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UPDATE: Big Seattle Police deployment for Alki

(WSB photos)

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.)

AT THE BEACH: Burning love

(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!

UPDATE: Suspect in custody after police standoff at house across from Lincoln Park

(Reader photo via Twitter)

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.

Driver suffers deadly medical episode, then crashes

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Help solve a building-garage burglary

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 lauren.laumbattus@seattle.gov

Refer to incident number 21-110446.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Robbery arrest; business burglary

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.

FYI: No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting tomorrow

May 17, 2021 2:12 pm
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 |   West Seattle Crime Prevention Council | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Assault arrest

May 4, 2021 7:31 pm
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 |   Crime | Gatewood | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

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.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Alert in catalytic-converter theft case; another charge filed against suspected mail thief

Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes:

SEEN THIS CAR? The alert was forwarded by Southwest Precinct police. Though the theft in question happened in South Park, this type of crime has been prevalent regionally (and nationally) lately, so they’re circulating it more widely:

On 4/13/21 at approximately 1100 hours, a catalytic converter was stolen from a Toyota Prius while the Prius was parked in the business parking lot located at 309 S. Cloverdale St. The above vehicle is the suspect vehicle. The suspects fled the scene in the above vehicle, most likely a hatchback VW. If you have seen this vehicle in any other (incidents), please contact (Officer) cleades.robinson@seattle.gov.

ANOTHER MAIL-THEFT CHARGE: Repeat-mail-theft suspect Jason A. Turner has remained in jail since his most-recent arrest last Sunday, and now his bail has doubled to $10,000 because another charge has been filed against him. This one stems from one of his six previous arrests this year, back on March 24th. Charging documents say he was found with 16 pieces of stolen mail at the time. He was released from jail after two days because prosecutors didn’t have the information needed to “rush-file” charges, but they have since received the case and charged Turner with another count of felony stolen-mail possession, the third felony case filed against him in two months. (Turner was discussed extensively by SW Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman at this past week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting – see our report here.)

VIDEO: Police search after 2 shot near 1st Avenue South Bridge

(Added – WSB photo)

8:56 PM: Big police and fire response in the 6900 block of 2nd SW, near the 1st Avenue South Bridge. They’re looking for a man who is reported to have shot two people. The Guardian One helicopter was called out too. No other information yet.

9:07 AM: Police say the shooting is reported to have happened at “an encampment” in the area.

9:36 AM: We’ve talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Patrick Michaud at the scene. He says it happened around 8:30 am; both victims are at Harborview, (updated) a man and a woman, and that “many shots” were fired, The shooter was described as male, Black, short or no hair, possibly associated with a Dodge sedan, maybe a Challenger. K9 and helicopter are still helping search the area. We’ll add video of the briefing when it’s uploaded. (Added – here it is:)

10:01 AM: Update on the victims from SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo – ages approximate – 20-year-old man in critical condition, 28-year-old woman in serious condition.

12:06 PM: Additional information from the preliminary SPD summary:

At approximately 0830, the male and female victims were inside of their vehicle in an encampment located at the 6900 BLK of 2 Ave SW. The (shooter) walked up and fired several rounds inside the vehicle, striking the victims in the arm, abdomen, and torso. The (shooter) left on foot. Officers arrived and set up containment. Guardian 1, K99, Traffic Units, and SWAT, responded to the scene and assisted with the area search. The (shooter) wasn’t located. A witness on scene said that the same suspect was inside of a White newer model Dodge Charger or Challenger prior to the shooting.

1:06 PM: More information from police about the “many shots” that were fired – they found “seven 9mm fired cartridge casings (and) three 9mm rounds” at the scene.

Alki, Westwood Village, repeat mail-theft suspect, police staffing, more @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After last month’s cancellation, this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting had plenty to talk about. It happened online last night, moderated by Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner and featuring precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman.

CRIME TRENDS: Data shows crime up 8 percent in West Seattle over last year, Capt. Grossman said, showing the SeaStat dashboard for Southwest Precinct stats.

Part of that: Violent crime is up 21 percent – mostly because of domestic violence, he said. Property crime is up 7 percent; the most-common types are burglaries, auto thefts, and arsons at encampments. (Those too have included domestic violence – here’s one example.) He’s working with the Arson/Bomb Squad to see if there’s anything more proactive they can do. The Junction is the current hotspot for property crimes, especially parking-garage storage area break-ins – if one burglar breaks into multiple storage units in a single garage, each one counts as a separate burglary.

