A few people asked us about a mid-afternoon incident that brought a big police response to the EG Hughes Playground area (28th/Holden and vicinity). One neighbor who saw the end of it said police were chasing a man through the playfield area and then across two yards until he was tackled and arrested near 29th/Kenyon. Medics were called for the suspect, who, the witness says, complained after being cuffed that he was having trouble breathing. We didn’t catch word of this until it was long over; we eventually made contact with Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim, who said the man was arrested for domestic-violence assault: “When the officers attempted contact with the suspect, he took off running, which resulted in a foot pursuit.” She says he was booked into the King County Jail.
Here’s what we have found out today after requesting police reports from Saturday night’s Alki Beach bedlam.
As reported in our as-it-happened coverage, the crowd that showed up for a social-media-organized megaparty got to be so big, Seattle Police and Parks closed the beach and cleared the street. Police reports show an estimate in the thousands by nightfall.
The next day, SPD said three people had been arrested. So far, the reports we’ve read show that only one was booked into jail, a 20-year-old Puyallup woman who was released Monday, after spending two nights in jail for investigation of assault and obstructing officers. The police report says the arrest happened while police were clearing the area around 9:30 pm. They say she “shoved an officer in the face with both hands” while they were trying to push the crowd back. The report says the officer suffered “pain but no other readily apparent injury.” The woman faces potential misdemeanor charges. 2 other people were detained for involvement in what police called a “large fistfight,” taken to the precinct and questioned, then released and told not to return to the beach.
The man from whom a gun was seized, as noted in the SPD Blotter report on Sunday, was not arrested. He wasn’t a visitor for the beach party, either – the police-report narrative says he’s an Alki resident. The parking lot in which he was seen “pacing” with a gun is next to his apartment. When police arrived, the report says, they asked him “to secure his weapon and walk out to the street to speak with officers. (He) complied with that request, though he simply placed his pistol in his pocket before walking out to meet us.” He told the officers he had armed himself in self-defense after a confrontation with someone parking in the lot without authorization. They noted he seemed and smelled intoxicated and asked him “if he was aware of the danger he caused by handling a firearm while intoxicated.” He claimed he had a concealed-pistol license but police couldn’t find an evidence of that; they seized the gun as evidence.
No arrest was made in the street robbery reported that night, but here’s what the police report says happened: Just before 8 pm, they were flagged down by the victim, who said she and her friends had been “jumped” by four people who pushed down her and her friends and kicked them, then stole her phone. A tracker briefly showed the phone was nearby but then was deactivated before it could be found. Seattle Fire medics were called to tend to head lacerations the victim had suffered.
Otherwise, the report narratives overlap to some degree, but the major problem mentioned, repeatedly, was large fistfights. There were no reports of shots fired. One DUI arrest was reported in the Alki area, but police say it’s not clear whether the person was in the area for the beach party or not.
One other note from the reports: Some of the officers were from the Community Response Group, a roving team that SPD assigns to situations when they feel reinforcements are needed, particularly protests.
We’re just back from Alki, after checking to see if police were expanding their presence again tonight, one night after a big gathering at the beach led to three arrests and an early park shutdown (WSB coverage here). What you see above is part of what we found – bicycle officers taking off from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where multiple SPD cars and other vehicles are parked. No rumors of a repeat tonight; this is just precautionary, we were told. Earlier, Alki photographer David Hutchinson spotted this vehicle on patrol:
We traveled Harbor and Alki Avenues all the way west to 63rd; busy but far fewer beachgoers than this time last night.
9:50 PM: Police report at least two arrests and “multiple fights” amid a big gathering on Alki. They also have blocked off traffic at multiple spots. This after a large preparatory police presence all afternoon and into the evening, as reported here earlier. Updates to come.
10:02 PM: Police are announcing that Parks is closing the beach due to the crowd size. We are on foot in the area. … The announcement now says they may issue a dispersal order due to “multiple acts of violence.” Police tell us they have detained one person with a gun.
10:19 PM: Police also mentioned via loudspeaker that robbery (we heard a call around 8 pm) and assault have happened too. They have now cleared the street.
Also from a few minutes ago pic.twitter.com/Ousz0o5tbR
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 30, 2021
Police clearing the street pic.twitter.com/7cKWYETz1S
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 30, 2021
11:03 PM: We’re back at HQ; will be adding photos/video. Some police are demobilizing, according to radio communication. There’s also a medical response at Admiral/Lander for what’s reported as an intoxicated teenager.
11:15 PM: David Hutchinson reports from 59th/Alki that things have quieted down. He also sent this video of the crowd there just as police ordered them to clear.
11:30 PM: The police presence is downsizing further, per a radio exchange. No updates on total number of arrests but we’ll update whenever we get that information.
5:45 PM SUNDAY: Police say they arrested three people, and one officer suffered a broken thumb. Here’s their recap via SPD Blotter.
2:58 PM: Arriving at Don Armeni Boat Ramp to check on the aftermath of the boat rescue, we happened onto this – a big Seattle Police deployment gathered there, at least 10 vehicles plus the Mobile Precinct.
Police tell us this is in part because of a social-media rumor we’ve gotten a couple questions about – an alleged huge party at Alki Beach after 6 pm tonight, being organized on TikTok. Officers were gathering at Don Armeni for roll call and planning to fan out after that, though we subsequently found extra SPD vehicles already at the beach, too.
