Man hit in head by ‘grazing’ gunshot, robbed in Cal Anderson

A man was hit by a “grazing” gunshot to the head and told police he and another man were robbed by a group of suspects in Cal Anderson Park early Friday morning.

Police investigating a loud boom in Cal Anderson around 12:55 AM arrived to find people running through the park away from the gunfire in a reported armed robbery incident. After chasing down one of the suspects, police found a male victim conscious and alert inside the park where he was treated by Seattle Fire.

SPD was investigating the boom when officers saw a group of males running north from the soccer field through the park. One of the group was chased down and taken into custody by police near 12th and Howell. Police also found a handgun — jammed with a stuck spent cartridge — ditched in nearby bushes, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. Police also found wallets not belonging to the suspect.

SPD is investigating the incident as an armed robbery. The victims told police they were surrounded by a group of young males in the hold-up. A search for more suspects was not successful.

Concerns have grown in recent summers about seasonal upticks in violent crime in Cal Anderson but 2014 has been relatively quiet for the central park. Last summer, another effort to improve public safety included increasing Seattle Parks ranger hours in the green space and an increase in police presence around the 11th Ave at Pine park.

Despite the incident, it’s a busy time of year for Cal Anderson and the park is likely to again be full of people. Friday brings a morning piano performance and a movie in the park. Next weekend, a street food and craft festival will take over part of the park.

After 17 years, Capitol Hill’s Spin the Bottle monthly variety show will continue with new chief spinner

Spin the Bottle founder and long-time curator Bret Fetzer reading at one of the monthly variety shows at Annex Theater (Image: Ian Johnson)

After 17 years of bringing eclectic lineups to late-night Seattle stages every month without fail — *usually* on first Fridays — Spin the Bottle founder Bret Fetzer is getting ready to turn over the city’s longest running cabaret to a new producer and primary curator. And to someone “younger and hungrier,” he wrote in an email to CHS.

Citing above all a need for more time to spend with his family, along with a few thoughts on the show’s vitality, Fetzer told CHS he will be fully ‘handing over control of the steering wheel’ of Annex Theater‘s variety show to Catherine Blake Smith in January of next year. Fetzer and Smith have already started working on the show together, he wrote, and Fetzer says he may still be somewhat involved after Smith takes over the lead role. Continue reading

43rd District candidate Spear arrested in Seattle oil train protest

safe_image (1)Socialist Alternative challenger in the 43rd District race Jess Spear was arrested Thursday in a protest against oil trains running through Seattle.

The 32-year-old legislative candidate opposing longtime Democratic incumbent Frank Chopp was arrested along with two other protesters part of a group blocking railway tracks through downtown Seattle.

“These oil trains running right through the downtown area pose a huge risk to life and to the environment,” a statement from the candidate and climate scientist said. “Luckily, last week’s derailment did not spill any oil; but we cannot rely on luck. We cannot stand idly by while these bombs on wheels roll through Seattle.”

According to her campaign organizers, Spear and the two other arrested protesters were each held in King County Jail on $500 bail. All three were free before sundown.

In response to the arrest, House Speaker Chopp told The Stranger he is working to make progress on rail safety legislation in Olympia.

CHS profiled both candidates earlier in July:

Tuesday’s count of the August primary will be the first measure of how the candidates fare head to head as both move on to November’s final vote.

Sunday, the Vote Spear camp is planning a candidate rally for Broadway and Pine starting at 1 PM.


Police searching for truck driver after First Hill pedestrian struck and killed at one of city’s most dangerous intersections

This map from a 2010 SDOT study showed the dangerous conditions for pedestrians around 9th and James

This map from a 2010 SDOT study showed the dangerous conditions for pedestrians around 9th and James

A person crossing the street near 8th and James was struck by a large commercial truck and killed Thursday afternoon near a First Hill crossing that is one of the most dangerous in Seattle. Police are searching for more information about the truck and the driver who left the scene of the 3:30 PM incident.