STAFFING: Capt. Grossman repeated what he and precinct lieutenants have said at other meetings – that a third of the officers have been lost since he came to the SW Precinct last July. Read More

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Repeat mail-theft suspect back in jail

For the seventh time this year, mail-theft suspect Jason A. Turner is in jail. The register shows he was booked just before 9 am today; Southwest Precinct police sent this report:

Southwest officers were dispatched to the area of 24th Av. SW / Delridge Wy SW for a male suspect checking and stealing mail from mailboxes. Officers recognized the suspect’s description and MO as a habitual mail theft suspect who preys on community members in this area. Officers arrived in the area and located the suspect standing near a recycling bin in the 6500 block of Delridge Way. Southwest Officers identified and confirmed that it was the suspect whom officers were very familiar with and know that the suspect has an extensive history of mail thefts. Southwest officers have arrested this suspect five (5) times this year alone. Officers observed that the suspect was in possession of a large bundle of US mail when contacted. The suspect was taken into custody without incident. Search incident to arrest, more US mail was recovered from his person.

When previously arrested last month, Turner spent two days in jail; he was released because the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had yet to file charges, awaiting more information from SPD. The KCPAO did charge him in February with four counts of possession of stolen mail, the first felony charges he has faced. He was in jail 16 days after that arrest, getting out on bond March 4th. He was arrested three times in March after that, twice in Seattle, once in South King County. Next step in this case should be a bail hearing tomorrow, and we will of course follow up.

Alki Community Council talks about police patrols, beach behavior

(Photo by James Tilley)

It’s a summery spring night on Alki. Despite signs like the one above, SFD has been called out to handle unauthorized beach fires tonight. And SPD has been summoned to investigate reports of racing/stunt-driving at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. Reckless driving was.a big topic at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting, including late-night crashes like this one hours after the meeting:

(Texted photo: Car damaged by hit-run driver in 1400 block Alki after 9 pm Thursday)

Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim represented local police at the ACC meeting. She recapped what we reported on Monday about last Sunday’s multi-agency show of force – noting that the State Patrol is “really interested in the street racers” because the groups often use I-5 to get from one point to another.

Read More

Why Seattle Police were out in force along Alki Beach on Sunday

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you were at Alki Beach on Sunday afternoon/evening, you might have noticed a significant police presence. While driving Alki Avenue between 5:30 and 6 pm, we noticed at least half a dozen police vehicles – including unmarked and marked SUVs patroling, as well as a parked van and specially equipped SUV in the Don Armeni Boat Ramp parking lot.

Don Armeni has been the focus of frequent reports of drivers racing/doing stunts; Southwest Precinct Lt. Dorothy Kim told the Alki Community Council last month that she and a colleague were tasked with drawing up a plan for addressing seasonal recurring problems.

Wondering if Sunday’s show of force was a preview of that plan, we asked precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman for comment this morning. Here’s his reply via email:

SPD received information last week that the car racers that have been problematic throughout the Puget Sound—including an impromptu event in the U-District on Friday that resulted in a car being flipped were planning to gather in Des Moines and travel to Alki and the Don Armeni Boat Ramp to assemble and race.

With that information, I directed Lt Kim to put together a plan to deter racing and criminal activity using a combination of on-duty and off-duty SPD resources and in coordination with our partners, including the Seattle Parks Department, Washington State Patrol, and the Port of Seattle Police Department. Although the Community Response Group was initially tasked with responding to a demonstration downtown, when that event concluded, some CRG resources were redirected to Alki to assist the Southwest Precinct and WSP.

While the Don Armeni parking area was held mostly empty as shown in our photo, we noted driver groups parked along stretches of Alki and Harbor Avenues. No major incidents were reported.

As for the longer-term spring/summer plan, with warm weather on the way later this week, Capt. Grossman told WSB:

We are in the process of putting the final touches on a plan for Alki for this summer. This has been a larger challenge than in previous years due to SPD’s staffing: the Southwest Precinct is down by one-third from last year, we no longer have our bike squad or our Anti-Crime Team to dedicate to Alki, and overtime is hard to come by. That being said, we will finalize and implement our Alki plan, and we will continue to monitor events on Alki throughout the summer in a joint effort with the Seattle Parks Department.