They said they’re also tasked with responding to street racing and other stunt driving, if it happens.
7:48 PM: Just drove Harbor and Alki Avenues to see how things were going. Definitely a crowd gathering. Police have spread out from Harbor/Spokane to 63rd/Alki, pulled over at intervals with rollers going, on foot too. Also still there, the special-purpose vehicles we noted earlier (the white truck now has a mast up with a camera). We’ll be checking back in another hour or so. (We’ll have a separate update late tonight – watch our Twitter feed for updates sooner.)
(updated) Saturday at 4 pm, the recently returned Alki fire rings officially open for the season. Many nights in the meantime, beach fires have led to SPD/SFD responses. One earlier this week ended romantically, the Southwest Precinct reports:
At 2310 hrs, we performed a half-walking half-rolling PA announcement along the beach area to notify park-goers of the parks closing. All went well and the beach cleared as expected.
One beach fire was allowed to remain for a short period after closing as to not interrupt an in-progress marriage proposal. There were approximately 10 people in attendance and candles were added for romantic effect. The planners were quick to solicit police permission to remain after park close and promptly left after the ceremony was concluded. The would-be fiancé gave an affirmative response to the proposer’s inquiry and all rejoiced. Police provided a congratulatory PA announcement and we promptly cleared the area.
Congratulations to the future spouses!
1:37 AM: Thanks for the tips. Police including SWAT officers are in a standoff at a house in the 7800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW, across from Lincoln Park, an apparent warrant situation, but the man they’re seeking isn’t coming out, so they’ve been using a bullhorn to try to convince him. No other details so far.
1:57 AM: Police may be shutting down a section of Fauntleroy until this is resolved. The warrant is for an alleged domestic-violence incident.
2:19 AM: Not over yet. If you are in the area and heard explosion-type sounds, those were “flashbangs” (meant to disorient but not injure).
2:53 AM: Fauntleroy is blocked, a neighbor confirms. Meantime, more flashbangs.
3:23 AM: Officers radioed that they’ve taken the suspect into custody. (The victim was already safely out of the house.)
3:33 AM: Fauntleroy Way is reopening.
9:37 AM: The suspect, who is 39, is in the King County Jail. The initial police summary says the victim is his 74-year-old father; he is accused of threatening to assault the victim while preventing him, police say, “from leaving the residence or calling 911.” The summary says this all started just before 9 pm last night.
A one-car crash in the outside westbound lane of Olson Place near 3rd SW cleared a short time ago. That’s the King County Medical Examiner’s Office van in our photo, sent there because a person died – but, police say, the death wasn’t because of the crash, they believe it was because of what caused the crash. Police told us at the scene that the driver, 84 years old, apparently suffered a deadly medical episode just before his car went onto the shoulder and hit a pole. We’re not showing the car because we don’t know if next of kin have been notified, but the damage to both car and pole appeared minor. The SFD 911 log shows the crash response was first dispatched just after 8:30 am.
Building-garage burglaries have been on the rise. These security-camera images are being circulated by Southwest Precinct police in hopes of identifying the person caught on camera during one in The Junction earlier this month:
On 5/4/21, the above-pictured male entered the secure parking garage at 4752 41st Av SW. He went through the garage and into the mailroom, where he opened several packages. He then broke into a utility room and stole a trombone and bike.
If you can identify this suspect, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Refer to incident number 21-110446.
Two businesses hit by crime early this morning:
ROBBERY ARREST: Another 7-11 holdup, this time the one on 35th SW. According to the preliminary police summary, three people entered the store, then one approached the clerk, went behind the counter, and drew a gun from their waistband. The three subsequently “fled the store without getting anything.” Police soon spotted the three suspects approaching “a vehicle parked awkwardly” near an area gas station, and when the officer “told them to stop, they fled in various directions.” Officers chased one on foot and took him into custody; a K-9 search for the others was unsuccessful. The suspect in custody is 18 years old; records indicate the warrant is from a charge filed last week in an Issaquah pharmacy robbery that happened in February.
BUSINESS BURGLARY: Thanks for the tips on this. Somebody broke into the Origins Cannabis (WSB sponsor) shop in The Junction early this morning. We haven’t been able to get the police report but we did call the shop to ask about it; they characterized it as more of a vandalism incident, saying whoever broke in was more intent on causing damage than stealing items. They cleaned up and are open for business.
The third Tuesday of the month usually brings the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, primarily a chance for community members to hear from and talk with local police. Since that’s tomorrow and we hadn’t heard anything, we checked – the. precinct tells us there’s no meeting this month. (If you missed last month’s coverage, read it here.) But police reps are often at local community-council meetings, so watch for news of those if you have an issue to bring up. The most recent briefing we covered was at the District 1 Community Network‘s May meeting.
If you saw or heard a sizable police response in Gatewood this afternoon, here’s what was happening: Police were called to a potential person-in-crisis situation near 37th/Rose after 3 pm and say they ended up arresting a woman for allegedly assaulting a family member and two officers. None of the victims were hurt badly enough to require hospital care, police say. The 52-year-old suspect was booked into King County Jail.