Seattle Fire and police rushed to the collision Thursday but the medic response was quickly canceled as arriving crews found the victim dead at the scene. Witnesses told police that a large commercial truck struck the pedestrian and did not stop. “Police do not yet know if the driver was aware they had struck the victim, and have not yet established whether this is an intentional hit and run case,” an SPD spokesperson wrote in the department’s initial report on the incidentThe victim has not yet been publicly identified.

Police were interviewing witnesses and had located cameras near the scene that may have captured images of the truck or the incident. Investigators remained on scene into the night to collect evidence. If you have any information that may aid the investigation, call 911.

The block where the collision occurred has repeatedly been identified as one of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the city. Ironically, it is located at the entrance to Harborview Medical Center.

CHS Pics | Chamber players, clarinet great take stage in Volunteer Park

IMG_8379IMG_5097In front of a crowd that organizers believed might have been the largest ever for their series, the Seattle Chamber Music Society presented the Volunteer Park episode of its 2014 Summer Festival on Wednesday’s warm and breezy, near-end-of-July night.

With the works of Mozart and Beethoven rolling over the Volunteer Park lawn, Wednesday night’s free performance included clarinet great Ricardo Morales. The festival concludes this weekend with a series of performances at Benaroya Hall.

Unfortunately, there was no collaboration with the chamber players and the upright placed in Volunteer Park as part of the Pianos in the Park promotion.

But another Capitol Hill piano will be put into motion on Friday:

As a part of the on-going Pianos in the Parks program, we are thrilled to announce a performance at Cal Anderson park by Michael Allen Harrison tomorrow at 10 a.m. Michael is a well-known Seattle-based musician whose unique brand of music ranges from movie scores to passionate arrangements for piano in genres like jazz, fusion, smooth jazz, pop, new age, and adult contemporary. Michael has also acted as the company pianist for the Pacific Ballet Theater, Ballet Oregon, and Oregon Ballet Theater.

Meanwhile, Sunday will bring more free music in Volunteer Park as the Vibrations Festival returns.


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Ahead of sentencing hearing, Neighbours arsonist blames excessive drinking — UPDATE: 10 years

UPDATE: In Seattle’s downtown federal courthouse Thursday morning, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez sentenced Musab Masmari to ten years in prison for the New Year’s arson at Capitol Hill’s Neighbours nightclub.

Martinez doubled the sentence agreed to by both sides in the case, saying it was an exceptional case of arson that was clearly premeditated and not done in an alcoholic blackout, as Masmari had said in a written statement.”The community does need to be protected from the defendant in the future,” Martinez said. “It is not believable that he would’ve been in an alcoholic blackout.”

Masmari remained emotionless as his sentence was read and did not address the court.

“This could have been much worse,” said U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg. “The people who were at the club deserve a lot of credit.”

Greenberg said Masmari had an anti-gay bias and there was reason to believe that setting the fire at Neighbours was a hate crime. However, Greenberg asked the judge not to raise the sentence based on hate crime motivations because it would not increase the sentencing guidelines and would open the possibility of appeals.

Outside the courtroom after the hearing, defense attorney Charles Swift said he may appeal the sentence. “Because of the political nature of this case, one always suspected this could happen,” he said.

Shaun Knittel, a spokesperson for Neighbours who was inside the club at the time of the fire, said he wanted to see a much higher sentence than the five years recommended in the plea agreement. “I’m actually disgusted,” he said prior to the judge’s sentencing.

Masmari at a court hearing earlier this year (Image: CHS)

Masmari, right in purple, at a court hearing earlier this year (Image: CHS)

Original Report — 7/30/14: The former Capitol Hill resident who pleaded guilty to setting a New Year’s Eve fire inside a crowded Neighbours nightclub is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday for sentencing.