As reported here last month, Southwest Precinct had 58 patrol officers at year’s end, down from 70 three months earlier.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: North Delridge gunfire investigation

If you thought you heard gunfire in North Delridge around 7 pm Saturday – police confirmed it. The initial police summary says calls came in from the 4700 block of 26th SW, where officers found multiple shell casings and a “bullet-riddled vehicle” in an alley between 26th SW and Delridge. No one was in the car and no one was hurt. When they found the vehicle’s owner, she told them, the report says, that “she had just purchased the vehicle and would not know who would have wanted to do this to her car.” The incident remains under investigation by Gun Violence Reduction Unit detectives,

Body found in Duwamish River

April 7, 2021 3:10 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police

Police are investigating the death of a person whose body was found in the Duwamish River. They received a report around 11 am of a body spotted in the river off a dock in the 5400 block of West Marginal Way SW, which cross-references to the Lafarge plant. The initial police report says, “Patrol coordinated with the Harbor Unit and local businesses to use their property and equipment to assist with recovering the body,” but no other information is available so far – no age, gender, possible cause of death. Right now SPD says this is just classified as a “death investigation.”

UPDATE: If you wondered about all the sirens …

…several people have asked, so here’s what was happening: According to radio communication, a driver hit a house in the 2700 block of 49th SW, then got argumentative with the house’s residents. Somebody involved was reported to have mentioned a gun. Things seemed to be escalating and police briefly needed extra backup. It’s all being sorted out now; no injuries reported.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The driver, a 26-year-old woman, was booked into jail for investigation of DUI.

POLICE FUNDING: New proposal in long fight over proposed budget cut amid ‘staffing crisis’

For the past two months, the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee, chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold, has been considering a proposal to cut $5.4 million from the Seattle Police Department budget. Despite representing a relatively small part of the SPD budget, it’s loomed large in symbolism even more than effects. Today, on the eve of a possible committee vote, a new proposal – but first some backstory:

The $5.4 million was actually added to the SPD budget last December – as explained in the original council memo, $1.9 million in federal pandemic reimbursement, $1.9 million to cover spending on paid parental leave, and $1.6 million to cover increased separation-pay costs that accompany increased departures from the department. But, sponsoring councilmembers including Herbold originally argued, that money shouldn’t be needed because, said the memo:

• SPD would have had sufficient appropriation authority to cover the $5.4 million had it not overspent its overtime budget, due largely to over-deployment of officers during the largely peaceful demonstrations in the summer of 2020, including a deployment of officers that exceeded $10 million in overtime costs in less than 60 days; and

• That there would be salary savings in SPD’s budget achieved in 2021 due to higher than anticipated attrition that has already occurred in October 2020 and may continue to occur during November 2020 and December 2020.

So they instead sought to move the $5.4 million to the “participatory budgeting” process which has been under way, focused on the development of alternative public-safety responses.

At the committee’s last meeting March 9th, SPD and mayor’s office reps made their case for keeping the money in the budget. Deputy mayor Mike Fong declared flatly that SPD “is in a staffing crisis.” He and others recapped that the department lost 200 officers last year. We have reported, following Southwest Precinct leaders’ appearances at local community meetings, that the precinct serving West Seattle/South Park has lost a third of its staff. The precinct-by-precinct staffing reports in the March 9th agenda packet showed that SW Precinct patrol staffing dropped from 79 to 66 just in the last quarter of last year.

This is not because the staffing budget has been cut – but a variety of factors, including the perceived lack of City Council support, has led to departures, SPD says. And if this cut is made, the committee was told, the department could be in a staffing shortage “beyond mitigation.”

Already, the committee was told, the department has “minimum staffing days” more frequently citywide, as well as an increase in times when it’s on “priority call” status – times when they can only dispatch officers to the highest-priority calls, such as violent crimes. Response times are higher, with averages no longer meeting the 7-minute target. And with the redeployment of officers to the patrol ranks, they’ve lost “problem-solving teams,” like the Community Police Teams. But the SPD presentation didn’t just focus on what’s wrong currently – it also focused on how it’s not too late for a positive turning point, with the department still experiencing a record number of applicants for the openings it has – while warning that more officers “will leave if they see these continued cuts.” SPD also spelled out what it would do with the $5.4 million if it’s not cut, including technical support for the increase in online reporting.

At tomorrow’s committee meeting, a vote is possible – which would then send the measure to full council. But at this morning’s weekly council briefing meeting (one hour and 45 minutes into this video), when each councilmember provides a preview of the week ahead, Herbold announced she had come up with a new version of the bill to present tomorrow. We requested and just received a copy – see it here. It cuts less, moving $2 million to “participatory budgeting” instead of the original $5.4 million, and specifies other spending such as 5 mental-health responders to join SPD crisis responses, and also funds the civilian positions, technology improvements, and separation pay funding that SPD had requested, Herbold said..

In addition to announcing the new proposal, Herbold said that even if it – or another version – passes out of committee tomorrow, a final full council vote is likely to be delayed because those overseeing the consent decree have questions before final action. Tomorrow’s meeting is at 9:30 am; the agenda explains how to view it as well as how to sign up to comment.

About the police response at 35th/Webster

Thanks for the tips about a large police response in the 35th/Webster vicinity. We got there just as it was wrapping up. Police tell us it was a “person in crisis” situation, resolved safely, with a man being taken to Harborview for a mental-health evaluation.

No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, but …

March 15, 2021 6:47 pm
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 |   West Seattle Crime Prevention Council | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

The third Tuesday of the month usually brings your chance to hear from and talk with local police at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, but Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner tells us it’s canceled for this month, so no WSCPC meeting tomorrow. Local police often have a spot on the agenda at neighborhood council meetings – like the wide-ranging update at last week’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting – so watch for those announcements, and if you have a crime-prevention question, Jennifer’s at jennifer.danner@seattle.gov. (Don’t email her to report a crime, though – if something’s happening right now, call 911; otherwise, call 206-625-5011 or report it online.)

UPDATE: Why SWAT and other police were at Camp Second Chance

March 12, 2021 4:55 pm
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 |   Crime | Myers Way Parcels | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

4:55 PM: Police including SWAT officers are at Camp Second Chance, the tiny-house encampment on Myers Way in southeast West Seattle, right now. So far, all that police are saying is that it started as an attempt to make a felony warrant arrest. The suspect is holed up in one of the tiny houses and might be armed – which is why the SWAT team is there. No report of injuries. We’ll update when more information is available.

6:38 PM: Not resolved yet. Negotiators have been talking with the suspect by phone off and on.

6:45 PM: The suspect has emerged and is in custody.

9:09 PM: We’ve obtained the initial police summary of how this unfolded. The suspect, police say, was a former camp resident, kicked out for threatening other residents. Police were called when he showed back up at the camp, and after they arrived, he ran into his former tiny house. He refused to come out and threatened to try to provoke officers to kill him. Police “established probable cause for (his) arrest for investigation of Harassment, burglary, and a previously reported assault.” They called in negotiators to try to talk him out, and obtained a search warrant. He eventually surrendered and “was taken into custody without further issues.” He is 38 years old and currently in the King County Jail.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Arson alert; tree theft

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports so far today:

ARSON ALERT: Seattle Police are investigating small set fires early this morning on west Charlestown Hill. According to a preliminary summary from SPD, the first report was of someone “igniting a light pole on fire … Officers arrived on scene and observed some plastic and Styrofoam materials placed on a crosswalk sign that was scorched, but not on fire.” The caller had no description of the fire-setter Officers checking the area found trash containers on fire at 55th/Charlestown and 53rd/Charlestown; SFD was called to those scenes around 4:15 am. Officers weren’t able to find anyone in the area, but are hoping to examine residential security video that might have images of the arsonist.

One reader report:

TREE THEFT: Jessica says somebody dug up this dwarf lodgepole pine from her planting strip at 37th/Graham and took it away:

She explains, “It was yellow for the winter.” We asked if there’s any chance the recent gusty winds blew it down. “There is a decent-sized hole where it was with torn roots. It was too established to blow away. Someone yanked it out. I searched the surrounding blocks in case someone carried it a bit and threw it, but I didn’t have any luck.”