Under the plea agreement Musab Masmari will serve the mandatory minimum of five years in prison, although the judge in the case could sentence the 31-year-old up to the maximum 20 years allowed by law. Continue reading

On the List | Outdoor movies, Umoja Fest, Bruce Lee, Vibrations Festival, bookstore bike tour


Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival converges at Judkins Park in the Central District on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.”The festival and parade,which is coordinated by volunteers, is a three-day festival includes musical entertainment of all varieties, children’s group performances, dance, oration national recording artists, food, bargains, and plenty of fun.” Keep an eye on the fest’s Facebook  and Twitter for latest updates. 

On Thursday, The Pine Box remembers Bruce Lee, who 41 years ago was buried in Lake View Cemetery following a memorial service held at what is now The Pine Box. Bruce Lee films screen on the patio all night, starting at 5:45.

Pick up steampunk parts, accessories or unique clothing at the Time Traveler’s Rummage Sale on Saturday at All Pilgrims Church. 

vibrationsThis is the last weekend to catch Star Trek in the park at Blanche Lavizzo Park in the Central District.

Vibrations Festival returns to Volunteer Park on Sunday for a free afternoon and evening of music, vendors, artists, visual projection art and dancing. The event kicks off at 2pm, and the eighth and final band takes the stage at 9pm. Read more about Vibrations in our feature article here.

book bike tourLike books? Like riding your bike? Like independent literature? Join APRIL for their second ever Book Store Bike Tour on Sunday. Meet up at 3pm at  the Cal Anderson Park fountain, then ride with fellow readers/writers/riders, lead by popular author Sarah Galvin. The route details are here.

There are two movies in the park to choose from on Capitol Hill Friday night: Bring it On in Cal Anderson and Osaka Elegy in Volunteer Park.

Something to add? Let us know on the CHS Calendar — more listings below:

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The Vajra continues its 25-year spiritual journey on Broadway

Savage inside The Vajra (Image: CHS)

Savage inside The Vajra (Image: CHS)

If you’ve ever wandered up Broadway, you’ve probably spun the prayer wheel outside The Vajra, or at the very least noticed the street suddenly made fragrant by incense.

“Sometimes people live in the neighborhood and have never even noticed the shop,” said The Vajra owner Rachael Savage. “I tell them when the student is ready, the shop appears,” she continued. “It’s kind of a magical thing.”

The Vajra, with plenty of magic to help it survive the continually changing Broadway, celebrated 25 years in May. Continue reading

Blue Angels above Seattle, Jet Kiss below Capitol Hill

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A14 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The return of fighter jets above the skies of Seattle has CHS thinking about the fighter jets destined to fly together underneath Capitol Hill.

For the Blue Angels, here’s when to make sure your babies, pets, and skittish friends are in a safe place over the next few days:

2014 – I-90 Seafair and Blue Angels Closures
The annual Seafair festival begins when the pirates land the first week of July and ends with the Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington in a spectacular display of aeronautics. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) role is to make sure drivers and pilots are safe during the annual event.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires WSDOT to close Interstate 90 while the Blue Angels perform for the safety of both drivers and pilots.

Which roads and ramps will be closed?

Interstate 90 will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, eastbound and westbound, mainline and express lanes, between Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Friday, Aug. 1:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Practice)
  • Saturday, Aug. 2:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)
  • Sunday, Aug. 3:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)

Below ground and slated to hang above the boarding platform with the opening of Capitol Hill Station in 2016, Jet Kiss by artist Mike Ross features two A14 fighter jets deconstructed and re-assembled in a kind of frozen mid-air embrace. “This monumental sculpture is created from two decommissioned A-4 Skyhawk fighter jets,” Ross wrote of his creation.

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

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Design competition could put a well-crafted Little Free Library on your Capitol Hill corner

Finding one of Capitol Hill’s Little Free Libraries is a lovely little literary treat. What are they reading in Miller Park? What are they giving away?

Sometimes, the design of the free-book boxes also tells a story. A Seattle Little Free Library design competition benefiting non-profit Architects Without Borders will recognize the creativity and functionality of these neighborhood mini-repositories:

PrintClick here for the COMPETITION BRIEF
Click here to REGISTER




SEPTEMBER 6-7 & 13-14, 2014

Let Your Library Loose this Summer!

Get ready to design, build and steward a Little Free Library prototype that promotes community and literacy in Seattle’s neighborhoods!

Little Free Libraries are small-scale book shelters that function as “take-a-book, leave-a-book” gathering places. They provide a location where the free exchange of books, ideas, stories, and interests contribute to a shared experience valued by neighbors and visitors. All entry fees benefit Architects Without Borders – Seattle, a local non-profit that provides ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need.

(Image: Judy Solomon)

(Image: Judy Solomon)

Libraries on the Loose Jury:
Marcellus Turner - Seattle Public Libraries City Librarian
Audrey Barbakoff - Librarian at the Bainbridge Island Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library
Kimo Griggs - Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington
Lesley Bain - Principal of Framework Cultural Placemaking
Susan Jones - Principal of atelierjonesConsider what design can do to foster community and literacy in our local neighborhoods and let your library loose!

Individuals can register for $75, small businesses for $100. Kids under 18 can enter for free.

We’ll check in on the competition and any new Capitol Hill little library projects to watch for.

SFD takes care of Bellevue Ave E apartment fire

IMG_5009A fire in a 6-story Capitol Hill condo building was quickly brought under control thanks to the sprinkler system and Seattle Fire Wednesday morning.

Flames and smoke were reported around 10:10 AM coming from a fifth floor unit of The Meritage building at 124 Bellevue Ave E just below The Biltmore apartments.

SFD units filled the streets around Bellevue Ave E and E Loretta Pl as media helicopters hovered above during the brief response. The fire was declared “tapped” about 20 minutes after the initial dispatches.

There were no reported injuries.

The subsequent clean-up of the unit where the fire began and neighboring units damaged by smoke and water required what was expected to be a long stay by SFD units on the scene. Bellevue Ave E in the area remained closed for traffic as the clean-up continued.

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Blotter | Kidnapping suspect caught, biker overdoses, ‘Roscoe Bandit’ strikes again

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Man who took infant daughter arrested: Seattle Police swarmed a Capitol Hill apartment building on 14th Ave E Tuesday afternoon after tracking down a man being sought for the alleged kidnapping of his one-month-old daughter:
    Eric Carney, 39, approached his child’s mother in the 5200 block of 15 Ave. N.E. just before noon, threatened her, and then grabbed a stroller—containing their infant daughter—out of her hands. The woman tried to grab the stroller back, Carney attacked her and fled with their child.
  • 14/John biker OD: Seattle Fire units were called to 14th and Thomas Sunday night to a report that a man riding his bike had fallen and was suffering a drug overdose. The male in his 20s was unconscious as arriving firefighters began CPR. Medics were able to get a heart rhythm and the victim was transported to Harborview. We have not been able to get an update on his condition from the hospital. According to a person familiar with the incident, the victim’s companion said the male had taken what the two believed to be heroin. The drug was reportedly purchased online.
  • E Denny OD: Police and Seattle Fire were called to an apartment building in the 500 block of E Denny Way Monday night after a woman was reported to have been found dead in a bathtub with a needle stuck in her foot. There were no further details of the suspected overdose.
  • Cal Anderson OD: Medics and police were called to the bathrooms in Cal Anderson Park Tuesday night around 7:15 after a woman was found suffering from an apparent overdose. We’re checking to see if any more information is available on the woman’s condition.
  • Cap-Hill-Bank-Robber-2-300x225 (1)Broadway bank robbery suspect strikes again: The suspect in Monday morning’s Broadway bank robbery is believed to be the same man who struck this Belltown bank on Tuesday.Authorities are calling him the “Roscoe Bandit” after the large pistol he has brandished during the hold-ups:unnamed (1)
    The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force is seeking information about a bank robber nicknamed the “Roscoe Bandit.”The unidentified bank robber is believed to have robbed at least two different banks in the three days, most recently yesterday in the downtown Seattle neighborhood Belltown.    Continue reading